Black Rock Desert, Soldier Meadows – May 30 & 31, 2016

Campsite #4

Hot Creek Campground – Campsite #4

We camped out at the BLM dispersed camping area by Mugwumps last night. We headed north on 447 and stopped at  Gerlach, NV to visit the Friends of the Black Rock office before heading into the Black Rock Desert.

Friends of the Black Rock Desert

It is a great place to visit before heading into the area. They have lots of brochures and books and information about the area. There had been a mini Burning Man gathering during the Memorial Day weekend. We waited until Monday to hopefully avoid any holiday crowds.

We drove up the Soldier Meadows Road. We were here two years ago and wanted to spend a little time at the Soldier Meadows Hot Springs.  The desert scenery is striking.

Soldier Meadows Road

Soldier Meadows Road

We had a good view of the Black Rock and the Black Rock Playa.

View of the Black Rock and Playa.

View of the Black Rock and Playa.

We were passed by several vehicles going the other direction. We could also see the dust clouds left by vehicles driving down the road along the Black Rock Playa.

View of vehicle dust trail traveling down the Black Rock Desert Playa road.

View of vehicle dust trail traveling down the Black Rock Desert Playa road.

We were traveling in a National Conservation Area and there were lots of signs of animal trails.

Animal trails

Animal trails

After about 20 miles, we came upon a stopped vehicle. A young woman’s Scion IQ had broken down. She had been stopped along the road for a couple of hours. Meghan was able to text, but not make phone calls. Her little two-seater car had cracked the transmission case and she had run the vehicle until it stopped. The vehicle had gone beyond the point where we could help it.

Meghan and her Scion IQ. Her dog is inside. She has a reflective screen in the front window. It is not broken.

Meghan and her Scion IQ. Her dog is inside. She has a reflective screen in the front window. It is not broken.

We had the Delorme inReach two-way satellite texting device, we contacted her mother and a tow truck. Since Meghan was alone, we thought it was only prudent to contact the local sheriff department to let them know she was there.

She and her dog had walked up the road in an attempt to make a phone call. Since it was going to be a while before help reached her, we gave her some more water and I wetted down one of her towels to create some evaporative cooling for her and her dog. We also made sure she had our texting info so that she could let us know when she was safe.

We continued on the road. We were really glad we stopped for Meghan. We didn’t see any other vehicles after we passed her.

We stopped at the information sign as we headed into the Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern Area.

Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern Map

Soldier Meadows Area of Critical Environmental Concern Map

We headed to the Hot Creek Campground. It has five campsites and a pit toilet.

There are also trails leading to several hot creek pools.

Soldier Meadow Hot Creek Campground

Soldier Meadow Hot Creek Campground

Campsite #2 was already occupied. We stayed at that spot last year. It is the one closest to the Hot Creek.

After making a lap of the campground, we decided that #4 was the best choice.

Our campsite (#4)

Our campsite (#4)

Even with one other campsite occupied, the campground is still very deserted.

Our campsite at a distance.

Our campsite at a distance.

We spent a little time getting set up. It was already very warm. We hung out in the shade provided by the awnings.

Campsite #4. It came with firewood.

Campsite #4. It came with firewood.

A little later, we took a walk around the campground. One interesting feature of the campground is that the pit toilet is open topped. No roof at all. It blends in really well with the surroundings, too.

Roof-free pit toilet facility

Roof-free pit toilet facility

I took photos of the wild flowers in bloom.

Sulphur buckwheat

Sulphur buckwheat

We talked with our neighbor. Gary and his dog had been camping there for the past week. He said that there had been crowds over the Memorial Day weekend, but they had all cleared out by this morning.

Once the heat of the day had passed on, we followed the trails out to the Hot Creek pools to soak for a bit. There are several pools that have been created along the Hot Creek.

The creek is home to the Elongated Mud Meadows Springsnails, an endangered species. They need fresh flowing water to be able to survive, so the only pools allowed are the ones already in existence.

Elongated Springsnail

We spend some time in the most developed pool.

Middle Hot Creek pool

Middle Hot Creek pool

After a short while, we headed upstream to the next pool. They are both really nice places to soak.

Upper Hot Creek Pool

Upper Hot Creek Pool

We hung out at our campsite for the rest of the night. There had been firewood left at our campsite, so made use of it and toasted some marshmallows. The skies were beautiful.

Sunset from the Hot Creek Campground.

Sunset from the Hot Creek Campground.

It was even hotter on Tuesday, so we mostly hung around our camper.  We went to the Hot Creek in the afternoon, but the water was really hot and the rocks around it were scorching hot. We didn’t stay for long.

Hanging out at the Middle Hot Creek pool. The air temperature was really, really hot.

Hanging out at the Middle Hot Creek pool. The air temperature was really, really hot.

We had an uneventful rest of the day. We planned to leaving the next day to go up to High Rock Canyon Area.

 

 

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