Camping Trip Turns Stormy in Great Basin National Park

Soon to be turning 50, a man ventures out on a road trip and a camping adventure at Great Basin National Park.

| July/August 2013


A picnic table didn’t serve well as a bed on a man's camping trip when a storm blew in at Great Basin National Park.

Photo By Fotolia/hansenn

For a man, turning 50 is a wake-up call.

It’s the one birthday where he finally realizes that maybe — just maybe — he isn’t going to accomplish all of the things in life that he had hoped. Personally, I’m still holding out for that NFL draft pick.

So there I was, with August 8, 2009, staring me right in the face — my 50th birthday. I asked myself, “What can I possibly do to celebrate the big 5-0?” Then, bam! It dawned on me. How cool — and appropriate — would it be to drive across country on U.S. Route 50? It just made sense! That settled it — I was going on a road trip.

On Monday, June 8, I pedaled my bicycle to the Hilton Head airport, where I rented a Dodge Caliber. The next day, I began my adventure.

Camping Trip in Great Basin National Park

Intending to camp for the most part, there was one minor kink in my plan: I don’t own a camping tent. But amazingly, my exposed camping worked just fine for almost 30 days, until that fateful night in Nevada’s Great Basin National Park.

As darkness settled upon Great Basin on the evening of Friday, July 3, I laid atop the picnic table at my campsite in eager anticipation. My pre-trip homework had told me how beautiful the night skies were at Great Basin, due to the lack of human-produced, ambient light. So I interlaced my hands behind my head, looked up to the heavens and said, “OK Great Basin, show me your best.”

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