Summer 2009 Nevada Trek

††††† This was my third time to walk across beautiful, wild Nevada.Last time was in 1995 when I did a 400-mile walk through 4 different mountain ranges in central Nevada. Before that it was part of a 1700-mile trek back in 1986 as I thru-hiked from the Grand Canyon back to my home in Montana. On that journey I walked up the eastern side of Nevada, across Idaho, and back to Big Sky where I was living at the time.On that trip I did a wonderful high-route through a portion of the Schell Creek Range.I loved it! Often Iíd be above 10,000 feet with bristlecone and limber pines, and none-stop views. It was incredible. But it was also in May so the presence of snow made it difficult.Iíve always wanted to go back and hike the length of the entire range. This summer I did just that.

††††††† I started on the north end of the Schell Creek Range and walked it all the way south to Patterson Pass. Then I cut over through the Egan Range, crossed the desert White River Valley up into the Horse Range, and then walked north through the White Pine Range and into the Ruby Mountains and the East Humboldt Range.

Trek Stats:††† 33 days on the trail --- twenty of those days I never saw a soul.††

††††††††††††††††††† There was no trail at all for 110 miles (mostly as I walked the ridge tops)

††††††††††††††††††† Shortest Day: 3 miles

††††††††††††††††††† Longest Day: 33 miles

††††††††††††††††††† I completed 3 new songs, and started two others.

††††††††††††††††††† 8 food caches that I put out ahead of time

††††††††††††††††††† 1 food cache broken into (by people)

††††††††††††††††††† No town stops (unless you count the ghost town of Hamilton)†

†††††††††††††††††††† The entire trip was 515 miles†† † † † † † † † † † ††

††††††† I know most people think of Nevada as a desert wasteland. And I guess thatís why the wild places there are anything but crowded. But many of the mountain ranges have lush stands of aspens, trout streams, and wonderful alpine country. I wish I could send you all the scent of sage, juniper, and mountain mahogany.Sometimes I'd just stop in mid-stride and just soak it all in.These are special places. And it is big country. Vast country . I'd often feel like an ant crossing a vast universe as I trekked across a big desert valley, or watched the sun set slowly into rosy clouds over a skyline as wide as the world.Unfortunately, several times I got to springs I was counting on for water and found them bone dry, forcing me to march on. That's how I got my longest days of the trip. And some of the high routes were pretty challenging for these ol' legs of mine, but after I did them I was very proud of myself.I saw lots of deer and elk, coyotes, mountain goats, wild horses (though beautiful, theyíre incredibly destructive on the native habitat and springs), and many birds of prey.Pikas were conspicuously missing from some of the ranges (their populations are plummeting due to climate change) so I was delighted when I started seeing them the last couple weeks in the Ruby Mountains.†† All in all it was a great journey. I feel so blessed (and ever so grateful) that Iím able to visit places like this.

One of my favorite evenings of the entire trip was just north of Grafton Peak, camped beneath these rocky knobs.
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