Tag: Baker

Winter Wildlife

                                                                                                A watchful weasel

At first glance, it might seem like all the animals have disappeared in February. But it doesn’t take long before you can start finding wildlife, although it might take a little extra effort.

One of the best ways to see wildlife is to borrow some snowshoes from the Lehman Caves Visitor Center and head to the Baker Creek Road or Upper Lehman Creek Campground. Both roads are gated, but you can hike past the gates to look for wildlife tracks. Look for the distinctive hopping pattern of rabbits and try to guess if jackrabbits or cottontails left the tracks. Deer tracks are easy to spot, but if the tracks look a little bigger, then they could be elk tracks. Elk are still expanding in the area. If you see dog-like tracks, coyotes are the most likely contender. Cat-like tracks about the size of a small Gala apple would be bobcat. And cat-like tracks the size of a grapefruit would be mountain lion. Once in a great while you’ll get to see the animal itself. Weasels are amazing in that they change color in the winter.

                                                                         Startled pinyon jays take flight from a juniper tree

Birds are also about. Wild turkeys meander all over the area. At the Christmas Bird Count in December, 184 wild turkeys were counted within the count circle, most in the park. Mountain chickadees may sing their “cheese-burger” song, while nuthatches will sound like a truck backing up (beep-beep-beep). A long-shrill whistle would be a Townsend’s solitaire. And be on the lookout for the Corvids — Clark’s nutcrackers are much lower in elevation in the winter, plus you may see pinyon jays, black-billed magpies, Steller’s jays, and Woodhouse’s scrub jays.

                                                           A Red-breasted nuthach

If all that wildlife watching is making you cold, head into 52 degree Lehman Caves (advance reservations highly recommended), or go to the Border Inn, open 24/7.  A special opportunity to see Lehman Caves is during the annual Lint Camp, February 6-8. This camp allows volunteers to experience the cave in a completely different way, with a paintbrush gently removing lint that has drifted from visitors’ clothes to speleothems. Housing is provided in the park dorms, and it’s like camp.

To experience some local culture, head to the Winter Carnival, held at Baker Hall (the pink building in Baker) on February 9 in the evening. Eat some delicious tamales, try your luck at Bingo with prizes from local establishments, dress up in costume for the photo booth, try your luck in the raffle, or play one of the kids’ games. It’s small-town entertainment at its best, and a great way to help the local schools.

— Gretchen Baker

Visit Gretchen’s great outdoor adventure blog, Desert Survivor.

Baker Correspondence – February 2018

Winter Wildlife                                                                                                 A watchful weasel At first glance, it might seem like all the animals have disappeared in February. But it doesn’t take long before you can start finding wildlife, although it might take a little extra effort. One of the best ways to see wildlife is to borrow some snowshoes from the Lehman […]

Baker Correspondence – December 2017

Need an excuse to get outside in December? Join your local Christmas Bird Count, and not only do you get                             A loggerhead shrike spotted on the Christmas Bird Count fresh air, you also help provide data for the longest-run citizen science project in the world! The Snake Valley Christmas Bird Count (CBC) will be […]

Baker Correspondence – November 2017

                                                             The 25-yard rifle competition at the annual Baker Turkey Shoot November ushers in colder weather, but that doesn’t stop people from going out for the annual turkey shoot. We don’t shoot turkeys, but those who have the highest scores shooting targets win frozen turkeys. The 16th annual event will be held Saturday, November 18th, […]

Baker Correspondence – October 2017

With cooler temperatures and snow at the highest elevations, it’s clear that winter is on its way. Autumn, though, will persist throughout the month, and it’s one of the best times to visit Baker, as Great Basin National Park isn’t as busy. Most of the local businesses are still operating, although hours will likely be […]

Baker Correspondence – September 2017

A September is one of the most beautiful months to visit Baker and the surrounding area. With the cooler temperatures and shorter days, the leaves start changing color, beginning at tree line and working their way down. Snake Creek, in the southern part of the park, has beautiful high elevation aspen groves. A hike to […]

Baker Correspondence – August 2017

Life Returns to the Strawberry Fire Area                                                      Strawberry  Creek Canyon, the area burned by a wildfire in August 2016 It’s been a year since the Strawberry Fire, which burned over 4,000 acres of National Park Service and BLM land at the north end of the South Snake Range. The area looks a lot different […]

Baker Correspondence – July 2017

Nevada’s Last Glacier                                                                       High-altitude wildflowers growing on Wheeler Peak July is one of the busiest months in Baker, with hotel rooms, cave tours, and developed campgrounds at capacity. You can still enjoy your visit by booking ahead (for lodging options and cave tours) and checking out more primitive campsites (e.g., Snake Creek area and […]

Baker Correspondence – June 2017

                                                         The new Great Basin Cafe near the Lehman Caves Visitors Center Baker is busy in June! Fortunately, all the local businesses are up and running. One of the new offerings is the Great Basin Café, up next to the Lehman Caves Visitor Center. Hours are starting at 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., with breakfast […]

Baker Correspondence – May 2017

The flowers are blooming, and you can enjoy them over a longer distance as the Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive in Great Basin National Park is plowed this month. During the winter it is open only to Upper Lehman Creek Campground, but as conditions allow, it is opened to the Osceola Trail parking, then Mather Overlook, […]

Baker Correspondence – April 2017

                                                                                               Indian paintbrush April is a wonderful month to be in Baker. Flowers are blooming, snow is melting up in the mountains, and the temperatures are very comfortable. Visitors are coming, and the town is reawakening from its winter slumber. The Great Basin Café will be opening mid-month at the Lehman Caves Visitor Center under […]

NevadaGram from the Nevada Travel Network ©