Summer Postcard: Mining for Silver

BATTLE MOUNTAIN, Nev.—"FOG MAY BE ICY," read a warning sign 50 miles outside Reno.

We didn’t have to deal with icy fog. The major peril of the day, however, was the heavy rain, scheming with the forceful crosswind that eternally plagued I-80. We correctly expected hazards along the stretch from Utah’s Bonneville Salt Flats to Lake Tahoe—the entire width of northern Nevada—but wrongly anticipated boredom. We came to appreciate what was supposed to be the tedious day of a long Western road trip.

The state named for snow and nicknamed for silver spans an extensive range of shapes, colors, and weather conditions.

A turquoise river strays through a Martian canyon.

A green field of shrubs, bisected by rusty train tracks, sits atop yellow grass; all lies under coal-black clouds.

A dim, slate silhouette gradually transforms into a five-layer stack of jagged, snow-capped peaks. Every hilltop unveils a new imposing setting.

The towns, crusty earth, dusty campgrounds, and seedy gas station casinos paint a rarely seen caricature of a spartan Americana. It isn’t a nurturing image, yet its ruggedness is largely superficial. There are many cordial people in the restaurants and shops—hidden gems in a dry mine.

Vegas might be the Entertainment Capital of the World, but northern Nevada deserves more credit for its subtle pleasures.

Understandably, much of the scenery isn’t for everyone. But if you don’t like it, simply drive seven more miles.

William S. Flanagan ’20, a Crimson news and arts editor, lives in Eliot House.

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