16 Images

Highway 50

Great Basin National Park guide Jenny Hamilton, 25, leads visitors through Lehman Caves. The limestone structures have been forming for tens of millions of years. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Heading west out of Austin, Nev., on Highway 50. In 1986 LIfe magazine proclaimed it “The Loneliest Road in America.” (Annie Wells / LAT)
Utah and Nevada’s Snake Valley, from Great Basin National Park. Highway 50 is out there somewhere. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Lehman Caves, Great Basin National Park. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Spontaneous sculptures appear along the roadside from Baker, Nev., into Great Basin National Park. The “Post” Impression Art movement began in 1997 when Doc Sherman of Baker put a glove on a fence post and proclaimed it the “Permanent Wave Society.” (Annie Wells / LAT)
Sunset on Hwy. 50 from Ely toward Eureka in Nevada’s Newark Valley. The highest point here in the high desert is Connors Pass at 7,733 feet of elevation. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Heading east from Austin, Nev., to Eureka, Nev., on Hwy. 50, Gene Hansel and David Gregory pedal through the Big Smoky Valley with the Toiyabe Mountains in the rear view mirror. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Rhoda Strite offers freshly baked sweet rolls at the Pony Expresso Deli in Eureka, Nev. The restaurant also makes its own sausage, jerky and bread. (Annie Wells / LAT)
A “springer"--someone who locates and partakes of natural hot springs--finds bliss at Spencer’s Hot Springs southeast of Austin, Nev. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Terry Marasco is one of 25 people who live in Baker, Nev., at the base of Great Basin National Park. Marasco, standing in Main Street, owns the Silver Jack Inn , left. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Once a mining boomtown, Austin, Nev., is a scruffy little high-desert town struggling to survive. (Annie Wells / LAT)
The Skillman House is one of 47 stops on the street tour of tiny Eureka, Nev. Once a silver-mining boomtown, Eureka’s population was 9,000 in 1878, 1,600 in 1890 and 500 today. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Whimsical sculptures dot the landscape from Baker, Nev., into Great Basin National Park. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Rush-hour traffic in Eureka, Nev., lasts about two minutes. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Annie Conley, 21, right, and Lynn Lotspeich, 21, decorate the Opera House in Eureka in preparation for Conley’s wedding the next day. (Annie Wells / LAT)
Ely, Nev., is known for outdoor murals created by contemporary artists.Here, Anthony Ithurralde transformed an ancient Richfield gas station into a work of art. (Annie Wells / LAT)