An occasional journal of the Life of Reilly

Thursday, June 15, 2006

"NEVADA IS NOT A WASTELAND"


Note – We summited Arc Dome on June 11, 2006 -- DR

The title is from a bumper sticker seen in Carson City. Those travelers who judge the State by what they see in Las Vegas might be justified. But we are here in the center of the Basin and Range, and it is glorious. Our goal was to climb Arc Dome in the Humboldt-Toiyabe National Forest, a peak with an elevation of 11,773 feet. Because of its remoteness, this area gets very few visitors. We camped at one of the trailheads accessing the wilderness area surrounding the peak in a Forest Service campground with only five sites, nestled in the quaking aspen trees next to a rushing stream of icy snowmelt. We were the only ones camped there for the three days we stayed.

There is actually a hiking route called the Toiyabe Crest Trail that follows the Toiyabe Mountains ridge for approximately 50 miles and then circles around Arc Dome. We took the route, however, that went directly to the peak. These are desert mountains, so once we left the aspen-lined stream channel, the vegetation was sparse – sagebrush at the lower elevations and mountain mahogany and limber pine higher up with an alpine ground cover of tiny wildflowers above all else. Trees were sparse, and near the ridges they were permanently bent over from the prevailing west winds. Some snow was still around in scattered patches.

The hike was about 15 miles round trip, on a trail in good condition but uncompromisingly steep. The zephyr winds picked up in the afternoon, but otherwise we had clear and spectacular weather. We could see at least a hundred miles in all directions from the peak – off to the west the snow-capped outline of the Sierra Nevada could be discerned. A nice stone wall on the peak protected us long enough to eat lunch and peruse the register. Previous summiteers wrote about hordes of persistent and voracious flies, which seemed to be present later in the season, and fortunately we did not experience.

This area sees very few visitors – there were only two entries in the register so far this year. We did talk to one person at the trailhead – his license plate was “ARCDOME” – who said people think Nevada is just a dry desert, while making the motion of a raised forefinger to his lips, like this is our little secret. Well, we know otherwise, and now you do, too.
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3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Doris and John,

I had no idea there was a 17,000+ foot peak in the lower 48! Congratulations on finding it and climbing it. Ha-Ha

I'm taking notes on where I want to go someday.

Roy

Doris said...

Roy -- you always were a good proofreader. The post has been changed accordingly -- I am still getting used to the touchpad on this computer, but I guess i don't have an excuse for the keyboard!

Doris said...
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