Tuesday, November 4, 2014

A Visit to Sand Mountain, Nevada

 Over Desert Boy's fall break we headed west across the very wide state of Nevada to go to Carson City, the state capital, to celebrate the 150th birthday of the state. On the way there we stopped at Sand Mountain, east of Fallon. About four years ago we stopped there and let the kids play in the sand and thought it would be a fun place to return to. I even planned to camp there. But when we got to the turnoff, we could see that things had changed. A sea of RVs was parked at the base of the sand dunes.
 Even though it was Wednesday, hundreds of people in RVs with trailers and off-highway vehicles were spread out. It turns out that Tuesday and Wednesday are free days. Otherwise it's $40 for a week or $90 for the season. The pricing structure was obviously not for the casual nature observer wanting to take a jaunt up to the top of the dunes. It appeared that there weren't any specific time frames for vehicles at the dunes (unlike Coral Pink Sand Dunes, where hikers didn't have to worry about getting run over until 10 in the morning).

I was a bit floored when I saw the Papa Murphy's pizza vendor. I guess we didn't need to bring that top ramen!

The kids really wanted to play in the sand, so we carefully made our way out towards the dunes, where I stood guard while the kids played. When we saw vehicles coming our way, we scurried out of the way. It wasn't exactly relaxing.

Despite all the vehicles on Wednesday, when we drove by again on Sunday morning, there were probably double the amount, plus a constant stream leaving the dunes. Over half had California license plates.

I had quickly decided not to camp at the dunes, as the noise level was quite high, and there clearly wasn't a tent section. We went back down the road and checked out the nearby Pony Express Station, where we saw the dunes with some awesome light.

Desert Girl really loved playing in the sand.

The Pony Express Station was neat, but not a place I'd like to stay at. Driving across the state at 70 mph is long these days, I can't imagine how hard it would have been back in 1860. And the signs by the Pony Express Station said it didn't have a roof and the water tasted terrible. Not exactly a rousing endorsement.

We ended our evening at Sand Mountain with a really pretty sunset. I thought the OHVs would get off the dune, but they just continued roaring up and down the dunes. albeit with their lights on.
If you like OHVs, this is definitely the place for you. If not, it's very pretty from a distance.

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