The day began with breakfast for nine. Scarlett (Wayne’s stepmother) had her hands full! I think she had some help from the early risers, which did not include us. We showed up right in time for the food.
Rick (Wayne’s dad) likes to do one thing more than anything else in the world – drive around in the desert in his Jeep Wrangler. So of course he had a desert day planned for us all, though it had to be scaled back a bit because we had to take two cars and the other was a Saturn, which doesn’t have 4-wheel drive.
Our first stop was the Amargosa Pupfish Station, home of the Devil’s Hole Pupfish, in the Ash Meadows National Wildlife Refuge. This is a very small endangered fish. There wasn’t much to see; due to vandalism the area around their hole is all fenced off.
Then it was off to Crystal, a town accessible only via a long dirt road, and whose main attraction seemed to be the two town brothels. The road to Crystal is usually dry, but due to the unusually large amounts of rain they’d had a few days before the dry lake beds were actually lakes, and there was water running over the road in many places. Wayne and I were in the Jeep and I was a bit worried that the Saturn wasn’t going to make it through the mud, but they did.
We ended up at the Crystal Springs Boardwalk, also in Ash Meadows. This is a trail built up over the habitat so people can walk through and observe without disturbing anything. It ends up at a natural spring, where you can see the water coming up out of the ground. We really enjoyed this part and spent quite a while looking at the animal tracks in the mud beside the trail, and watching the water flow.
After another *long* trek through the desert, and some on the highway, we came to Rhyolite, a ghost town near Beatty. There is a house here built out of glass bottles, among other thing, but vandalism has required most of the interesting things to be fenced off, so this is not as interesting as it could be.
Finally it was time to eat; the Stagecoach Casino in Beatty served up some surprisingly tasty Chile Rellenos. After a pit stop at the Death Valley Nut and Candy Company (which doesn’t seem to have a website) we made the long drive back to Indian Springs.