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 and lunch served. Menu offerings include locally made bagels, coffee cake, cheesecake, and cookies; pretzel sandwiches, steak chili, and to-go salads; Shirley Temple and Roy Rogers floats; beer, wine, and other beverages. A variety of local arts and crafts are also sold, as well as convenience items like sunscreen and hiking poles for those who need them to explore the park. The café may have extended hours in the evenings for those attending the astronomy programs, which are tentatively planned for Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday nights at 8 p.m.

                An aspen grove on the Serviceberry Trail

The recommended hike for the month is the Serviceberry Trail up Snake Creek in Great Basin National Park. Most visitors hike the Bristlecone Trail and Alpine Loops trail that begin at the end of the Scenic Drive, about 10,000 ft. elevation. These are beautiful trails, but can get a little crowded. You can find some quiet beauty on the 3.6-mile long Serviceberry Trail, which undulates through mahogany groves, aspen stands, and sagebrush, with views of the canyon and high peaks. Wildflowers abound, and the blooming serviceberry bushes will enchant you with their sweet smells.

The big event in town for the month is the Snake Valley Festival, held June 16 and 17. There’s something for everyone! The festival kicks off with a beer tasting at the Whispering Elms. There’s root beer tasting for the little ones. A silent auction with premium items is held during the tasting, and raffle tickets for a 50:25:25 drawing are held. The Great Basin Water Network gets 50% of the pot, and two lucky winners each get 25%.

On Saturday, start off the morning with a pancake breakfast at Kerouac’s Restaurant and Bar in downtown Baker, then check out the community yard sale (name your own price), booths, and book sale. At 10 a.m. is the small town parade — so small it goes around twice. Then there’s free solar telescope viewing, free kids’ games, a silent auction, bake sale, and food booths. After lunch, enjoy free entertainment in the shade of Baker Hall, and then join in the massive water fight. At 5:30 p.m. there’s a BBQ dinner at the Border Inn, followed by the raffle drawing and a dance with a DJ and karaoke until 11 p.m. You can find out more at the Festival Website. It’s small-town fun at its best, and visitors are welcome!

— Gretchen Baker

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