This post was paid for. Here’s a question for you: Where in the USA is the loneliest road according to Time Life Magazine (and that for the 30th year)? And what held the USA together in the 19th century when west and east were still pretty much divided by huge areas of mountains and deserts? (No smartphones or even overland telephone lines yet.) I am talking about the legendary Pony Express Nevada and it is as exciting as always.
Get a Taste of History along the Pony Express Nevada
Way back, between April 1860 and October 1861, when a stagecoach was still used to deliver mail, the fierce daredevils of the pony express braved the dangerous stretch of 1,840 miles. It was just themselves and their horse trying to cut down the delivery times from 2 weeks to 10 days. Imagine ten days riding like the wind through open range land, endless views and snow covered mountain tops. I wouldn’t have wanted to be in their shoes! (Especially with my horse allergy)
Today that sounds terribly picturesque but back then the many valleys covered in sagebrushes and high mountain deserts harboured many a thread for the riders of the Pony Express Nevada, be it wild predators, bandits or natives that sought to protect their own land.
Today, the situation is quite changed. What you will find is a 17-million acre museum full of history and scenic routes, luring visitors in with the promise of perfect tranquillity and a feeling for the romantic side of the big Wild West. And why shouldn’t they?
Following the Tracks of the Pony Express Nevada
For those that seek complete immersion with nature and adventurers that want to test their ‘survival skills’, Nevada’s Highway 50 is the perfect spot to pay a visit to. Not for nothing has it been titled the ‘Loneliest Road in America’.
Even if bandits have disappeared and Native Americans are now living peacefully in their reservations nearby, the Pony Express is not for the faint-hearted (possibly snakes!) and resort seekers. And that’s what is so great about it! You won’t find fancy chalet-like houses along the mountainside or even man-made platforms to peek into canyons, like they are lining the Grand Canyon.
Now I don’t want to scare you away from the Pony Express Nevada – just like I would never want to scare you away from Australia (though I do have lots of stories to tell about what could kill you in the outback). Travel isn’t all fluffy hotel beds and cocktails by the pool not should it be.
Of Old Towns and Nature’s Wonders
Besides the obvious appeal of nature, the old mining towns will definitely draw you in and if you are looking for a place to stay while exploring the area (which will definitely take you a few days), then you can find lodgings in the towns of Fernley, Dayton, Fallon, Austin, Eureka and Ely. These towns developed, for instance during the railroad construction or gold rush and you can still see many farms and ranches, giving you the typical ‘cowboy feel’.
If the area of the Pony Express Nevada has not been enough and you prefer pine trees over 40 mile-long desert, then you might want to head down Highway 50 to where it meets Highway 93. The Great Basin National Park and its surrounding area is shared by both Nevada and Utah and you can spend plenty more time here to see the Lehman Caves, Cave Lake and the famous Lexington Arch and marvel at nature’s wonders.
At night, a thing you absolutely must do is to gaze up into the night sky and marvel at the gazillion of stars, just like you would at Bryce Canyon or in the Australian outback. You can book full moon guided hikes and there even is an Astronomy Festival, which takes place from 29 September to 1 October in 2016! And this year is a special year as it is the 30th anniversary of Great Basin National Park as well!
Is the Pony Express Nevada a bucketlist challenge you would like to accept?
To be clear, I haven’t had the luck yet of visiting Nevada so far but I am eagerly collecting ideas of my next visit to the USA and its wild nature and open spaces and this is part of that series. I wanted to thank Pony Express Nevada for sponsoring this post and pointing me towards this bucketlist-worthy place. As always, my opinion remains my own.