~ Great Basin National Park - Day Two ~

Day Two was spent attempting to see the Bristlecone pines trees in the park. Because Arvie is 29 feet long, I was not permitted to drive Wheeler Peak Drive beyond 8,000 feet while the trees start at 10,000 feet. So I went up the Baker Creek Road to see another part of the park. On that drive I saw my frst jackrabbit in the wild.

Located in Baker Valley below the park is the Fremont Indian archeological Site, which I visited after the drive up Baker Creek Road.

Morning Skies

Arising early, as is my custom, I shot the sunrise

Sun coming up

The Rhodes Cabin
Next to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center sits the historic Rhodes Cabin. The cabin was built in the 1920s by Clarence and Bea Rhodes, who were Forest Service custodians of Lehman Caves at the time. It is one of several built to provide accomodations for visitors to Lehman Caves.
The cabin measures 19 feet long and 11 feet wide with a front door, a side door, and four windows. It has been moved from its original location, restored, and placed on a concrete foundation. The logs, originally chinked with mud and concrete, are now chinked with cement made to simulate mud. The original roof was plank and sod supported by log beams, and the original floor was dirt.
The Rhodes Cabin was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975 because of its association with the early tourist industry at Lehman Caves.
NOTE: The circle in the photo of the interior is caused by my lens being against the window pane. The left side of the photo is a reflection of the outside.

Pinion Pine

Baker Creek Road

Grey Cliffs

My first Jackrabbit

Layer on layer on layer

A mosaic

Baker Creek

The mountains and the valley

Day moon

South Snake Mountains

Baker Village Archeological Site

Baker Village is an archeologicalsite belonging to the Freemont Culture. The culture is named for sites along the Freemont River in Utah. Freemont sites share similarities in pottery styles an materials, basketry techniques and distinctive ceremonial artwork. We do not know what language they spoke or what they believed and since no human remains were found at the site, their descendants are unknown also. We do know what the physical remains at the site tell us. That they were farmers, built stable, permanent villages and made certain styles of pottery and projectile points.

People still live in Snake Valley. There are numerous ranches in the area. The fog-like appearance in the photo on the left is spray from a farmers irrigation system. The photo on the right is looking back from Baker Village to the parking area.

The Freemont were contemporaries of the more famous Anasazi Culture, the builders of Mesa Verde and Chaco Canyon.
The photos show both sides of the trail into the site and the different vegetation growing there shows water not too far below the surface. The dip or swale may be from an ancient stream that dried up long ago. But a stream was here 700 years ago to support the people who lived here.

The valley and surrounding mountains provided most of what the inhabitants needed to survive. They did supplement the available wild plant foods by growing corn and beans. They also ate rabbits, bison and pronghorn antelope on occasion.
700 years ago this was a living community, then for some unknown reason it was abandoned and left to the elements. In the photo on the right near the two markers left and above center there is a mound about three feet higher than the surrounding valley floor. This mound formed as the village returned to the earth. Some support logs were removed when they left causing roofs to collapse and blowing sands to gather and make a mound.

On the left is a plaque which was used to measure distances and directions in mapping out the locations of every item found in the village. When the excavations were complete in 1994, the same dirt removed from the site was backfilled into the excavations based on this map of the area.
The low wall in the right photo is not a wall of the village. It was placed there in 2001, when erosion exposed some of the remaining original walls and began to destroy them. These walls are actually caps to mark locations of the various buildings and to protect them from further destruction from the elements.

The wall in the left photo marks the location of the Big House, which was the center of the village. The striking alignment of the other buildings to the Big House showed planning and complexity. All of the north-south walls were parallel to one another and the building were located at various angels to provide a calendar of sorts through where shadows fell at various times of the year such as the Summer and WInter Soltices and monthly intervals between.
The right photo shows this alignment of walls.

This panorama was taken from the plaza or open area in the center of the village. It shows the mountains on the eastern horizon where the sun would appear during different times of the year. The above alignment of the buildings was based on the rising of the sun over these mountains.

This location is where a Pit House once stood. Pit houses were living quarters. The split buildings like the one below left were granaries where food was stored. Pit houses were partially below ground in order to provide coolness in summer and warmth in winter. With the exception of the Big House all buildings were of similar size and shape showing this was a planned community. The Big House was a ceremonial building and had five floors used for different functions.

On the right is another ranch of another human making a living on the vast desert valley floor just as the Freemonts did 700 years ago.


This old touring car is out in the field of an abandoned ranch on the park access road. These mule deer were grazing along the side of the road as I was returning to the campground.

When I returned to the campground, I spotted wild turkies running through my site, so I went out to shoot them. (with my camera)

The turkeys ran down to Lehman Creek and jumped across it into the forest. This one, which was last, went into the drink and flapped its wings wildly to get to the other side. It happened too fast to get a shot. The right photo is a detail of the left photo

Heading into the woods

A couple of more photos of the marsh shown on the Day One page

More night sky photos

That same group of turkeys the next morning

Why did the turkey cross the road?

To get to these hens

Music is "Nights in White Satin"

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