The IXL Ranch on the Sheldon

I had the opportunity to take a guided tour of the Sheldon Antelope Refuge in the extreme northwest corner of Nevada this last week. The Refuge is a half a million acres of pristine sagebrush steppe that is one of the most remote areas in the lower 48.  No light pollution here and not much else in the way modern conveniences. Livestock were removed and ranching ended on the Refuge in the mid 1990s.  All but 14 wild horses who escaped the round ups were removed last year. They will be rounding up these horses soon to allow the refuge to fully recover and return to native grasses and shrubs.

The refuge represents what is best about Nevada; big, windswept, empty places that are starkly beautiful and dangerous for the ill prepared. Visiting some of the abandoned ranches was a highlight for me. We had a lot of rain and roads into some of these areas were almost impassable. Not sure I would want to drive them in dry weather either. Good 4WD and tough tires are a must.

These photos are of the IXL ranch which is way off the beaten path. I am not sure when it was abandoned but the remoteness of the area and difficulty in getting to it has kept it in relatively good condition. It must have been a busy, lively place at one time. Now it sits silent, fading into the sage.

27 thoughts on “The IXL Ranch on the Sheldon

  1. Beautiful images! I’ve only ever driven by the Sheldon, but even from the highway, it’s everything you say. I’d love to do some real exploring up there some day.

  2. That really looks like one of the original outposts of the Wild West and I bet that if it could talk, it would have a very interesting story to tell and I’d love to hear about it. I love the black and white photos: they are always so much more artistic and atmospheric! Well done! Thanks for sharing.

  3. Wow, I’ve never been to that region of Nevada but you’ve created an advertisement for travel there. I think the black and white emphasizes the expanse of the landscape and adds a historic quality to the structures, as well as being simply stunning. 🙂

      1. Absolutely! I like old buildings in general, must be something about the mystery around them:)

  4. I love these old landscapes ~ takes me back to my hometown in the countryside, where everything has a story if you sit and look at it for awhile. These old barns and your photos speak volumes.

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