Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Trip to Great Basin National Park

My parents planned a trip to Great Basin National Park and St. George and invited me to come along. That seemed like an opportunity I couldn't pass up. They also invited Kenna, who was off-track.

Kenna and I drove to my parents' house in Orem on the night of Sunday, October 16. We spent the night there and then the four of us got up early Monday and crammed into my parents' sedan. It was a tight fit.

We drove to Baker, Nevada, which is about an hour and 45 minutes west of Delta, Utah. We stopped in Baker for a bit, then headed into the park, which is just five miles from Baker.

Because the Great Basin covers most of the Intermountain West, you'd think that Great Basin National Park would be huge. But, it's actually fairly small. Other than some back-country trails, it basically consists of just a single scenic drive. While it offers some spectacular views, it isn't significantly better than several drives in our own Wasatch Mountains. I think it was able to reach national park status by virtue of Lehman Caves, which are located near the beginning of the drive.

Our first order of business was to get tickets to one of the cave tours. They were already nearly sold out, despite the fact that we arrived early on a weekday in the off-season. Evidently it's a more popular destination than I had thought.

Our tour didn't start until the afternoon, so we drove the length of the scenic drive first. It ascends to over 10,000 feet, with several great overlooks. The leaves of the aspen trees were all beautiful Fall colors. When set against the green pine trees, they made for some great photo opportunities.

The road ends at a picnic area where we had lunch. I brought my camping grill along and we ate grilled chicken on one of the picnic tables. We returned in time for our cave tour.

Lehman Caves are very similar, in my opinion, to Timpanogos Cave, only longer. Neither has enormous rooms like, say, Carlsbad Cavern. But, they both offer unique and intricate formations. Perhaps the best formations in Lehman Caves are the "cave bacon" and the Music Room. The tour was quite long, and thoroughly enjoyable.

After the cave tour we left the park and drove to St. George. We spent Monday and Tuesday nights there hiking, jogging, swimming, watching documentaries, playing on the computer, and just relaxing. We returned home on Wednesday.

It was a short, but fun trip. I'm glad my parents invited us and that we were able to go.


Andrea said...

I like all of these updates that of Kenna! She's so talented! And the fact that she survived a national monument trip also shows that she is patient and a trouper. I wasn't such a fan when I was her age!

Rita said...

I love how much Kenna loves to go on these excursions! She likes SpongeBob AND National Parks--well-rounded kiddo for sure.

Beverly said...

The trip was a lot of fun and was made more fun by you and Kenna. Thanks for going with us.