Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Ruby Mountains: No Longer Unknown

Last week, Nat and I, still on the road today, visited Nevada's Ruby Mountains on the way to our ultimate destination in California. I first found out about the Rubies when Backpacker Magazine published an article, "The Ten Last Unknown Places." It featured a tantalizing couple of pages about this isolated range and an eye-popping photo of Liberty Lake (love that name!) at dawn. No, the irony of this is not lost on me. When a magazine with a circulation of 340,000 describes you as "unknown," you are ipso facto not unknown.

Sure enough, the area around Angel Lake Campground is now a nice place to meet people and make friends, but utterly ruined as a place to find Nietzschean high mountain solitude. If you want to shriek from your crags without being molested by mental health personnel, you'll just have to go elsewhere.

Walking a couple of miles on the path into the Rubies from the end of Lemoille canyon on a weekday, we met over a dozen parties who were likewise walking the path. The Rubies are, however, stunningly beautiful. To the left is a picture that, I kid you not, I took as I sat at the picnic table at our site in the campground. I suppose that this means these mountains can't be unknown, even aside from Backpacker's lovely little writeup. You can't look for solitude in a place that is picture-postcard-beautiful (hat-tip here to Deborah Hunt). At least not in the lower 48 and Hawaii.

To the right you see the Sierra basin that was our ultimate destination in California. Near the left edge, on a pile of white granite, you can see a sliver of blue showing through a stand of pine trees (click to enlarge). This is "our" lake. I've been going there since 1969 and I have always had it to myself. It may not have the Rubies' fetching looks, but it really is unknown. And it has other virtues as well, enough of them to enable the well-meaning folks at Backpacker to ruin it if they find out about it. I may post about it later but, no, I won't be telling you what the place is called or where it is. Sorry. I've done some dumb things in my time, but I am not a complete idiot.

Well, back to the road!

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