Sunday, October 16, 2016

Nevada Beyond the Neon: The Bruneau and Reese Rivers

         Two rivers share the spotlight for this final post in the Nevada Beyond the Neon series.  

         The Bruneau meanders beneath phyllite cliffs in northeastern Nevada before changing character in Idaho.  The Idaho Bruneau churns through canyons carved into ancient lava flows, providing a thrilling whitewater rafting experience. The Nevada Bruneau invites trout fishermen on a leisurely stroll though placid waters.

Casting the Bruneau on a July evening.

          We prefer the Nevada experience and have camped by the river watching hawks soar the cerulean sky while frogs croaked from water’s edge.  One evening we listened from inside the tent as cowboys drove herds of cattle across the water and through our camp.

Our peaceful camp along the Bruneau—until an evening
cattle drive came through with galloping horses
and barking dogs.

Bruneau River landscape.

Campsite along another section of the Bruneau.

This small section of the Bruneau holds
good-sized trout.

          The Reese River is contained entirely within the Great Basin.  Its waters will never reach the sea and the river seems satisfied with this simple fact.  Located south of Austin in the Arc Dome Wilderness area of the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, the Reese is a backpacker's and horse-packer's dream.  
         We backpacked the Cow Canyon Trail along the river and set up camp among the willows.  Broad-tailed hummingbirds buzzed our campsite, and yellow warblers called from the brush.  

Cow Canyon Trailhead.  This trail, with commanding views of the Arc Dome
Wilderness, descends and ascends along the Reese River.

Prolific wildflowers along the trail.

Setting up camp alongside the Reese River.

Fishing for trout in the Reese River.

The results of Tim's efforts: a delicious
rainbow trout fillet for dinner.

            If you’re searching for Blue Ribbon Trout streams or a whitewater adventure, you won’t find them on Nevada's Bruneau or Reese.  But what you will find are those qualities so common in Nevada’s backcountry—peace, tranquility, and a deep connection with the natural world.  

Tim gazes across the wilderness to Arc Dome's 11,300 foot Peak.


  1. Your "Nevada Beyond the Neon" series has been exceptionally enjoyable, Rita!

    Regarding this posting about The Bruneau and Reese Rivers, I'll begin by saying two things. One is that I've never experienced cowboys driving herds of cattle on any of my outdoor adventures. Wow! And secondly, I'm always awed by the height of your mountains. Arc Dome's 11,300 ft elevation is nearly twice as high as our tallest mountain in all of New England!
    Lastly, you summed up your series very well by stating that Nevada’s backcountry provides "peace, tranquility, and a deep connection with the natural world".


    1. Hi John,

      While Tim and I have encountered cattle drives on other hikes and drives in the west we had never had cows, horses, dogs—and a less-than-friendly cowboy—run through our campsite before!

      The mountains out here are very high. But I've read that it's because they're young mountains. Given enough time they'll erode to the size of mountains in the eastern US. I've also read that the Appalachian mountains are among the oldest mountains on earth, and at one time were as tall as the Himalayas!

      Thanks for reading and enjoying this series. It was fun to write!

  2. Nevada certainly has a diversity of landscape beyond Las Vegas. I love hiking there, and loved seeing your photos and reading your lyrical descriptions of your time on these two beautiful, placid rivers. That trout looks pretty delicious, too!

    1. The trout WAS delicious, Vickie!

      Nevada is also one of my favorite states to hike in. It seems that almost every trail comes with 360 degree views of the spectacular basin and range landscape.

      Thanks for commenting!

  3. Your pictures depict a wonderfully peaceful countryside Rita, with the skies as blue as ever. I wonder if you had camped overnight in those valleys, under the stars and with the sounds of different insects cheeping and early birdcall.

    NBN is truly exceptional!

    1. Yep, camping out is the best way to enjoy Nevada's outdoors. We've had a few additional camping experiences in Nevada that I haven't mentioned in this series. And, in addition to seeing the splendor of the Milky Way we've heard ospreys "chirping", nighthawks "whooshing" as they dove for insects, and waterfowl clucking as they settled in for the evenings or woke in the early mornings.

      I'm so pleased that you've read and enjoyed this entire series, Soumyendu! Thanks!

  4. I do not know these rivers, Rita, so this was a meaningful, interesting post for me. Your final words about what they offer captivated and convinced me: "—peace, tranquility, and a deep connection with the natural world." I am sorry to see your Nevada series end. You've taken me with you to places I have enjoyed and introduced me to others. Thank you.

    1. I'm not surprised that you didn't know these rivers, as neither of these Nevada streams are considered prime vacation destinations. But—as you well know, Janet—the unheralded places many times provide the greatest rewards.

      And this series has indeed been rewarding to write. I'm so glad that you've enjoyed revisiting Nevada along with me! Thanks!