Mugwumps, Nevada – May 29, 2016

Camping at Mugwumps

Camping at Mugwumps

After spending a quiet night at Tuff Campgound in the Inyo National Forest, we started out towards Reno. The Fuso drove significantly better since we swapped out a front tire with the spare tire.

We stopped in Reno to pick up supplies. Now that we were prepared, we headed to the Black Rock Desert. We made a brief stop at the historical marker near the border of the Pyramid Lake Paiute Reservation.


Jon reading the historical marker.

There was a nice view, too.


Since we weren’t going to be able to reach the Black Rock Desert until after dark, we decided to do a little dispersed camping in the BLM land east of the highway. We found a spot that was sheltered from the highway noise by a rock outcropping.

Camping behind a big mound of rocks.

Camping behind a big mound of rocks.

We were surprised by the unusual nature of the rocks.


After getting the camper set up for the night, we went out to explore.


These rocks are tufa mounds.


They were formed when this entire area was underwater. Our campsite is below the surface level of the now dry Winnemucca Lake. The landscape looks like it could have been part of an ancient lake bed.


The mounds were created by springs emptied into the lake below the surface level. The springs contained dissolved calcium with combined with the carbonate in the water created calcium carbonate rock. As the springs continued to flow, the rock built up into the tufa mounds.

USGS Tufas of Pyramid Lake, NV website



You can see a number of other areas with tufa mounds in the background.

Most of the mounds had broken which allowed us to take a look at the interesting forms created by the slow deposition of rock.




They almost look like the remains of an ancient alien civilization.


We spent a lot of time walking around.



Jon found a rattlesnake. We left it alone. Rocks like these are a great habitat for small rodents. And where you have small rodents, you have things that eat them.


The scenery made for a nice background.




It was getting close to sunset.


I fixed dinner and we had a quiet night.





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