Sunday, September 28, 2014

21 Mile run a Success Plus first snow!

21+ Mile Training Run

First off, this was a HUGE success.  2 weeks ago I did 16 miles and felt pretty good at the end.  I decided to really ramp up the distance and go for 20.  If I got out to about 9 miles and had questions, it was acceptable to turn around and come back, but I was really hoping to hit 20.

I started from my house at about 8:30AM and forgot of all things to turn on my Garmin!  Luckily I know it is about .33 miles to the park, where I discovered I hadn't turned it on.  

We had had rain yesterday and this morning it was cool and there was a few sprinkles in the air, but nothing major.  Undeterred and enjoying the cool air, I maintained a 9:30 pace.  I could really feel the fast 9 miles I had done yesterday and there was some initial doubt as to whether this would get grueling by mile 10.

The weather lightened up significantly and I was carrying enough fluid and gels to go 20+ miles.  I sucked down a Tri-berry Gu at mile 5 (while witnessing some derelicts stealing toilet paper out of the public restroom) and ate another Orange Gu at mile 10, near California Avenue, my turn around point.  

I was feeling outstanding throughout the run at this point but I was wondering when I was going to hit "the wall" where everything falls apart.

I hit a banana / strawberry gel at mile 15.5 and that managed to hold me until the finish despite being pretty hungry (Life Cereal and an iced tea got me started)

Normally miles 16+ are a death march, but I was still knocking back 9:45 miles and I even wound up going an additional mile, just because I could.

When I finished My Garmin read 20.78 miles, but it read 9.96 at California Avenue, the turn around point, so I know I ran 20 from the park and back.  I wonder if the Garmin gets "lazy" when the battery starts to run low (I desperately need a new battery).  I then ran another .5 miles south and then back to the park.  If you include the .33 mile from my house to the park, I ran close to 21.66 miles (although I walked back to the house after my run).

To be honest, I could've run a lot longer today.  I guess some days the Running Gods smile down upon you.

What does this mean?

Well, I hate to judge on any one run, but it does mean I could use the South Jordan full as a training run for Vegas.  Also, on my run as the endorphins kicked in, I began dreaming about destination races.  Montana keeps calling my name.  Guess I'll have to check my bank statement and see if I can make it happen.

Also, I had ZERO problems with any of my injuries and other than tiredness and chafing in the usual spots (I always forget lube on my chest), I feel good.

First Snow

Looks like the mountains got the first snow of the year.  I had heard a rumor they were going to get hit last night, but honestly I didn't think it was going to happen.  Looks like winter is just around the corner (I don't mind winter that much actually).

Looking at Alta Canyon near my house

Saturday, September 27, 2014

This week in running Sept 21 - Sept 27

Day Mileage / Workout Comments
Sunday 5 Run through the streets of Ely Nevada
Monday Off Much needed rest day! Walked 3 miles
Tuesday 5 Finally ran with someone, easy miles
Wednesday 9 Logging some easy miles on the bike trail
Thursday 7 Another fairly easy run. Still felt beat up from half.
Friday Off Walked about 5 miles. Got rained on, hard.
Saturday 9 Wanted to go long, but weather wasn't cooperating.  Great effort though.
Total miles for the week: 35 - YTD: 1293


Let's just say this past weekend I had a blast.  You know you've done it right when you go to work on Monday and feel like you have a dozen stories to tell and you can't wait to post them all to your blog. It also meant that it was extremely hard to focus at work all week. I think I now know what it feels like to have ADHD.

I also didn't get much of a chance to take a deep breath and relax.  I had an Illinois running friend come into town on Monday and spend a few nights with me.  Three big things on this:

1) It was the first time I've not run solo in a very long time. Brought back a lot of memories of running with the Health Bridge Road Runners and doing my Sunday morning marathon runs with them. Also caught up on news and how everyone is doing.

2) It was the first person from Illinois I've seen in over 2.5 years, excluding family.

3) How cool is it that I get to live in a city / area that people actually want  to visit? I've got world-class hiking and scenery practically in my backyard.

Either way, I did manage to get in a solid week of training and I am happy to report my right knee is cooperating with me.  My left calf, though, still can be touch and go.  I've found a "sweet spot" while using a foam roller on it and I think I've identified the ouchie part.  Hopefully it doesn't get out of hand.

Where's your long run dude?

I woke up Saturday with ALL intentions of going 18 - 20 miles.  However, mother nature had other plans.  We had wicked thunderstorms off and on through out the night and just as I was thinking about getting out of bed, I heard the house being pelted with raindrops.  I watched cartoons for a while hoping it would blow over, but sadly it didn't.

I checked and they predicted storms all day.

Regardless, I threw on a wind breaker (which I later ditched in the bushes) and logged a nice 9 mile run.  Not many brave souls on the bike trail this morning but still more than I thought.

About 2 - 3 miles into my 9 mile run it started to really come down I get drenched.  I was wearing my short-shorts sans undies.  Umm.... let's just say it was very revealing...

Also there were two full marathons this weekend (Layton and Huntsville) so I imagine many of the folks that were running them were in the rain.  Keep in mind I survived the 2013 Ogden Marathon in worse weather, so it is doable and at least the weather was cool and not hot (we had low 90's all week).

Tomorrow's weather looks like rain, but I am hoping I can get away with my long run and not get electrocuted.  I can do rain, I don't do lightning.

Raining in Murray Utah

Upcoming Races

As much as I want to knock off another state (Montana and New Mexico are on my list) the timing and money situation is a little tighter.  Also given the fact that Ely set me back a fair amount of money as well as Vegas coming up in less than 60 days, I'll probably stick with local races.

I am very seriously thinking of doing the South Jordan full marathon in about 3 weeks, which is about 5 miles south of my house.  We'll see how this weekend's long run goes and if my calf behaves.  It looks like I can register a few days before the event without too much of a penalty.  I'll use the race as a long training run and practice session for Vegas.  I've done their half before and for a relatively small race (about 500 - 600 for the half and full together) they really do a good job.  Not sure it is a "destination" race for you out of towners but you do start high and get a net decline down in terms of elevation.

I have an Arizona full marathon penciled in for February, as we are looking at visiting family and friends down there for Super Bowl weekend.  This didn't go over too well with Shari ("you'll be tired and cranky after the run") but it would nice to knock Arizona off my list.

Destination Run

Flirting with heading west again next weekend, so there may be an opportunity for another desert run.  Stayed tuned.  

Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Trip from Ely to Salt Lake City with a Stop in West Wendover


On Sunday morning, I woke up feeling really good and went for my morning run.  Shari was just getting up as I came back to the hotel.  

The plan was to clean up, load our stuff in the car and make the trip back to Wendover and get there sometime before noon.  That way we could take advantage of the breakfast items on the buffet, gamble for a few hours and then head home from there (a nice way to break up a 3.5 hour trip).

Leaving Ely

I am pretty quick at packing and getting ready so by the time I was done showering and cleaning up, Shari was still in the process of getting ready.  To kill time, I went down to the casino and figured I'd put in $20 into Fu Dao Le.  

I hate to say it, but that $20 lasted all of about 5 minutes (if that).  Reluctant to go back, I popped another $20 in and scored a large bonus round.  Yeah me!

My final cash out
After collecting my money, I went back to the room and Shari was still busy packing and getting ready (women!).  I was watching TV when all of the sudden, the TV popped and the screen went black.  There was an awful smell of "electronics" that emanated from it as well.  I quickly unplugged the TV as it was clearly dead.  I reported this to the front desk...

A few minutes later without any distractions, we loaded up the car, took some final pictures of ourselves in the lobby and headed out to West Wendover.

What a treat.  Since we had driven at night, we missed a lot of the beautiful scenery.  Many might call the area boring, but I would consider it anything but.  The area around Ely was desert vegetation / scrub with a passage of mountains to either side.  It was flat and straight away driving until the junction to Wendover.  The fall flowers were up with plenty of yellows and burnt reds.

Upon hitting the Wendover junction the road gets a bit more turn filled with some elevation climbs and descents.  You are also surrounded by brown mountains that are much closer than what they were in Ely.  It was pretty desolate and in one section I took my car up to 100mph.  

As we got closer to West Wendover we could see the Bonneville salt flats.  If I wasn't in a hurry, I definitely would've pulled over and gotten a few shots.  But I suspect I'll be returning through there sooner or later.

West Wendover

We arrived just before noon and went into Montego Bay.  For a day with 7X comps, I expected it to be packed.  I didn't think it was that bad and after a brief wait in line, I printed out my free play coupon and 2-for-1 buffet pass.

Shari and I got in a good buffet, and looking back at it, it was only my 3rd "real" meal all weekend.  For the two of us, we ate for just under $20.  I love their desserts and made good on this piece of cake:

I largely had all of my money from the get-go.  I was probably up about $50 - $100 and being it was 7X day, I went to one of the only Fu Dao Le machines and popped a $100 into it.  With my luck, I figured I'd get something good as I've seen people winning big on it.  Since I had put so much into it, I was betting a bit more aggressively than I have in the past, a lot of 88 cents to $2 bets.  

I hate to say it, but I basically got NOTHING for it.  I was extremely frustrated.  No bonus rounds, no wild bonus game, nothing.  While I did earn some half way decent comps, it was one of the more disappointing runs I've had.  Fu Dao Le can certainly be generous and other times I've seen it go through some extremely long cold spells.

Frustrated and tempted to just go home at that point, Shari suggested we check out the Peppermill, as she seems to have good luck there.  Somewhat reluctantly, I agreed and we made the 1 minute drive.

Shari had been itching to play Rise of Ra so I gave her a $20.  Turns out she wound up making back the $100 I had lost at the Montego Bay (and then some).  I had been on tilt prior to that and it was good see get some of our money back.   I went over to the Fu Dao Le that was next to it and stuck in a $20 and got a bonus round and made a profit on it.  

Happy to be leaving on an upswing,  we took off.  I would've liked to have stayed longer, but we had company coming in from out of town and Shari was insisting we had to clean and get a few groceries.


This whole trip was super exciting and I am so glad I went.  I got a chance to run a race, eat plenty of food and see a lot of things I've never seen before.  Hence, I've added about half a dozen new post as a result.  

In addition, I got to check off a bunch of cities on my "must-see in Nevada list"  I definitely want to go back to visit the Great Basin National Park, the Lehman Caves and hike Mt Wheeler.  So I don't think this will be the last time I head out that way.

Gambling wise, if I had won that stupid football bet (like I should've), I would've made a profit on the trip.  I left with about $300 and came home with a little more than $250.

Either way, I still came home with my wallet not empty and lots of life-time memories.

Goal accomplished!

Saturday in Ely Nevada

Ely downtown at dusk


Saturday was going to be a busy day.  I've itemized everything I did below:

After the ovens, we headed back to the hotel.  To say the least, I needed a break!

Evening in Ely

We arrived back at the hotel just after 5 and I wasn't quite ready to hit dinner.  Itching to take advantage of the pool, I quickly changed into my bathing suit and hit the whirlpool.  It really helped me recover and I wound up meeting a guy from Casper.  We exchanged stories about Wyoming and I explained I had run the Casper Marathon.  Pretty cool to get travel tips from him, should I opt to run that one again.

Pool at the Prospector Hotel and Casino

After cleaning up we headed to the downtown area, which was about a 2 mile drive from the hotel.  Easy parking too -- I just pulled right up to the outside of the Jailhouse Motel and Casino on the main road and I was in the heart of the downtown area.

I had gotten some dining tips from people at the race and we did a bit of exploring before settling in on one:

1) Jailhouse Motel had a nice restaurant and the people at the race said that was reputed to be the best
2) A restaurant at the Ramada
3) The lady working the spa at Montego Bay told me that Hotel Nevada's cafe had good food.

We sauntered into the jailhouse and looked over the menu.  It was a bit on the pricey side and the theme of the restaurant was that you were served in cells -- probably from the original jailhouse.  I saw something that struck my fancy but I wanted to check out the Hotel Nevada.

Jailhouse Motel and Casino

We walked across the street and the Hotel Nevada's cafe was bustling and the food was affordable.  I saw something on the menu I wanted more (I had a major hankering for fries) and so we jumped into the cafe.  I ordered the salmon dinner and Shari ordered a pizza.  

The food was good and I really appreciated the large portions.  This was also my first meal of the day (more or less) so I was ravenous.  I wound up eating most of Shari's pizza.  The pizza won't win any awards any time soon, but it was good.

Dinner at Hotel Nevada

After eating, we decided to gamble.  I found an Invaders from Planet Moolah, one of my all-time favorites.  I plunked a $20 in, and got a really nice bonus round netting a profit.  I spied a Fu Dao Le and dropped another $20 in there and quickly turned another profit.  I was on a roll!  I even won at Multi-Strike video poker.  The casino was the only one in town with live gaming (including pot limit Texas Hold'em) and their selection of slot machines ranged from older to new.  I was really impressed with their selection and it wasn't terribly busy either.

A nice $50 win
We also checked out a lot of the memorabilia on the walls.  The Hotel Nevada dates back to 1929 and was once the tallest building in Nevada.  There are pictures of famous people who have stayed there on the walls throughout the hotel as well as western artifacts on display:

After stuffing my wallet with my newly made dollars we headed on over to the Jailhouse.  I want to say this motel had a good selection of machines, but they were mostly older ones.  I found a Mr Cashman and plopped a $20 in there.  I thought I was finally going to get skunked when I hit a jackpot and won $40.  

I headed back on over to the Hotel Nevada but my luck had gone south and I wound up losing about $20. 

Shari wanted to check out the final casino in town, the Ramada, so we went over there.  I wound up gambling there for about 30 minutes.  I think I left with a $4 profit (literally).  It was a tiny casino though and they didn't have any of my favorite machines.  One of the weird things was that the hotel's pool was located just below the slot machines.  So while you were playing, you could watch the kids screaming and swimming.

At that point, I could hardly see straight on account I was exhausted, so we drove back to the hotel.  I spotted this car in the parking lot:

I wound up meeting the guy who owned it in the morning.  Turns out he was a CSULB graduate (like myself -- although he graduated about 15 years prior to me).  That little gem runs about $150K and he was planning on racing it in the desert race in the morning -- at a speed of over 200 mph.  In fact, the entire town was littered with muscle cars, Porsche's, Corvette's and race cars.  Just outside of town, a highway gets shut down for a race where contestants get nearly a 100 mile stretch of open road to race on. Sort of like a Cannon Ball run, but all legal.

I hit the sheets just after 10pm.  I wound up sleeping extremely well and woke up really refreshed on Sunday morning.  You know you've lived to the max when that happens.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

The Trip from Salt Lake City to Ely Nevada

Prospector Hotel and Casino Ely Nevada


On Friday, 9/19, I rushed home from work as quickly as possible.  I had a long night ahead of me and I wanted to get as early as a start as possible.  Being that the trip to Ely was a good 3 and a half hours and I had to be up somewhat early for the Take it to the Lake - Ely Half Marathon.  Shari had some last minute packing to do, but all in all, we were on the road headed west towards Wendover by 4:45.

I made excellent time and other than a bit of traffic west of the city, it was smooth sailing all the way there (although there seemed to be a bit more traffic than usual heading to Wendover).  We got to Wendover by 6:30.

Route in Blue


Along the way we were discussing what to do about dinner.  We decided that we'd decide once we got to Montego Bay Casino in West Wendover.  If the casino's restaurants were busy we'd hit up Subway or Burger King and then head south out of town for the next 120 miles.

Montego Bay was pretty empty.  They weren't offering any goodies as far as comps, so maybe it was expected.  We were there mostly to eat, maybe throw in a $20 bill into a slot machine and move on.

Shari and I hemmed and hawed about where to eat.  We thought about going to the Italian restaurant, but that was almost as expensive as a buffet (although the Italian restaurant there is pretty good).  Shari was on board with eating at their cafe but she encouraged me to hit up the seafood buffet as she knows how much I love their buffet.  Let's just say it didn't take too much encouragement for me to readily agree!

Shari jumped into the cafe while I hit up the Oceano buffet.  Normally the buffet is about $28 for Friday night, but you do get crab legs, fish and plenty of seafood.  I used my comps and knocked down the price of admission to $20.

Sadly, the line for the crab legs was long.  I was starving at that point and I had to wait a good 15 minutes before it was my turn to grab my share.  Luckily they were really good about refilling the bin with freshly steamed legs but the people in front of me were really slow.  They picked and dilly-dallied over the legs and like I said, it took a good 15 - 20 minutes before I made it through the line of 15 people.

I showed everybody how it was done though.  I grabbed two plates, slopped on heaping loads of legs on each plate and went back to my seat.  Bam, I was done in about 25 seconds. I am not a 20th level buffet master with Plates of Power +5 for nothing: 

I was surprised but that amount of crab legs sufficed.  I wound up getting some more food as well.  I didn't eat as much as I normally do on account I was racing in the morning and I've made that mistake before: eating too much before a race and either having to hit the bathroom a ton of times or feeling like a two-ton Tessie.

I love the made-to-order tuna steaks!

Gambling in Wendover

After inhaling enough food, Shari and I met up.  I tossed in $20 in a Fu Dao Le slot machine and managed to eek out a $5 profit.  I gave Shari a twenty but the machines were cruel to her and she handed me a cash-out ticket for about 13 cents.  Being I wasn't getting very good comps and we really wanted to hit the road I pulled out my money and took the $20 over to the sports book.  

I went up to the guy and said "I'd like to bet on number 454"... picking Dallas over the Rams at -1.  I looked at my ticket and it said Dallas vs Rams.  Good enough and put it in my pocket. 

When I got to Ely I looked at it and the guy must've heard, "I'd like to bet on the under for 454" (not number), which meant that the score had to be less than 44.5 points.  While that wasn't what I wanted I figured it would be a slow scoring game.  I am very sad to report that Dallas won the game, but the score was WAY over 44.5 points.  Lesson learned boys and girls: check your ticket at the window!  So I would've won if I had looked over my ticket more closely and I got a lecture from Shari about how sports betting is stupid.

Wendover to Ely

If you look closely at the map above, there really isn't anything between Wendover and Ely.  Not even a gas station.  If you want, you can count the village of McGill, but that is just a half marathon shy of Ely itself.

The first 50 miles or so is through the south Wendover desert.  It is desolate, twisty-turny kind of driving and there was NO moonlight.  It was white knuckle driving for me as I saw warning signs  reminding drivers to be careful of crossing burros, sheep, and other critters (I do think I hit a mouse or something at one point).  The speed limit is also 70 mph.

To make matters worse, just as the lights of Wendover were fading in the distance, my check tire  light went on.  I was like, "oh crap" ... I just had my tires checked and had scheduled maintenance done earlier in the week so this made me extremely nervous.  After all, there is NO cell phone connection in a large part of the desert and I was heading out there in the pitch blackness where there was only another car coming into view every 5 - 10 minutes or so.

Luckily the check tire light lasted less than a minute and I am happy to report it never came back.  I am not sure what triggered it unless the tire weight is on the borderline low side.  I do know I have problems with it in the winter.

The trip to Ely was largely uneventful after that.  Although my car was literally covered with squished desert bugs.  I could hardly see out the window it was spattered with so many of them.

Unfortunately, I couldn't really appreciate what I was driving through.  I could vaguely make out the mountain ranges, but for the most part it was inky blackness punctuated by the occasional passing car.  I was in awe when I drove back on Sunday, but that's another story.


We arrived in Ely just after 9 and we were both relieved to get there.  There is always that lingering doubt that you are going to get run off the road, have car issues, or what not.  Having those kinds of problems in the desert without cell connection is just bad news.  Also, even if you could get help, it would be at least an hour before anyone even got to you.

We stayed at the Prospector Hotel and Casino on the east end of town.  This place was very clean, comfortable, and affordable.  There was a major sporting event in town and I suspect a lot of the hotels were filled and charging extra that weekend.  This hotel was very reasonable and the rooms were excellent.  Highly recommended. You can read my review on TripAdvisor here.

Our room - notice the candies on the bed.

Me hanging in the Lounge with my dogs

Shari with the dogs

Friday Night Gambling in Ely

After settling into the room we decided to scope out the hotel's casino.  I was REALLY excited to see that this wasn't a dive and had a lot of modern machines.  There's no live gaming here and to collect your winnings you get your ticket and go to a cashier's cage (none of the Ely Casinos had dispensing machines).  I was even more ecstatic to see Fu Dao Le unoccupied and ready to be played.

I jumped on and turned $20 into $60.  I got a 3-wild bonus round where I get to pick a bunch of symbols.  I got it to the point where I had the Maxi, Major and Minor and Mini all needing one more pick.  The Maxi was at 8.8K and the mini was at $25.  Well, you can guess what I won, but at least it was something.

We really weren't in Ely to gamble (much).  We don't have any loyalty cards there and to be honest we aren't going to go back but once a year (if I can find a friend to call to Mt Wheeler with me) so we'd rather take our gambling dollar to Wendover, where at least we'll get a little something back (and that Sunday was 7X comps).  

The guy next to me on the Red Phoenix machine was on a roll though and he was up a good $400 - $500, but he was betting aggressively.  Turns out he was from McGill so I got a chance to ask him about it and learn something about the area and life in McGill.

We turned in after 10PM.  Luckily they provided a free tooth brush in the room.  In my haste of leaving Salt Lake I had completely forgotten mine.  This hotel really had a lot of little niceties (even a rubber ducky in the bath tub). 

It wasn't the hotel's fault, but I slept poorly.  I think the stress of driving, the mystery flat tire, a busy day at work, and the anticipation of the race had me up half the night (plus it was warm).  

But I was ready to rock in the morning...

Morning Run in Ely Nevada - 9/21/2014

Downtown Ely Nevada at about 6:30AM


One of my favorite things to do when I am in a new town is to take a run and go exploring.  I had gone to bed pretty early the previous night as I was exhausted from my half marathon and all the sight seeing I had done the previous day.  Not only that, I had spent most of the evening wandering around the older casinos.

I actually slept pretty well and was up just before 6AM.  I tossed and turned a bit debating on whether I really wanted to go for a run.  After about 15 minutes I threw on my shorts and headed out.  I needed to get some miles in, I needed to burn a few calories in anticipation of eating some buffets later in the day and I really wanted to explore and get more photos of Ely.

The Run

It had rained in the night and the roads were all water slicked. However, it wasn't raining as I took off.  There were some really awesome cloud formations over the mountains and I quickly snapped a picture of that as I took off from the east side of Ely:

I followed the main drag west towards the downtown area shooting pictures of whatever struck my fancy.  My main goal, however, was to see what the old casinos looked like in the early morning.

I ran primarily on the sidewalk and there was little traffic to worry about.  It was like the entire town was still asleep.  I only saw a handful of people walking their dogs.

My first stop was to the cemetery.  The cemetery is right off the main street and offered a glimpse of history.  There were a few graves that were recent, but a great many of them were from the 1920's:

I rounded the corner and started to descend into the older section of town.  One of the more charming areas was the courthouse park and the White Pine Middle School.  The park had a little creek running through it and looked like a community gathering place.  The school looked like a fairly big but older building.  I am sure it had been around for a while:

Courtyard Park

White Pine Middle School
After going through the park I was greeted by the older hotels and shops, including the famous Hotel Nevada:

The famous Hotel Nevada

The famous Hotel Nevada - rear view
After running down the Ely Strip, I decided to go exploring a bit to the north.  I had spotted the brothels on the train ride and wanted to see them a bit closer.  They were closed but it was interesting seeing something that is legal only in rural Nevada counties:

Big Four Brothel

Stardust Lounge

VIP Spa Massage
After satisfying my curiosity I went along the south down of downtown and captured the Ely Fire Department and City Hall.  

I wound up logging about 5 miles.  Ely is a very easy town to navigate as the town spreads out from Aultman Street.  It was a really nice run and I enjoyed capturing the sites of Ely.  I am itching to explore more of the rural sections, however, and might save that for the next trip.

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Ward Charcoal Ovens State Park - Ely Nevada


After finishing our Ely Northern Railroad Museum and Train Ride, Shari and I ran back to the hotel.  I grabbed a handful of cookies to tide me over and filled a water bottle (or two).  My half marathon run had left me dehydrated and sitting on a train in the sun hadn't helped matters.

There was some dark clouds over the western horizon and I saw a few bolts of lightning emanate from them.  Also, there was the occasional drop of rain that fell -- so we knew that rain was coming. 

I really wanted to see the Ward Charcoal Ovens.  It was very easy to get to (about a 3 minute drive south of town followed by 10 miles of dirt roads).  Just about every brochure for White Pine County shows these structures.  To say that we were in a hurry to beat the impending storm would be an understatement.

Ward Charcoal Ovens

The ovens are indeed in great shape and are remnants from the town of Ward. Apparently, they were built in 1876 and were used to turn the surrounding trees and shrubbery into much needed charcoal to power the steam engines of the day.  If you read the informational sign posted at the park's entrance you'll note that the denizens of the area basically tore up everything in a 35 mile radius in order for it to be used to create charcoal.  I have to wonder what Ely and the surrounding countryside might look like today if the natural vegetation had been left intact...

The ovens can be fully explored -- inside and out.  They are in impressive shape and is a testament to fine craftsmanship to last nearly 150 years.

Looking up through the oven

Typical wall structure

Notice the lichen on the rocks

Shari posing at the Ward Charcoal Ovens.

Surrounding Trails

The surround area also has a lot of hikes.  There was a trail map at the site that identified several of them.  The area was flat and the hiking looked fairly easy.

We took a brief walk on the shortest trail, but I think being absolutely by ourselves out there freaked Shari out (and the fact that I mentioned that I had met a woman that worked for the BLM who said that there could be bobcats and mountain lions out here didn't help).  I did manage to get some shots of the surrounding countryside though and was extremely mindful for rattlesnakes (they tend to come out after rain).  We were lucky in the fact that the rain did hold off the entire time we were at the park.

I'd love to explore here more and all told I would say we were there for about 30 minutes.  We did manage to find a shortcut back to the main road, so we only had about 5 miles of dirt road driving versus the 10 we had come before.  My poor bug spattered Mazda certainly appreciated that.

Trail map

A stream running through a meadow. Kind of soupy here.