Pyramid Lake is one of the world’s most beautiful desert lakes. Our base camp was located next to the 400 foot rock pyramid that rises out of the lake, along a sweeping sandy beach where beautiful Tufa rock formations add shape and texture to the landscape. It’s a challenge to find an ideal spot that will accommodate 70 – 100 people but we found it on this Paiute Reservation, located 40 miles northeast of Reno, Nevada.
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Pyramid Lake is a remnant of the much larger Great Lahontan Lake that covered much of western Nevada, parts of California, and north into Oregon until 15,000 years ago. Lake Lahontan was 450 ft deep where Pyramid Lake now sits. Looking at the mountains that surround the lake, you can see horizontal lines showing where ancient beaches once stood. Down at your feet you’ll see small white snail shells in the sand, the homes of animals that lived in Lake Lahontan 25,000 years ago. The Paiutes are the First People of this area, with John Fremont being the first European to visit in 1844.
The Lake was once abundant with huge cutthroat trout, the largest on record caught in 1925 by Johnny Skimmerhorn weighing in at 41 pounds. Fished out by the 1940s, the lake has had to be restocked since 1950.
Across from our base camp was Anaho Island, a National Wildlife Refuge and the breeding ground for the largest colony of American White Pelicans. It also serves as a resting spot for other migratory waterfowl.
Adventure Trailers (AT) and Totally Off Road (TOR) arranged for a complete beach clean up on Thursday morning prior to everyone’s arrival. We also set up the amenities, Porto-potties, and Paha Que shower enclosures. It was glamorous work in 90 degree summer temperatures; however, frequent swimming breaks in the lake made it all worthwhile.
By the afternoon, the team from Nth Degree had shown up and as base camp was still quiet, it gave us a chance to go over the runs for Friday, emergency procedures, use of satellite phones, and radio communication. We also managed to relax a bit and catch up on what we’d all been doing over the past several months. By that evening, the camp had started to fill up with Adventure Trailers and rigs pulling in from all over the West.
Camped in the middle of the group was Pete Slingland, a local photographer who had come out to do some time lapse photography. Fortunately, we managed not to disturb his work and his photos came out perfectly.