We are camping in nature for a change and loving it! As I write this blog post, I am watching two cottontail bunnies playing just a few feet from my window. (Later I saw two adults and two baby bunnies!)
Elko and Randy are in their afternoon relaxation positions on the other side of the trailer so of no concern to the bunnies.
We are in Rye Patch State Recreation Area, which was just a place on the map before yesterday. We knew it was somewhat desolate but figured two days in Winnemucca would be enough and this was a stop between there and our next destination of Sparks, Nevada. We’ve spent so much time in RV parks the last many months that we were trying to get back to nature. Ideally, we would have a nice balance between RV parks and rural campgrounds but the planner (me) is still working on letting go of those RV hookups!
But let me go back in time as I don’t mean to disparage Winnemucca. We stayed in a very interesting RV park that is just a couple years old and is landscaped almost all in rock.
Yet, it was neat and tidy and worked. The utilities were built such that they are year round viable and the developers planted lots and lots of trees. We had great weather for our two days there so heat on the rocks wasn’t a problem. Hopefully those trees will grow tall and strong and provide lots of shade for future summer campers!
This facility is also prepared to provide a massive amount of bunkhouse accommodations for miners in the area. There were about 350 separate air-conditioned bunkhouse rooms, three per building. There are bath house buildings on each row as well. It seemed that very few rooms were occupied so we assume the mining industry in the area is in a lull, but this place is ready.
We took one drive and hike in Water Canyon on BLM land east of Winnemucca. We saw some nearby snow, some wild flowers and enjoyed being outside in the hills.
We had only a 50 mile trip down the road to Rye Patch and were on our way by 10:30 a.m. An earlier conversation with the ranger made us aware that there was exactly ONE campsite in this very large park with electricity (a camp-host site not currently being used) and it could not be reserved. We were hoping to get that site but Randy made sure our batteries were in good shape and that we had water available in the trailer just in case we didn’t.
We arrived to find three other camper groups in the entire multiple campground park so Randy was able to back right into our target site. As we had been told, the electric box was locked and no ranger was on duty until our second day. We had to rough it for one night but it was no problem. We cooked outside and had a campfire – two things we don’t do very often.
We collect and then burn the identifying papers that we used to just put through a shredder. The fire continued when some neighbors gave us their firewood as they were heading home to California and couldn’t take their firewood with them.
We’ve taken several hikes around the area and even though Rye Patch isn’t the prettiest place we’ve ever been, it has been a joy to be here.
We will definitely come back when we pass this way again, even if we don’t get the one and only electric site in the park.
In addition to the cottontails I mentioned earlier, we have seen a few jack-rabbits and lots of lizards. Randy saw a snake but, fortunately, I did not. And what of the wild turkeys for dinner?
There are four semi-wild turkeys wandering around the campground and instead of being dinner, they come for dinner! It is very apparent they have been fed by campers because they walk right into the campsite to see what is available. They weren’t even concerned about Elko laying in our midst – nor was Elko concerned about them. We didn’t share our meal with the turkeys because the ranger board specifically asks you not to, but we saw others doing so.
It reminds me of feeding the ducks pretty much year around in our backyard in Boise. It made me happy to see ducks walking around on the snow. They were our guests and I never considered having them for dinner either!