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.
I know it has been a long time since my last post. I had a lot going on with family visiting and traveling to visit family. In addition to that, we suffered for weeks here with the smoke from the Yosemite fires. For a month it was impossible and considered very unhealthy to go outside. The ugly smoke hung on our side of the Sierra’s like a dirty blanket for a month. I escaped for a week to visit my sister in Alaska and hoped to get photos up there but it rained everyday I was there. I hope this does not sound too whiney. 🙂 Anyway, I traveled back to Ash Creek this week and the animals were not cooperating. The deer and antelope were playing but way too far away for good photographs. I took landscape shots of the old barns and an abandoned homestead I saw on the drive up. I caught a glimpse of this house through the trees and hiked quite a ways from the road to photograph it. I think these places are a little spooky. While walking around the house a breeze kicked up and a door creaked on it’s hinges loudly in the house and banged against something inside. I would have liked to look around inside but frankly I got the willies. There was a small band of wild horses hanging in the meadow close to the house. I found their presence calming. They would not have been there if a monster was in the house right? 😉