Desert National Wildlife Refuge:
We hadn’t planned on backtracking, but after talking with and exchanging information with some fellow nomads, we realize there are a few more places we want to visit before leaving this part of Nevada.
We head off to Desert National Wildlife Refuge…Five long washboarded dirt and gravel road miles, and arrive late enough that it is really too late to see much. DNWF makes it clear that dry camping is allowable on the back roads of the refuge, so we find us a lovely spot, watch the sunset, and retire, so we can get going early enough the next morning to be able to hike a couple of trails before it warms up too much, and while the birds are most active.
It’s a beautiful place, a true oasis in the middle of the desert. Most of the back country requires a 4 wheel drive to crisscross the mountains and dirt roads, and although our Van has pretty high clearance, we decide not to take her on any more bumpy rides, after all the work we put into her this past winter.
We spend the morning around Corn Creek instead. Tall Cottonwoods, native shrubbery, ponds, walkways, trails, and lush green meadows surround a beautiful new visitor center. We hike on some of the trails, and enjoy a slow and easy time of it. It’s very relaxing to just hang out and enjoy the wildlife here. We meet a photographer from Massachusetts, exchange bird information, and spend much time chatting away the morning.
So many birds are busy building nests now! They are flying to and fro carrying all sorts of materials. This little Verdin has quite a mouthful!
We continue to laze around here until it starts to heat up and all is quiet in the woods.
Cold Creek Village
After making it back out and off of that horrible washboard road, (which evidently is about to get paved) we drive a few miles up the highway and take a left turn up Cold Creek Road.
This is an interesting area – the entire village of Cold Creek is off grid. The off grid homes are not just little cabins, but real substantial sized houses, all with solar panels mounted on roofs. The surrounding area is a large ATV riding area. And it is also a quaint community where wild horses roam freely.
We find it to be a beautiful valley, with snow covered peaks rising up from the desert floor.
These Wild Horses here seem much more tame than other wild horses we’ve seen. Surely they interact with the people who live in the Cold Creek community.
Of course there are signs posted asking visitors not to feed them, but there is evidence that they do get handouts, and they act like they are used to at least occasionally getting treats from someone.
Pretty hard to resist those eyes and soft noses.
No treats from us, but I did get to rub a few of those noses.
It’s the middle of the day while we visit, and mostly the horses are pretty quiet, but we do find a few youngsters a bit more frisky.
Nothing like wild horses in the desert mountains!
Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge:
Finally we wander into Ash Meadows Wildlife Refuge, on the southern border of the huge Desert National Wildlife Refuge Complex. On the northeast corner of the DNWF is where Pahranagat National Refuge is located. Remember, we were there last week.
We are surprised by yet another oasis, rare fish living in the spring water here, and more large reservoirs of water. Where does all this water come from?? I thought deserts didn’t have water!
We mostly drive around these reservoirs, then pull up to the visitor center, after it is closed for the day, and enjoy a picnic dinner all alone enjoying a lovely dusk as evening befalls us.
Shall I say how surprised we are, that we are loving this part of Nevada so much.
After all, we are just a stone’s throw away from Yucca Mountain, and the largest military Nuclear testing site in the West.