Last week we focused on one of our favorite desert mountains, but it’s such a favorite it warrants another post. Being so remote, we were very surprised to find a “harri mutil” (literally “stone boy” at the top. These rock cairns were built by Basque sheepherders usually to mark range boundaries but also for a variety of other reasons, including just to pass the time. I’m not sure exactly if this rock cairn was a harri mutil, but it sure seemed like it.
While the peak hike was fairly short, about 3 hours total, we have also hiked quite a bit around the base of Elephant Mountain, and once tried for the summit from the much steeper eastern slope, but turned back due to the steepness and the lateness of the day. We had also hiked out to Crowbar Spring that day.
Bald Mountain (9,549 ft.) the high point in the Pine Grove Hills and the high point of Lyon County, Nevada. It is in one of Nevada’s newest Wilderness Areas, the Wovoka Wilderness.
Hiking above the Truckee cliffs on the cliff edge of the Sierra looking at Verdi Peak with the corridor of I-80 between us.
Dogskin Mountain, despite not having the best name in my view, is a fantastic Reno area high desert hike accessed from near the end of the Winnemucca Ranch Road. Winnemucca Ranch Valley lies directly east of the little granite-topped peak and beyond the Virginia Mountains. On the day pictured here Coco and I climbed via McKissick Canyon, just beyond the ranch headquarters. You follow a road up and then a short cross country to the peak. On the way down just followed the ridge line.
We've mostly played out here in the winter. But one word of caution, in the lower canyon we once came across a bobcat trap set nearby the road. So be careful if you’re with furry friends!
There is a fantastic rock garden we visit as often as we can. Recently I’ve been going through old pictures and came across this one from one of our first visits there back in 2005.
The Fort Sage Mountains, and their highest point, Stateline Peak, have intrigued me for a while. Stateline Peak straddles the Nevada/California, and likewise the mountains form a Granite barrier between the northern Sierra front heading toward Susanville and the desert mountains spreading eastward toward Pyramid Lake and the Smoke Creek Desert. Driving north on 395 right before Doyle, California there are good views of the peak, but I climbed from the far side, starting in the Fish Springs Valley. When I made it out this fall, unfortunately, they had burned in the recent wildfire so it was a bit of a different hike, but grass was already growing back there were hints of green and yellow dotting the black. The summit had not burned over and it had snowed the night before, making it the first snow that encountered of the 2017-2018 winter. Hopefully a sign of much more to come!
Last summer we hiked Star Peak, starting from near the ghost town of Star City in the Humboldt Range. On the way down from the peak we stopped at this rushing torrent of Star Creek and soaked our hot feet for a while in the crystal clear water, an absolute pleasure on a hot day after climbing 3,000 feet to the peak!
September 30, 2017 is National Public Lands Day. To celebrate this we are going to share images of public lands from our archives every day in September.
#welovepubliclands #publiclandsproud #publiclandowner #NPLD #basinandrangelandsofseptember
We've updated our Washoe Lake photo album, we finally have some photos of Washoe with actual water in the lake, yay!
We kayaked on the lake over the Forth of July and it was fabulous. We saw so many birds, herons, ibis, pelicans and hawks. If you have a boat I highly recommend taking some time to kayak around Washoe especially the north end.
This Presidents Day weekend (Sunday night-Monday morning, 2016) we went camping at Fort Churchill State Historic Park. Originally, we were going to camp in northwestern Nevada, near the Fox Range, but it turned out we had an early event on Monday evening.and needed to be back in the Reno area by 3:30 pm. So we decided to hunt for options closer to Reno. We thought about camping along the Carson River and the idea of checking out Fort Churchill came up. We weren't really planning at camping at the park, but when we drove through, the campground looked really nice and quiet so we decided to do it.
We were pleasantly surprised by the campground (we tend not to like the crowds and noise that comes with established campgrounds). It was fairly busy, but people were friendly, polite and quiet. The bathrooms were clean and there were a variety of small hikes you could take right from the campground.
We explored the ruins first thing. The old adobe buildings were built in 1860 for the protection of settlers. The adobes were made from material found in the river flood plains and the rocks for the foundations were gathered in the nearby hills. Lumber was hauled in from the sierras and other materials were shipped in from Sang Francisco. The Civil War made the fort an important supply depot for the Nevada Military District and as a base for troops patrolling the overland routes. The fort was named in honor of Sylvester Churchill, the Inspector General of the U.S. Army.. The fort was abandoned in less than a decade and by January 1870 not many people were left. You can find out a lot more about the history of Fort Churchill here: http://parks.nv.gov/parks/fort-churchill-state-historic-park/
After we explored the ruins, we picked out our campsite and took a little walk over to the Carson River. It was a short walk because I was planning on cooking dinner in the Dutch Oven and wanted to get started fairly early. For dinner I did a really simple wild rice, bean and chicken dish, it was simple and tasty. For breakfast, I did a very easy and simple chorizo and egg bake--I'll post that recipe soon,it was soooooo delicious!
We woke up early on Monday morning and ran over to the ruins to get some "golden light" pictures of the ruins. It was a beautiful, springlike morning. We then hiked from the campground east to the Carson River Ranches which is also a part of the Fort Churchill State Historic Park. It was a really nice little hike along the Carson River and it's a nature trail so there are signs along the way explaining about different plants and animals you can find in the area.
It was a really nice and unexpected weekend getaway. I recommend it, especially for folks in the Reno/Carson area that are looking for a close, easy camping spot. A day pass for the park is $7 and it's $10 for camping totaling $17 for one night of camping.. They sell firewood there for $4.00.
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