I’m itching to do more landscape photography, especially in some of the lesser-known, less frequently photographed Wilderness Areas, Wilderness Study Areas, and other public lands within a couple-days drive from home. I’ve been exploring some of these areas in Google Earth, my favorite vicarious-travel tool. Here are a few places currently near the top of my list (images are screen shots from Google Earth):
East Humboldts Wilderness: Driving across Nevada, though the endless hot, dry valleys of the Basin and Range, one doesn’t generally see or think of high, glaciated canyons. But here they are, in the East Humboldt Range, as well as the nearby Ruby Mountains and several other high, remote ranges. The East Humboldts Wilderness is very accessible, from the campground at Angel Lake, south of Wells.
Easy Chair Crater: This is a young cinder cone with a distinctive profile in the Pancake Range of Nye County, Nevada. Easy Chair Crater is not in official wilderness, but nearby Lunar Crater National Natural Landmark is in the northern part of the Palisade Mesa Wilderness Study Area. This crater-filled landscape may look a bit lunar — maybe especially under full-moonlight — but it’s all the result of terrestrial volcanism.
Big Rocks Wilderness: Much of the North Pahroc Range range, in Lincoln County, Nevada, is capped with a welded tuff formation that has cracked and eroded into huge, pillow-like boulders. Part of this area, called “Mecca” by rock-climbers, is a popular place to go “bouldering”. There are few trails and little water in this remote part of the Basin and Range, but endless ravines among massive, rounded rocks.
Sylvania Mountains Wilderness: This is a small desert wilderness, off the beaten track just north of Death Valley, on the eastern edge of Inyo County, California. The upper portion of Willow Wash, seen here, has some interesting and colorful erosion.
Here are some great resources for viewing and mapping wilderness boundaries:
Wilderness Boundary Data at Wilderness.net
Interactive U.S. National Wilderness Preservation System Map at Wilderness.net
BLM Nevada Maps page
BLM Nevada Geospatial Data page
Tim Messick Photography • Graphics
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