Northern Nevada Gem

As we packed our bags, left our cold and rainy town, and headed south, grey skies turned to blue. We had brought enough stuff with us that I’m sure we could have survived 2 weeks, but we knew we wanted everything for our long weekend trip, organic coffee and french press included. An hour later to had hit HWY 93 South on our way to a Northern Nevada gem.

There are people who look at Nevada and think it’s a wasteland. When I look at it, I see beautiful mountains, sagebrush covered hills stretching as far as the eye can see, and mesas formed by water years ago. As we drove south, the sun began to set, light shining dramatically through the fluffy clouds creating, what seemed like, puffs of cotton candy in a sky of blue. Once we saw the sign ‘Welcome to Nevada’ I knew we would be at our destination in a few minutes.

Every year around Halloween two things happen, my husband’s seasonal firefighting job ends meaning he gets to move from the 40’x10’ trailer back into our house. The second event, my husband’s birthday, gives us another reason to celebrate. Last year we took our first trip to Green Bay, WI. This year Jackpot, NV.

The mountain-esque landscape behind our hotel makes for a beautiful view, the cold desert mornings are wonderful hot tub weather, and the stories heard around the blackjack table are hilarious beyond belief. Because of all these reasons, and the hopes for winning it big, we come to Jackpot a couple times a year.

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We arrived Halloween night, dressed and ready to join the chaos. Frankenstein, who we met in the elevator, was joined by waitresses dressed as Harry and Lloyd in their fantastic costumes. My husband scared an old woman with his Germany jacket and matching eastern European mullet, and people looked at me, half expecting me to break into a cheer at any moment. Live music topped off our evening as one to be remembered.

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In the morning, coffee, chia seed and cacao oatmeal fueled us for the hike to Norton Bay. Rain clouds threatened, but never delivered. The cows intently watching as we hiked, as if they had never seen a human. This land seemed untouched, in it’s natural state, and untamed by human development.


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As we played and lost blackjack, we enjoyed every moment of our end-of-season adventure. Each conversation a wonderful reminder of the great people who live in the West. They all traveled to this small gambling town for the same reasons we did, to enjoy the money we worked so hard for and kick back and relax while having some fun.

One couple, from Cambridge, told us about some hot springs near there (Mundo Hotsprings) and another near Burns, Oregon (Crystal Crane Hot Springs). Another woman from Burley told us the parts of Mexico we should visit. The locals know best, and my hope is to use their knowledge on my next visit. One man in the casino asked our dealer if his ‘guys’ had come over to blow his sprinklers out, which they had. How great to know the locals take care of each other just as they do in our small valley.

Although we left with less money than we came with, I would consider this trip a success. Loading up and heading home would be hard, but life beacons.

Until next time, Good luck and goodbye.

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Caitlin Renz

I create healthy recipes, share natural self-care tips, provide mindfulness practices, offer private and group yoga classes, and health and wellness coaching to my amazing community of wellness seekers. I hope you'll join me on this journey to wellness by subscribing below!

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