Little Finland, 01.16
I was catching up on some overland forum reading and saw mention of this place called Little Finland in Eastern Nevada. I had never heard of it and did some quick research and quickly put it on my proverbial to do list. Fortunately I was headed to Las Vegas for the 2016 SHOT Show and it looked like it would fit nicely into a window between the show and a quick photo session on Monday, so plans were laid.
The BLM site provided some basic info, and I found some GPS tracks online. The kick-off point is about 90 miles east/northeast of Las Vegas, a few miles south of Mesquite, NV, and then a 30+ mile trek into the desert. About 1/3 of the road was a nicely graded road named the Gold Butte Backcountry Byway and the rest was two-track of varying roughness. Not too bad in general, but you’ll spend much more time on these roads than you will on the nicely graded main road. 😉
When I venture out on new two-track roads I generally plan ahead and download the appropriate topo maps. I run MotionX on an old iPad with a Bad Elf GPS. Its been a great solution for these trips. It provides realtime GPS tracking as well as track recording for reference. I also have an APRS feed going from a Yaesu HAM Radio so I can reference those tracks after the trip from APRS.fi. Its a nice redundant solution, and also allows family and friends to see that I’m moving, and not broke/stuck someplace out there.
If you’ve ever heard of “Goblin Valley” in Utah, then “Little Finland” is a similar place, although perhaps not as expansive. There are a lot of small, intricate hoodoos and a myriad of tiny grottos forming in the sandstone. Oh, the sandstone is RED, not pink, or beige, but rusty bloody red. The most notable formation, which I assume is called the Goblin or the Dragon is dynamic and relatively accessible – albeit from one side only – the other side presents an entirely different image. That said, I would recommend a trip in the last half of the year, as the location of the formation and the sun only presented a backlit view – when the sun was even out… Not a bad view, but not the “fiery” image you’ll find online.
You might not think desert camping in January could be cold, and you’d be wrong. It was overcast and grey, and dipped into the low 30’s. Prior to this trip, and in preparation for a future winter trip, I had purchased a Mr. Heater propane heater. Sooooo glad I did that. The first night I set up my basic campsite – OZ Tent, kitchen box and that was about it. It was pretty chilly so I climbed into the tent really early and that was a wrap for the evening. The next day I set up the side panels and front for the OZ Tent. Later that day when the sun went down, I closed up the tent and larger enclosure and fired up the heater. It was toasty and quickly warmed both the expanded enclosure and the tent itself. That and the Goal Zero lanterns kept me in my books and sketchpad till I was really ready to crawl into my sleeping bag and woolen-blanket cocoon.
The days were short and the skies were pretty grey, so most of my shooting was detail oriented plus some fun with a few Lego Adventure photos – which I’ll post in the future. The last evening it began sprinkling right at sunset, so while buttoning things up I kept an eye out and was rewarded with a full rainbow – with a touch of a double – a nice blessing to the trip.
All in all, it was a nice opportunity to escape the world. I finished reading a book titled “Managing Corporate Design – Best Practices for In-House Graphic Design Departments”, read one titled “Essentialism – The Disciplined Pursuit of Less” and cracked the cover on one titled “REWORK”.
Get out there, escape and explore!