Monday, June 18, 2007


This weekend Ken & I headed out into the Toquima Range to hike Mt Jefferson. We spent Thursday night at the Pine Creek Campground (plenty of sites, few people, sites on a creek, and not only was there a toilet, it was pretty clean). On Friday, we hiked in about 3 hours, found a place to camp, dropped our packs, and made our way up to the South Summit of Mt Jefferson (we figure that our total elevation gain for the day was about 4500 feet). Once we got on top of the mountain and found the box with the summit log, we saw this tucked inside:

So, of course, I googled "responsible dirt eating" and found on ABC News that it may be good for pregnant women, and I also gave a quick skim over the wikipedia article on geophagy. I also tried to check the site but came up empty.

Our trip in pictures:

We've decided that, when driving across Nevada, taking Highway 50 is far preferable to driving Interstate 80. However, we've recently discovered that even better than 50 is old Highway 50, now named 722. The few times we've driven it, there's been few people and it's about the same distance to Austin as the new highway.

This is the view along the dirt road that goes the length of Monitor Valley. We stopped at the junction for Moore's Creek so we could stretch our legs and I could take a few pics of the sunset.

Our site at the Pine Creek campground. Even though the site was plenty flat, we slept in the back of the 4Runner (old habits die hard).

This was where we camped, 14 creek crossings (13 of them Pine Creek) up the trail. The spot had a fire pit and several logs to sit on. The aspens provided great shade from the morning sun while still allowing the light to filter through.

The view from Mount Jefferson looking northeast back up Monitor Valley. There is no trail up to the South Summit, but the cross country route was pretty easy to navigate albeit steep.

Sometimes on summits we find summit logs or some kind of notebook that people who have made it to the top can write their name, the date, and a message (if they want to) in. One other guy wrote in the log the same day we did (June 15), but prior to that, the most recent entry was May 25.

On the hike out Saturday morning, I saw this moth lying on the trail. I don't know what kind of moth it is, but it was a very unexpected find.

After we hiked out, we drove to Diana's Punch Bowl on the recommendation of a friend. The waters in the bottom are definitely hot springs, but there isn't a way to get down to them. If I'm not mistaken, the water temp is too hot for people anyway. But it sure is an awesome geological feature. We drove right up to it. I'm rather surprised no one has driven into the caulderon.

After leaving Diana's Punch Bowl, we drove along another road, keeping our eyes peeled for signs of hotsprings. We didn't spot any, so we made our way back up Monitor Valley, across the Toquima Range, and over to K's happiest place on earth: Spencer Hot Springs (I'm beginning to feel like I sound like a broken record about this place).

We had driven by the hotsprings on Thursday night, but all the pools were full. I was bummed, but we continued on to Pine Creek. On the way back, early afternoon on Saturday, I expected the springs to be similarly full. However, there was no one at any of the pools. I was very surprised. There weren't even any campers. Not one to miss an opportunity, Ken and I found a pool that had a good temperature (it was in the 90's outside and we didn't want to boil) and we jumped in. It felt really, really, really good to get the hiking grime off (even though we had only been out for one night).

On our way back to Reno we passed the US Navy Centroid Facility. I have no idea what a centroid facility is, but maybe it has something to do with triangles. It's just another Nevada anomaly.

Although she's fully recovered now, Skeena spent the ride back passed out in the back seat.

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