Nevada and the Southwest are chock-full of gorgeous scenery from the heights of Wheeler Peak to the depths of Death Valley, but enjoying them often requires a bit of stamina.
Along comes a unique book for those who want to see these sights but have limited mobility — whether in a wheelchair, using a walker, having a service dog or simply not in the best of shape, as related in this week’s newspaper column, available online at The Ely Times and the Elko Daily Free Press. For these people, and frankly anyone interested in getting out and seeing our great land, experienced outdoor writers and photographers Deborah Wall and Dennis Boulton have penned “Access For All: Touring the Southwest With Limited Mobility.”
The writers traveled tens of thousands of miles to research and take photographs for the book, finding accessible trails, overlooks, campgrounds, parking, bathrooms and lodging accommodations for the dozens of beautiful natural sights in Nevada, Arizona, Utah and western California.
Previously there has been little information available about which outdoor destinations are equipped to accommodate people with limited mobility, even though more and more outdoor sights have redoubled efforts to provide access to areas formerly available only to the young and fit. Longer life expectancy and early retirements have given more of us time to travel, despite aching joints and shortened breath.
In addition, the book suggests several road trips in which the scenery is visible from the comfort of an air-conditioned car, such as Highway 50: Loneliest Road in America.
“U.S. 50 roughly parallels the trail used by the Pony Express, the short-lived mail delivery system which ran from 1860 to 1861 …” the book tells us.
“If you long to experience the ‘real Nevada’ of present-day Western films, this is a good place to do so. To do it properly, allow two or three days; don’t fight the 382 miles from Carson City to Baker (home of Great Basin National Park), but savor them.”
In addition to the sights to see and the wildlife to watch for, the book is rich with history and anecdotes that you can regale your friends and family with while on the outing.
“In the Moapa area (Jack) Longstreet killed a man named Dry. Dry had a bad reputation, so authorities accepted Longstreet’s claim of self-defense. But on the hilt of Longstreet’s revolver, Dry’s notch wasn’t the only one,” we are told. “Longstreet built at Ash Meadows in 1895. He cleverly set the back of his cabin into a natural spring mound, whose running water provided refrigeration for food storage.”