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Ruby Mountains

Updated: Jan 28

We took a small detour on our way to Salt Lake City, through the Lamoille Canyon to the Ruby Mountains, just outside of Elko, Nevada. I had heard from a late friend about this magical place many years ago. He had once told me it was his favorite place to go to escape the crowds and have breathtaking views. I’ve been through Elko and all over Nevada and always thought, beside Reno and Las Vegas, this state had really nothing to offer beyond the Great Basin National Park. When my friend told me of this place, I’m not gonna lie, I totally dismissed it. Then just a short year after he told me of this place, he passed away from Leukemia. I’ve often thought of him when I would drive through on an adventure elsewhere and once told myself that I was going to go there one day.

That day was today. We drove up the canyon and were immediately struck by the beauty that unfolded before our very eyes. The amazing contrast of colors as the summer season came to an end and welcomed fall. Vibrant yellow and red hues set so picture perfectly on a blanket of green. Enormous mountainous spires towering tall above us, reminding me of how small of a creature I really am.

As we continued up the canyon, we found campgrounds galore. We also found dispersed camping down some rough roads. We decided to put Ambulicious to the test and see what she could do on these rocky dirt roads. We ventured down this road to pass a parked trailer with a man and his family out on the back deck of their enormous trailer. They watched in awe as I got out and helped spot Bronson through the steep and rocky terrain. I was sure we were going to blow a tire at one point. After handling the road like a champ, we came across a site that was far down that road, tucked away down an even steeper rocky road (that just made me think of ice cream). We maneuvered Ambulicious into a spot and proceeded to set up camp.

The following morning, we set out to Spring Creek. A small town on the way to Ruby Mountains. We had an interview for the Overland Expo East as Volunteers and needed internet service as the canyon is- well, like any other canyon. There’s no service anywhere out there. We set up shop at a coffee house and completed our interview. Then it was on to completing a little bit of homework for Kaden.

Once homework was done, we stopped at a small market, picked up groceries and headed back out to the canyon. We continued driving past our campsite to the end of the canyon road. It literally ends at a trailhead that will allow you to take anywhere from a short 2-mile hike straight up the mountain to a 43-mile, 5-10-day backpacking trip. There are numerous hikes for you to choose from and all of them are rated moderate to hard. I wasn’t thrilled to be doing this hike in the middle of the hottest part of the day, but I was so happy to be doing anything but sitting in the Ambulance, driving.

As we trudged up the mountain and looked behind us, I could see that we immediately began gaining elevation and were looking down on this magnificent canyon, littered with color. I tried so hard to capture what I was seeing, but no matter how I adjusted my settings, the camera could never see what I see and I don’t like to HDR my images too often. My phone does it automatically, but my actual camera doesn’t. I feel like the HDR portrays an image that doesn’t exist in that kind of vibrancy. When the sky is a deep blue, I want to show the real blue color. When I’m taking pictures of scenery, I want it to look in my photo’s like what I remembered seeing.

We hiked a mere 2-miles in and made it to the first set of lakes. The lakes were beautiful as was the natural scenery surrounding them. The dog made quick work of the lake and all the dirt around. We decided to stop here and just take in the scenery as I said a quick and quiet “thank you” to an old friend for the suggestion to come to this place.

As we ventured down the trail, back out to the trailhead, Kaden engaged me in some very interesting conversations, asking questions like “would it be bad if we were on a plane and had to fly upside down?” and “if we were flying upside down, wouldn’t we be flying down toward the ground since the wings are supposed to give the plane lift?” Good questions kiddo. I told him I would hope we’d never be flying upside down (unless we were in a jet doing tricks) and that it would make sense if the wings were shaped to give lift that if we were inverted, we would be flying down instead of up, but I really don’t know.

We reached the end of our hike and were walking out when Bronson met a man who was parked behind us in the parking lot, admiring the Ambulance. So, as we get to talking, it turns out, they were traveling East to visit family and were coming from Truckee too. To make matters more interesting, they live in the same neighborhood as we do and are doing something similar to us. Small world. As the sun started setting, we said our good-bye’s and headed back to camp. We made the treacherous journey down the rocky, dirt road and settled in for the evening. Tomorrow we head to Salt Lake City. Who knows what we’ll find there, but no matter what it is, I’m sure we’ll meet some great people and do amazing things!

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