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From tent to trail:

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K a i b a b L a k e P h ot o s C o u r t e s y o f T h e U . S . F o r e s t S e r v i c e ; Pa h r a n ag at N at i o n a l W i l d l i f e R e f u g e C o u r t e s y o f T h e U . S . F i s h a n d W i l d l i f e S e r v i c e

campgrounds with perks Kaibab Lake Campground Arizona Nobody likes campgrounds so cramped that the neighbor’s snoring ruins a star-filled night’s sleep. One cool thing about Kaibab Lake Campground is the spaciousness of the grounds, allowing ample elbow (knee and ankle) room between you and the next tent over. Another plus is the proximity of Grand Canyon — about an hour’s drive north — minus the touristy crowds of Grand Canyon Village. And even if you don’t feel like trekking North America’s biggest crevice, Kaibab Lake has plenty to keep you busy for a couple days: boating, fishing, interpretive programs in the outdoor amphitheater, and a campground host with firewood, ice, bait and ice cream! — HK In Kaibab National Forest, off Route 64 a couple miles north of Williams, Arizona, 928-635-5600, recreation.gov

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Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge Nevada Pahranagat is a slice of peace a short drive from the bustle of the city. About an hour and a half north of Las Vegas, these 5,000 acres of protected lakes, marshes and meadows are a haven for wildlife and the people who enjoy it — either for watching (birds), catching (fish) or hunting (again, birds). This wetland habitat is a key stop on the north-south Pacific migration flyway, so birds flock there in spring and fall. The campground is free, first-come-first-serve, and on the Upper

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Pahranagat Lake. It’s fairly primitive, with no electrical, water or waste facilities, just pit toilets. A visitors center is under construction now. — HK Just off U.S. 93, the Great Basin Highway, 775-725-3417, fws.gov/refuge/pahranagat

Mesa Verde National Park Colorado You’d think a national park built around the ruins of an ancient civilization would appeal to archaeology buffs only. And you’d be wrong — if you’re thinking about Mesa Verde, anyway. No one can resist the chance to climb a rickety ladder up into a cliff dwelling or down into a kiva, where expert guides bring to life the culture of the Ancestral Puebloans who lived there from A.D. 600 to 1300. Even after you’ve soaked up all the history

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Desert Companion - May 2014  

Your guide to living in southern Nevada