RED LAKE PEAK (10,063’) 8X AND ELLIS PEAK (8,740’) 5X October 20-21, 2013

Wishing to do my annual fall colors trip, and bag some peaks, I decided to do this trip at the last moment. Early Sunday morning, I made an online reservation for a one night stay in Carson City, NV. Not too sure what I’d be doing, I’d decide by checking online information enroute.

Taking U.S. 50 eastbound, I stopped for breakfast and surfed on my device. Taking the Mormon-Emigrant Road at Sly Park Exit, I headed southeastward on my way to CA 88. My usual rest stops were locked, so I had to use a cup. Taking photos at Shot Rock Vistapoint, then at Devils Garden Vistapoint, I was soon snapping photos of the late fall colors. Many of the aspen leaves were gone, and it was definitely past peak. Making another stop at Caples Lake trailhead, I ventured a short way up the Emigrant Lake trail for photos of the reservoir.

Finally coming to Meiss trailhead, I made ready for my hike to the top of Red Lake Peak. Starting my climb a bit past 10:30 a.m., I sought to do a check on my peaks guide. Yes, there seemed to be a more distinct use trail to the top of the first ridge. It looked that the use trail was definitely more obvious. Most hikers would have qualms seeing the sign warning of unexploded ordinance. I had little fear. Hearing that they do sweeps to check for safety, I kept my eyes open, but didn’t see a thing.

Taking the ridge towards the peak, I lost the use trail, and had to wander a bit. Finding it again on the ridge, I shortly enjoyed doing this. Great views already! Starting with self video, I could see the use trail heading for the top. Going slowly and carefully, I did have some doubts, and wondered about just going for the view. Climbing up the first hill, I came to some nice, colorful, lichen clad cliffs. The use trail goes left, and up, and gets more loose and steep. Over a slight rise, I caught sight of another hiker coming down. Glad to run into someone, he was friendly, and we chatted for a bit.

Continuing up for the peak, I shortly came to the slight saddle before the summit crags. It was a slight scramble on class 2 use trail, over to the start of the class 3 scramble. Finding my route, I took plenty of pictures. I climbed up the first gully without too much problem, then rested at the notch, where I left my pack. In the short chimney downclimb, I was soon to the broad ledge, and then on top at 1:42 p.m. Alone, I did my camera work, and there was no register.

Enjoying the view, I shortly decided to leave and go back down. Resting again with my pack at the notch, I saw a pair of boots sitting in the rocks. The downclimb was easy, as I expected, and then, I was shortly hiking back to the south end of the crags. Down the use trail, I took a rest to strip off some layers, and to enjoy the view. I ran into two other hikers who looked unprepared, and I suggested climbing a nearby hill, and then to turn back. Taking my time going down the use trail, it was slow going with the steep, loose, scree. Down to the lower ridge, I had the highway in sight, and the trailhead seen below, so I could now enjoy it. Good photography, and a peak success! I followed various use trails down around the aspen thickets, then shortly came back to the trailhead at 4:22 p.m.

Motoring off eastbound on California 88, I soon set my camera to run video for what fall colors left in Hope Valley. Hardly worth any photo stop. Some of my videos failed to focus sharply. I took pictures of my favorite grove, then motored off toward Nevada. Getting some drink at a store, I was relieved to have done it. There was low light on the Pine Nut Range ahead, and I sure was enjoying this. Getting more food and drink in Minden, NV, I had plenty of time to get to my motel.

Getting my room, I was to occupy my time on my camera memory. Seeking to diet, I didn’t go out for any fine dining or whatever else. Staying up pretty late, I finally got to sleep.

So, Monday the 21st, I was up early. With free Wi-Fi, I was able to get the news, even to make a Net phone call. Going for a hearty omelette breakfast, I sure was enjoying it again. I had some peaks in mind, but wasn’t sure of what I’d be doing. Lingering in town for a while, I was shortly headed out on the road. Filling up with gas at 3.359, I had thoughts of even staying out another night.

Taking 88 south, I set my camera to run video as I motored up toward Picketts Junction. Some good fall color left down here in the canyon. Going to the viewpoint of my favorite grove, I turned back to head north on CA 89. Over Luther Pass, then through South Lake Tahoe, my destination was to Taylor Creek. Taking the Rainbow Trail to video the Kokanee salmon, there weren’t too many fall colors left here, either. The visitor center was closed, although I could use the restroom. The stream profile chamber was also closed.

I set my camera to run video as I continued north to Inspiration Point, where I stopped for more quick photos. Planning now to return home on Interstate 80, I finally decided to climb Ellis Peak, as I wasn’t feeling too hot for more exercise. Stopping in Homewood for food and a final restroom break, I would do this. Taking the road to Barker Pass, I came to the trailhead and found plenty of room to park.

About 1:33 p.m., I started my easy 3 mile hike to the top. Shortly running into small patches of frozen snow on the trail, I didn’t slip, and started with some pictures. Over the first hill, I was then descending, and into magnificent, green mossy, red fir forest. Coming down to a traversing side road and trail signs, I was climbing up the last hill. Two guys and their dogs passed me, and I followed them up the wrong way up a class 2 false summit. Shortly though, I came to the top, with these other people already in the summit rock ring.

Starting with my photos and video, I tried not disturb them as their dogs were disturbing me. They finally left so I could do more camera work in peace. I had had two sodas from the Homewood general store, and they sure made me feel good.

Finally starting down, I did plenty more photos with the magnificent light in the late afternoon. I had hardly ever seen it so clear with such deep blue sky. Not able to resist doing more self video with the sun behind the clouds, it was another peak moment for me. Thinking then of offering a cash prize for the best Nevada Peaks Club summit twirl video in an online contest, I figured as usual, there would be zero interest. Back to my car at about 6 p.m., I used a cup, then motored down the road.

Headed north on CA 89, I stopped in Truckee for a light meal, drink, and rest. I could still head for Reno, NV, and do more peaks tomorrow, but there was a tech event of which I wanted to catch at home. Driving fast, westbound on Interstate 80, I shortly made it back home.

Doing then about 9 miles with 3,200 feet of gain, I had driven 357 miles. Spending some $96 cash, I had charged about 36 for lodging. Using maybe 9 gallons of gas, I captured 999 images and movie clips.

Feeling good and feeling free, I am so game for more peaks. I’ll do some webwork, catching up on the news and my personal life, then it may be shortly out for another peak session. It continually astounds me that no one is interested in what I consider the most glorious things that you can do in life.