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Author Topic: Darkest place on earth (north-west Nevada)  (Read 821 times)

classz

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Darkest place on earth (north-west Nevada)
« on: November 18, 2019, 10:25:10 PM »

Darkest place on earth - International Dark-Sky Association (yes, this exists) nominated this remote area in north-west Nevada, as a "Dark Sky Sanctuary" - where it has minimal light pollution, since there are no power lines around, and barely anyone living there - which makes it a superb place to see the night sky, especially during moonless nights.
The area is called "Massacre Rim".

The drive there, about 4 hours away from Reno, was through unmaintained gravel roads. Truly one of the more remote places I've seen in the US.

Pictures here:
https://imgur.com/a/bmY8Tue

Details:
* Drove from Reno on CA-395 (north east CA). It was right after a snow storm.
* Then turned east on CA-299.
* Reaching NV border - turned into NV-8A, which is basically a gravel road. At this point, it was completely dark and kind of scary. Especially when you see the sign "Northern Washoe Co., No emergency services", and that sign is all full of bullet holes...
* "Massacre Rim" was about a 15 min drive east of Vya, NV (on NV-8A). I passed near Vya, but not through it - road became a little rougher - came across another scary sign - "Road not regularly maintained. Travel at your own risk. Closed during winter." That sign was completely covered with dirt and barely legible. It was late September when I drove there.
* Reached Massacre Rim area. Not much room to pull over to the side (didn't want to get too off road, as there is no cellphone reception or anyone to help out there).
* Had to shut off all the lights so I could get a good view of the night sky. On a moonless night, that meant everything was pitch black. I was afraid another car would come in the mean time - stayed there for over an hour, no one came.
* On the way back, drove through NV-34 south (towards Gerlach). There was a HUGE farm around that area (White Pine Ranch) - saw a farm sign of "No Hunting or Trespassing". Someone shot up the "No" part of it...
* Critters - While driving on NV-34, came across a jackrabbit literally every 2-5 mins. These guys are suicidal, unfortunately I ran one of them over... Also saw something big, black and with shiny eyes. For a second I thought it was a bear, but it just a black cow :-P. Also came across a Kit Fox.
* When reaching the northern part of Black Rock Desert, I saw a very unusual view - a 747 plane, parked near the road (probably Fly Geyser ranch). Explanation - Burning Man ended a few weeks before (an event that takes place in Black Rock Desert), and one of the "Art Cars" was a 747 plane (search for "Big Imagination 747")!


All in all, it was a long and exhausting drive (about 10 hours including stops), but a unique experience!



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Max Rockatansky

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Re: Darkest place on earth (north-west Nevada)
« Reply #1 on: November 18, 2019, 10:29:16 PM »

Having driven former NV 8A I can attest this is pretty much true.  Really you can pull up Camp in the middle of the roadway for the night and you’ll likely never see another person.  From what I recall former 8A and NV 34 were in a decent state of repair for a high clearance vehicle to make it through easily.  I don’t recall it being much a challenge compared to trips in the Sonoran and Mojave Deserts.
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