travelogue:

If snow falls in Elko in September, does anyone notice?

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Matt Hufman

There was snow and reduced visibility west of Elko on Sept. 26, 2013, as seen in this picture out the windshield of a passenger van.

For all of you following intently, you’ll forgive the lack of reports yesterday. (In other words: Sorry, mom!) It was a long day but a good one, and we had a chance to experience the flavor of the region.

We spent much of the day touring a mine west of Elko where several people greeted us with a question: “How do you like our weather?”

Answer: “This is September, right?”

We started the day in Elko, met our guide and climbed into a van to drive west on Interstate 80 to the Newmont Mining Corp.’s Leeville mine. When we started, the temperature was in the high 30s and the skies were overcast. About halfway there, we encountered some rain. As we pulled off the freeway, there was more rain and then we saw snow on the hills. (The elevation was under 6,000 feet.) As we closed in on the mine, there was fog. The rain turned to snow flurries.

We thought the weather was wonderful, even if it is still September.

At Leeville, we were taken 2,000 feet underground and talked with miners in the middle of their work. Above ground, we talked with a variety of people and saw mining operations, including a blast in an open pit, and we got to climb on a 21-foot tall Caterpillar dump truck. (Much to our disappointment, they wouldn’t let us drive it. We promised to bring it back … eventually.)

What we didn’t see was gold, and that’s one of the fascinating things about that mine. I’ll post more on that later.

We ended the day with a visit to the famed Star Hotel and Restaurant. People make it a point to stop here for dinner when they come through town, and there’s good reason why. It’s a Basque restaurant and entrées — which are huge — come family style, starting with a pot of soup that came before we ordered. It was followed by salad and then side dishes that included green beans, french fries, garbanzo beans, red beans and spaghetti. And there was plenty of bread. Those who made it through all of that to dessert report it was wonderful.

I’d post a picture of the meal but the last thing the Internet needs is another photo of someone’s dinner.

The next few days will include some meetings and activity with the Nevada Press Association’s annual convention, but we hope to spend some time exploring the area. A reader suggests the Ruby Mountain Hot Air Balloon Festival in Elko this weekend.

As well, tomorrow is the 20th annual National Public Lands day, and there are events around the state to celebrate. Given that much of Nevada is public land (the federal Bureau of Land Management, for example, owns 47.3 million of the state’s 70 million acres), it’s worth noticing. There are a few service projects in the state that can be found here.

If you have thoughts, suggestions or just a good story about Nevada, please send it to us at: finding.nevada@lasvegassun.com.

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