Desert Heaven: Finding Paradise in the Nevada Wilderness

Out in Nevada, you can see the brightest stars of anywhere in the world—or so say the residents of one small town.

There's a lot more to Nevada than Las Vegas, Burning Man, and the Grand Canyon. In fact, the state is mostly an expanse of magnificent deserts and natural wonders. Largely left at the mercy of the weather for thousands and thousands of years, Nevada is full of entrancing rock formations, unblemished lakes, and lonely highways leading through mountain passes. Here are 10 natural wonders to see in the Sagebrush State.

1. Red Rock Canyon National Conservation Area

Wikipedia

With its 3000-foot sandstone walls, Red Rock Canyon is a sight to see. Nevada's first conservation area stretches a total of 200,000 square miles and is popular with rock climbers, hikers, and nature-lovers of all stripes.

2. Lake Mead National Recreation Area

planetware.com

Rife with campgrounds, trails, and historic attractions, Lake Mead National Recreation Area sits at the border of Lake Mead and Lake Mohave. Its most popular attraction is Boulder Beach, a sunny, sandy attraction near the also-famous Hoover Dam, but the area offers endless natural wonders.

3. Great Basin National Park

Among the bristlecone pines, the alpine lakes, the rolling sagebrush, the ancient creosote bushes, and the deep limestone-cloaked caverns below ground, you might just find the peace and solitude you've been seeking in the Great Basin National Park. This place features some of the oldest trees in the world and is a hotbed of natural wonders, perfect for campers, stargazers, and anyone seeking total solitude.

4. Valley of Fire

Matadornetwork.com

Nevada's oldest state park is just an hour from Las Vegas, but it feels like an alien (or perhaps Seussian) landscape. The name "Valley of Fire" stems from the appearance of its many150-million-year-old sandstone formations, which sometimes resemble flames bursting up from the sand.

5. Mount Charleston and the Spring Mountains

lasvegasareatrails.com

Mount Charleston is a 12,000-foot-mountain, and ambitious hikers can treat themselves to a trek, campers can sleep under the stars, and luxury-seekers can crash in one of two nearby resorts. Mount Charleston's peaks offer magnificent views of wild Ponderosa pines and aspens, animals like desert tortoises and wild horses, dramatic waterfalls, and the aptly named Cathedral Rock.

6. The Grapevine Canyon Petroglyphs

flickr.com

For a glimpse of the distant past, venture through the Mojave Desert to Laughlin County's Spirit Mountain. As you near the Grapevine Mountain's Christmas Tree Path, you'll pass by petroglyphs etched on cave walls and stones. Created between 1100 and 1900 AD, the meaning of the glyphs is unknown, but it's easy to imagine some sacred significance when looking at the spirals and matrix-like lines.

7. Tonopah Stargazing

tigoatours.com

The little town of Tonopah makes a big claim: It promises the best stargazing in the country. Townsfolk have created "star trails," specific pathways through the wilderness outside the town that allow visitors to experience unbelievable, crystal-clear views of the Milky Way and the galaxies beyond.

8. Jarbidge Wilderness

onlyinyourstate.com

This isolated, hidden gem is well off the beaten path, but if you're longing to escape the trappings of touristy parks, Jarbridge Wilderness in Elko County offers surreally beautiful vistas and natural wonders galore. With a wide variety of pine species and lush wildflowers like lupine that bloom in warmer months, Jarbridge is lonely and beautiful and entirely worth a stop. Fun fact: The word "Jarbridge" means "monster that lurks in the canyon" in Shoshane, and the hills are haunted according to some Indigenous tribes from the area—so perhaps think twice before actually visiting.

9. Fly Geyser

The continuous Fly Geyser of Fly Ranch is on private land in Nevada, USA Alamy

You might know Nevada's Black Rock desert as the location of Burning Man, but the infamous festival is just one of the desert's many very trippy attractions. In 2008, the Burning Man festival bought the then-privately-owned Fly Geyser, a magnificent and perpetually erupting clump of rock stained red and green by internal reserves of thermophilic algae. Today, it's open from April to October each year, and you can visit via private tours.

10. Spencer Highway Hot Springs

thedyrt.com

Just off the edge of "America's Loneliest Highway"—AKA Highway 50—is a secluded hot spring. Accessible by dirt road and cradled in the center of the lush Big Smoky valley, these are just one of the many isolated hot springs across Nevada.

"Nevada is located atop seismic fault zones where fissures in the earth bring the brimstone close to the desert's mantle," explains Nevada resident Howard Goldbaum, creator of a website that allows you to experience Nevada in VR. "Ten thousand feet below the ground, flowing water comes in contact with superheated rock, bringing to the surface steam vents, geysers, and hot springs. When I approach one of these thermal features, a surreal oasis interrupting the ordinary landscape, I feel connected to the inner warmth of life's cradle, a visitor to the world of geological time."

Or, in the words of geologist John McPhee, "A million years is a short time - the shortest worth messing with for most problems. You begin tuning your mind to a time scale that is the planet's time scale. For me, it is almost unconscious now and is a kind of companionship with the earth... If you free yourself from the conventional reaction to a quantity like a million years, you free yourself a bit from the boundaries of human time. And then in a way you do not live at all, but in another way you live forever."

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10 Endangered Animals to Weep Over

Celebrate Endangered Species Day.

An endangered species is not a tragedy, because if a species is endangered, then they aren't yet extinct.

Sadly, there are millions of endangered species across the world, all facing threats that mostly stem from human activities. Still, it's not too late. Take a gander at these majestic animals, and then donate to a wildlife fund or environmental activism group of your choice.


Of course, nature doesn't need saving—humans do—and climate change and environmental destruction are threats to humans as well as animals, but if you need a reminder of the beauty and fragility of the natural world, check out these extraordinary species.



SPONSORED

Do Non-Melatonin Sleep Aids Really Work?

Objective makes a chocolate square.

I Can't Sleep.

I truly cannot remember the last time I had a good night's rest. Even before the stay-at-home orders, I was just a little ball of nerves.

But lately, it's been awful. I toss and turn, it's always too hot or even too cold, sometimes I make myself tea and read for a bit, but when I'm still up at 1 a.m., I reach for my phone and then I'm up until 3. My sister and I have a weekly call, and our small talk about our exhaustion turned into an hour long conversation about sleep.

I Thought I'd Tried Everything. Even Melatonin.

My sister asked why I hadn't gone for the old staple, melatonin and I reminded her about the time we traveled abroad, and it gave me the weirdest nightmares (the horrible kind where you wake up in your dream and you're still in a dream). Chamomile tea didn't work, nothing worked.

She said she had a friend who swore by something I definitely hadn't heard of.

They Were NOT Pills, Teas or Anything I'd Seen Before.

A company called Objective makes Fast Asleep, a sleep solution delivered as chocolatey treats. They're created with saffron and GABA. If going to sleep was as easy as eating a piece of these chocolatey, minty delights every night, I'd be sold.

What Exactly Was In It?

Cocoa contains caffeine, so I didn't know how this would help me sleep. After talking with my sister, I went online and saw that the calming, sleep-supporting ingredients cancel out any of the very little caffeine content.

Saffron, the spice, is apparently known to help with staying asleep, and their GABA is a fermented version of the neurotransmitter that's known to help you relax and fall asleep faster. In a study, 100% of customers saw improvement in their sleep quality thanks to saffron. One hundred percent!

Do I Try It?

A bag of 30 pieces was only $40, and they had a money-back guarantee.

They're keto-friendly and only 30 calories a piece, so not too decadent before bedtime.

They were chocolatey-minty, which is my favorite flavor, so I was sold. I ordered a bag to try.

The First Night, I Wasn't Impressed.

I took one piece (super yummy!) - 30-60 minutes before bedtime is recommended - but when I climbed in, I didn't notice a difference. I was worried I'd wasted my money.

However, once I fell asleep, I stayed asleep until my alarm went off, which hasn't always been the case for me.

I checked the site again, and noticed that many people didn't notice a real difference until the third or fourth night - it builds up in your system over time, so I decided to keep an open mind the rest of the week.

The Second Night Was Completely Different

Without doing anything differently from the first night, my second night was amazing. I felt calm and sleepy as I was getting ready for bed, and once I hit the pillow, I was out the whole night.

It had to be these sweet treats. The next day, I even felt more balanced and relaxed - Fast Asleep helps boost serotonin levels and reduce cortisol (the stress hormone), and I definitely noticed a difference in my overall mood and alertness.

I Already Ordered More.

Just In Case! There's nothing habit-forming about this product, so it's completely safe to take every night, and I honestly always want to keep it in the house. I'd also love to offer it to anyone staying over in the guest room, whenever we have guests again.

Now that I'm getting a healthy 8 hours of sleep every night, I feel more equipped during the day to tackle the things I need to do and deal with some of my daytime stressors. I finally had the energy to clean the kitchen, which had been bothering me so much for the past few weeks.

With Objective's Fast Asleep, I get real sleep and balance my levels, so I don't have to feel tired during my waking hours. Sleep in the form of chocolate squares sounds so weird, but oh my goodness, do they work.

Our partners at Objective Wellness are currently offering a 25% discount if you use the coupon code STAYHOME. Check them out here!

Food & Drink

The Best Apps for Craft Beer Delivery

Try beers from all over the world–from your phone.

With breweries and distilleries out of business for the foreseeable future, your favorite beer may feel particularly out of reach this time of year, especially with the weather changing. But don't let quarantine suck all the fun out of summer. Luckily, thanks to technology, a lot of craft beer is now deliverable straight to your door step. Here are a few of the best apps to help make sure you stay up to date on the latest trendy brews.

Tavour

Tavour

Simplistic and elegant, Tavour allows users to easily fill up a box of beer over a period of time before shipping. The app offers more than 650 different breweries both local and national and is perfect for those who like to experiment. It's easy to use, and their menu rotates regularly so you and your beer never grow stale.

TapRM

TapRM

TapRM offers a wide range of both craft beers and hard seltzers. While based almost exclusively in New York City, the app offers fast, same day delivery from some of the best beer brands in the world. They also provide a unique selection of beers to help you find your new favorite. All you need to do is download the app and place your order!

Drizly

Offering a stark variety of craft beer, Drizly allows its users to mix and match 12-packs, sixers or by the bottle. Their guarantee is that they can have whatever you order delivered to your house in less than an hour. You can even schedule your delivery for a specific time, with each delivery taking around 20-40 minutes.

Saucey

Saucey takes delivery very seriously. When you order with them they guarantee that they'll deliver in 30-minutes or less, or they guarantee two day shipping. Also, beer aside, their entire liquor cabinet is also up for grabs. From tequila and whiksey, to vodka and wine, nothing is off the table for Saucey.

Beer Menus

BeerMenus

For those who enjoy strictly local beers, BeerMenus features a tap list from local bars and a broader stock list from your neighborhood beer store. With that, you can make sure to create a list of your favorite beers in your neighborhood, so that when they're in stock you can be ready to go.