Nevada weekend

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A quick November desert trip to get some sun before winter sets in.

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Tom had his eye on a Nevada extravaganza. With a favorable forecast, it sounded like a good way to end the summer season, so I was in. I drove down on Saturday night and we were off 6am the next morning.

En route, we tagged Salmon Butte. But I didn't even change clothes or put on a pack. Still, gorgeous day with nice views of the Rogerson area.

 

Then we were off to Jackpot. Just south of there, Ciri told us to turn. But the map showed what appeared to be a better road with less dirt mileage..... not. Private property. Back to Ciri's route, then driving a rough dirt road that neither Tom's map nor my GPS could clearly identify. Just follow your nose. As a fence with a gate, we parked and started walking up the road. Nice day, anyway. That's Cactus Pete (or so Dan say) in front of us.

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The named peak on this outing is Tijuana John. It's on the map. And there it is.

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A road (the one we had been driving, if you follow the correct intersections) goes to the saddle between the two peaks. Typical Nevada terrain.

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On top of Tijuana John with Cactus Pete in the background.

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And looking back the other way.

It's weird when the taller, more impressive peak of a set doesn't have an official name.

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We took a shortcut off the top, which included some scenic scrambling.

A short lunch back at the car, then we were off for some more dirt road rambling.

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Our next peak was across the valley. From our parking spot, this is Middle Stack Mountain, with a lower peaklet on either side. We could have driven even higher, but the road was ridiculously steep with no place to turn around. And our legs were working fine.

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After trudging straight up to the ridgetop on the road, we were finally on mellower terrain.

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Looking back across the valley to the peaks of this morning.

Then we slip-slided back down the road to the car, and continued south along Granite Ridge.

We stopped and quickly hiked up another highpoint to tag Pt. 7380, then back in the car.

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There were a couple more highpoints on the ridge that looked really fun, but the sun was going down and we did NOT want to drive the muscular dirt road in the dark.

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Keep on truckin- I'll shoot photos through the windows.

Are you sure this road goes through?

In the worst spots, I was bracing my feet on the floorboard and hanging onto the panic handle. Sorry, no photos.

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With the junction in sight for the real road, we caught a fantastic sunset.

Then a few miles of pavement brought us to Wells, where we had dinner at Belle's Restaurant (not Belle's Ranch, by the way) and spent the night at the Super 8. Sooper.

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The next morning, after breakfast at Belle's, we were off to Spruce Mountain, about 30 miles south. When we got to the turnoff, we realized that the atlas, the trip reports we had printed, and all the maps were no longer where we had left them: on the roof of the car!

So again following a GPS that did not agree with the actual terrain, we wandered our way up past Spruceberg (or whatever it was they called this old ghost town- without the map and trip reports, we weren't sure).

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When the road started switchbacking violently up the hill, we parked at the only flat spot, right between two pits left from old mines. Tom parked while I spotted. Then started up the road.

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This road is really steep. And goes all the way to the summit, with its radio towers and solar panel array.

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The actual highpoint is just past all the buildings.

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Just north of Spruce Mountain, there is another hill. Again we parked well below the end of the road and walked up.

In the background, you can see the switchbacks up Spruce Mountain that we had declined to drive.

You can also see a small portion of the mining that went on here.

Nevada is wide open. And lonely. I love it.

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After visiting the Spruce Mountain area, and without maps to get us through the maze of dirt roads and private property to more peaks on the missing list, we decided to cut our losses and head home, sort of. Tom did have Ellen D on the mind, and he knew where the access road started. So we turned off at Contact and again followed our noses (and the gated roads helped guide us). Here, we have parked the car short of where it would have easily taken us so that I could walk. Tom puts up with this, with a little ribbing.

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Wildlife.

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There's the summit towers.

You'll notice that we followed the ridge instead of walking the road. The road was in the shade. And off the side. Here, we had max views and sunshine.

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Summit.

If you're counting, that's eight peaks. With a long way to get home and the sun approaching the horizon, we bolted back to the car and called it a great weekend.

Before I got home, the sky filled with clouds and it was raining. Back to reality.

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