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  007 06/10/06 Fallon Middlegate Station Civilization to sagebrush Gene  
Find the white cow
Middlegate Station
petroglyph & dry lake bed

Saturday June 10, 2006 49 miles - Total so far: 368 miles »see more photos

We made another start as the sun began to rise over the desert horizon east of Fallon. After traveling 11 miles on highway 50 we stopped at Grimes Point and spent some time viewing Native American petroglyphs on a short interpretative trail near the highway. For anyone traveling Highway 50 this is a must-see stop! Some of these petroglyphs date back over 8,000 years when much of northern Nevada was under water and this site would have been on the shoreline. For me this was an especially memorable stop as I am a member of the Nevada Rock Art Foundation which seeks to record and preserve the rock art sites across the state.

This is a good time to mention a phenomenon in the desert which one notices if you are outside all day. The Nevada landscape is punctuated by numerous mountain ranges arranged from northeast to southwest. Nevada is in fact the country's most mountainous state...really! The soft early morning and late evening light casts long shadows and changes the appearance of the desert considerably and has definitely caught an artist's eye and the eye of one who spent many years in the deserts of Saudi Arabia. The desert is not as foreboding as you might think, because as you cycle along the flowers, plants, birds, mammals, and reptiles are all there to see an enjoy.

Today will go down in history as the day David saw his great white cow...no big deal except for the fact that this cow was 20 miles away from anything on four legs or two legs...and I did not see it. Makes one wonder doesn't it? Also this was the day that we discovered the desert can harbor mosquitoes and that David is "mosquito bait". The little critters just love him...a good thing for me!

Our destination today was Middlegate Station, an outpost in the desert some 50 miles from any town. Today's outpost is on the approximate site of an 1800's stagecoach station. We pitched our tents in the grass under the big trees behind the cafe/saloon. Joining us for the night was my wife, Sue, friends Jeff and Shari, Keith and Dyan, and for the day, Chuck and Alice. Thanks Shari and Jeff for a wonderful barbecue supper.

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