November Nevada

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Tom and I visit some fresh peaks in familiar territory.

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I drove down to Boise on Thursday evening to enjoy Tom and Laurie's hospitality, then Tom and I rolled out at about 6:30 the next morning. We passed through Jackpot, then turned east on a familiar dirt road, one in good condition.

That gave way to a rough, single lane road, mirrors folded in to avoid the 'old-growth' sagebrush.

And then that turned into what one might call a jeep road. High clearance 4WD required, and eventually even a little low range.

But we eventually got to our saddle and were ready for adventure.

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We followed an even-steeper road as it made it's way south along the Knoll Mountain crest. This is looking north at two high points (to be visited later in the day) and also the truck, down there in the saddle.

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And looking farther south to our first objective of the day, on the left.

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Tom nearing our first summit of the trip, with the majority of Knoll lined out behind him to the north. Trailhead

Summit.

Bright sun, but still not too warm.

After some lunch and gawking, it was time to head back to the truck.

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On our way out, we had passed below the first 'peak'. It doesn't have prominence so is not on LOJ, but it is labeled on the map. So we visited it on our way back.

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After we crossed the saddle, it was another steep grind up a hill. Repeat as necessary. This is looking south at our pre-lunch ridge with the truck in the saddle. Evidence of large-machine prospecting all over the place.

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From the top of that one, there's another peak to the north. We discussed the best course of action for a few minutes, then decided to just keep doing what we were already doing: walking the ridge. Trailhead
Looking south into the sun, Tom nearing our last peak on the ridge. Trailhead
Looking back, we could see a faint trail on the hillside. Here it is. It was really cool. It led all the way around the mountain with almost no elevation change. Trailhead
Here's our trail coming into the saddle with the truck. Trailhead

Tom and Ruby almost to the truck.

When we got to the truck, we loaded up and drove back down the jeep road to the valley below.

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Map Trailhead

Then, we turned and went up a different branch of the same road. We did a little more 4WD action, then parked on a ridgetop with Blanchard Peak staring us in the face.

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Another steep hike through sagebrush and rocks brought us to the top of Blanchard with a view to the Granite range, which we had visited in the fall of 2016. The peak slightly in the background on the right is Middle Stack.

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This is looking back at all of this morning's hike across the multiple summits of Knoll Mountain. Trailhead

Ruby and I got to the summit slightly ahead of Tom. I had been admiring the views when I noticed Ruby walking sorta funny (for her, anyway), very slowly and carefully. Then I noticed this little bugger. After testing (doh!) I found them to be very stiff and sharp.

So we descended a bit to get below the cacti area so Ruby could run and play per usual.

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From our vantage point, we watched Tom tag the summit.

Then it was down, down, down. Into the truck and off to Wells, which we reached before dark (bonus!). The Super 8 was adequate, although not really all that super. And I can attest that the chicken chimichanga at Donna's was tasty and as an added bonus, huge.

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Map Trailhead
The next morning we headed south to the Rubies. Again it was very sunny, but the fascinating clouds portended a little something extra.... Trailhead

The trip report Tom had read mentioned 4WD, but it didn't seem particularly emphatic. Well, we did some low-range work again, my gripping the wheel a little too tightly. But we made it almost all the way before I completely chickened out with the excuse that we might not find a place to turn around. Nevertheless, Michael you would have been proud of me.

So this is the southern end of the ridge leading to Green Mountain.

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We had to walk about half a mile before we got to the REALLY gnarly road, one that the report said most 4WD rigs would not be able to handle. Agreed. Trailhead
Hiking up that gnarly road was a lot of work. In places it was so steep that I couldn't get my heels onto the ground. But as we climbed, the views opened up and it was beautiful. Even more so when we go to the saddle and could see to the east. Trailhead
And our ridge got a lot more interesting as well. This is looking north. Summit looking small and inauspicious, barely visible on the right. Trailhead
Aha! That's looking a little more interesting. But note the additional clouds..... Trailhead
We worked our way along the ridge, moving to the west side to avoid the occasional gendarme or patch of stunted aspen. This is one more false summit at close to 10k, with the true summit not far behind. Trailhead
Looking south, so the east side cliffs are on the left. Trailhead
A longer view of the ridge we had been ascending. Note that the top of Pearl Mountain (background) is now in the clouds. Trailhead
Looking north from the summit, this is the Ruby Crest. We had tentatively planned on visiting the first summit north of Green, the one on the right, via the connecting ridge. Trailhead

Summit.

Note the ongoing lowering of the cloud deck. Also note the deformation of Tom's hat, caused by a stiff (and very cold) breeze. At this point, our proposed second peak had been enveloped by clouds that looked like they might also start snowing on US. So we opted to instead head down.

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Tom studied the map for a moment and then suggested we drop down the ridge below and pick up the road, which was down there somewhere, allegedly.

A loop! I'm in.

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We had to do a little dance with the vegetation, including about 30 yards of full-on bushwacking through those stiff little aspens. But it really wasn't bad. And then we were on what is really an ATV track, not a road. Trailhead
But before that, we noted this sign, so backtracked north for 30 yards to read "Ruby Crest Trail". Trailhead
We had about two miles on the somewhat-level ATV track to close our loop, so made the most of it. This picture show why you want to choose your bushwacking carefully. In addition to the previously mentioned shrunken-aspen thickets, there are SEAS of very dense buckbrush. Trailhead

It wasn't a bad walk back to the truck. And the low-range return down the road went off without any incidents.

Now that we knew which peak was Green, we were able to identify it from the valley floor: the slightly rounded peak on the left with the smattering of trees. It's actually about the same height as our unclimbed second peak, the pointy one just right of center.

That was followed by a very pretty drive back to our Super 8 in Wells.

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Map Trailhead
It was our last day, so we chose a target situated along our path home. In this case, Wine Benchmark. We had attempted this one back in the spring of 2016 but were rebuffed by a muddy road. Not today. So after another drive off across the desert, we were ready to hike up to the sunny spot in the left background. Trailhead
Despite the sunshine, the temp was just 15°. Even uphill, puffies on. Trailhead
Yesterday's clouds were gone, revealing Nevada's endless blue skies. Trailhead
Tom checks in from the summit. Trailhead
It was still early, but Tom's back was bothering him. Our next target involved over a mile of sagebrush stumbling each way, and that didn't sound particularly good. But what about this things over there? The one on the right looks higher. Trailhead
Still does. And we thought it looked cool. So here we go. Trailhead
Little bitty truck behind Tom. Trailhead

And one more done.

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Map

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On the way home, we broke up the drive by revisiting Salmon Butte, which is just west of Rogerson. Like the last time I climbed it, I left the camera in the vehicle. Should not do that- it's a pretty area with interesting sights including the dam. I guess I'll have to do it again some time. Soon.  

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