Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Caliente, NV

About 2 hours north of Las Vegas is the small town of Caliente, Nevada.  It's nestled at about 4,800 feet in the mountains and surrounded by about five state parks.  We stay in the Kershaw-Ryan State Park which is only two miles outside of town in Rainbow Canyon - there are no hookups in the park and it's FREEZING out.  In fact, the morning after we arrive, it SNOWS!  There's a freaking blizzard blowing as we drive back into town to visit the BLM office to locate the best hikes and free camping.  But forget the free camping today - solar panels need sun to generate power and, while we have heat in the form of propane, it makes more sense to pay $23 for full hookups in an RV park in town and use electric heaters.  It snows for about one hour and later in the afternoon the skies clear and the sun comes out, but the outside temperature never makes it above 45F (6-7C)!

We drive through Rainbow Canyon which is only about 500 feet wide and 30 miles long, with colourful cliffs on either side of us.  Mining was the main industry in the late 1800s and the small river in the canyon was used to power the mines with steam generators, even many miles away across a small mountain range to the gold mining town of Delamar, now a ghost town.  There is nothing in Rainbow Canyon worthy of photos (in our opinion), so I have nothing to show you.

We also visit Cathedral Gorge State Park about 15 miles north of Caliente just outside of the town of Panaca.  We are entirely alone in this park (except for a couple of rangers), and spend several hours hiking around the bentonite clay spires.  The park amazes us with its beauty, reminding us of Bryce Canyon National Park on a very small scale.  We can hike through the spires where mini slot canyons have been created by the fast flowing water of flash floods.
Brad in Cathedral Gorge State Park.

Marilyn inside one of the mini slot canyons at Cathedral Gorge State Park. The walls are just a very hardened clay textured by water.

At Cathedral Gorge State Park - can you find me? I'm behind one of the spires in the middle of the photo.

Looking down the rabbit hole - waterfalls create these holes that are 50 to 70 feet deep. No rabbits would escape.

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