RATTLESNAKE MOUNTAIN (5,011’) 2X, MT. DAVIDSON (7,864’) 3X December 24-26, 2013

With one of the warmest Christmases forecast, I thought to use the weather to work on my Nevada summits. Doing research on the Net, I determined to do Virginia Peak (8,367’), and Petersen Mountain (7,857’), two easier peaks that I figured would be better adventures. Mt. Davidson would make a third peak, for an almost sure thing.

Up so very early, I had already made my reservations at a low winter rate. I took off at about 7:20 a.m., to head east on Interstate 80. Wondering about breakfast, I chose to stop in Truckee, CA, to walk about the main street, snapping photos, then going for a meal before the parking restrictions start at 10 a.m. They offered a half omlette, so I took that with coffee. I had breakfast at this place about 40 years ago, just before Truckee became a ski town, more so than a railroad town. We were then being introduced to the ways of the backcountry ski club, with dorm lodging, and with others, snow camping.

Motoring along the Interstate, I stopped at the enviro clothing outlet to finally get my shorts in for repair. Charging up over $155 for various items to take on home, I had plenty of time to do my peak, a near drive-up by the Net information. Taking NV 445 north, I stopped for a break, and low cal fries, then motored on, following my directions. Going to about 18 miles north of the Interstate, I found the paved road that turned off to the peak. The facility on top was visible, and I figured that this was in the bag.

Then, as I approached the dirt road to the top, there was a sign for road work. The dirt road began to become muddy. I gamely went on, hoping that it would be better. There was a danger of sliding off the road into a ditch. As the road began to climb into the range, it looked muddy ahead. Too risky for me, I backed up and turned around. Better to be safe, although I’d lose major time getting a tow truck to pull me out if I had continued and been befallen some misfortune. I thought to drive to Pyramid Lake, then figured to head back into town. There is the Huffaker Hills trailhead, so it was decided.

Getting to South McCarran and Longley, I checked the road up to the trailhead for walking when I’d take the buses to get here. It is lightly used, but with no or narrow shoulder. Good enough, for some time in the future. I parked and used the outhouse, with other hikers here. I determined to try Rattlesnake Mountain, across the way. I had counted this peak on a hiking club evening hike, since it has a good urban view. It had been private land for awhile from some ways, but I had heard that they had opened it up to hikers, or planned to. No signs indicated rec development, but there weren’t any no trespassing signs. An opening led through the fence.

I hiked up the dirt road to the top, taking photos, and enjoying the bettering views. This takes only perhaps 20 minutes, and I came to see the light on top of the building at the summit, with the high point behind the structure. I snapped my 360’s, and did my summit twirls, with jets taking off. Other people came on up, and I had thought one guy was to say that hikers aren’t allowed, but he was bagging the top as well. I did video of more jets taking off from the international jetport close by, then started down, doing more video. It was nice for mid-winter.

Taking South Virginia Street north to see what was new, I took some photos, and then came to my hotel/casino. Not too busy, yet. I got my room on the 19th floor, did the video of the view, as the sun set, then fell asleep before I could think to dine.

Christmas morning, I received a gift by e-mail, then thought to return the favor. Inspired in the spirit of the holiday, I made an offer for free gift cards to the first ten responders should anyone be curious enough to click on a link, “Merry Christmas,” on my home page. If anyone was visiting my website and wanted to video chat to get their gift, albeit minor, I’d get some message. It turned out that I didn’t get a single reply. I assume most people visit and don’t want to be known, even for money. Or mostly leave the site on seeing the home page. Appreciating having any visitors, apparently finances or curiosity aren’t in their interests.

Going down to the casino, I enjoyed the Christmas breakfast buffet, taking two plates. I wished to dine further this night, then changed my plans to do Mt. Davidson, today. There is some 1,700 feet of gain, so a fair workout. You can park in Virginia City, and hike up a Jeep road. Motoring off, I took the freeway to the turnoff, and motored up NV 341 to a vista point for photos. Coming to Virginia City, I looked for drink, and a restroom. Most all was closed, but I strolled about the street, taking pictures, and at one bar they said that the dispenser didn’t work. They had the only open restroom, so that made for my use. I bought two cans of soda, and drank them while sitting in my car.

About 10:54 a.m., I started to do the climb. Taylor Street leads up past the hotel, and then to more side streets up the hill. There is a dirt road leading past a residence, with no signs barring access. I began hiking up slowly, and no one came out to challenge me or bother me. Taking pictures of my way up, I started up the Jeep road, with forks to choose from. At one fork, I took a left fork since I saw footprints going that way, but it led to a mine, and then into a trailless gully. I took the steep dirt up and right to another road under some telephone poles, and then to a level spot, where I took a rest.

Not that far from the top, I began to worry about the time. The days are short, and it gets cold at night. I continued up the road, coming to near continuous snow, then headed toward the peak over a sage field, making holes in the powdery snow. Coyote tracks led this way and that way, and I even feared to have to turn back. Soon, though, I came up to the ridge and then the dirt road to the top. It was now fast going. I knew that it doesn’t take that long, so went on, hurrying a bit. With a snow trail to the summit rocks, I topped out at about 2:15 p.m.

Nice enough on top, I started with my camera work, doing the 360 from the top, then went down a bit to the east for the view down to Virginia City. Getting a signal, I let my contact know that I was here, just in case on my descent, I might slip and hit my head on a rock, knocking me unconscious. The low was about 20 degrees in town, though I wore my heavy jacket on the descent, making me perspire. I went back to the summit rocks, and took more photos. Once more, I had a glorious highpointing, solo.

Putting on plenty of warm clothes since I could see the route down was now in shadow, I began down by 3 p.m. Used some care, and soon I was hiking in my tracks through the powder snow. Feeling good and making great time, I enjoyed the soft, loamy feel of the unfrozen dirt on the Jeep road, with some scree. Before I knew it, I was down to the easier road below, and then came to pavement in the town after an hour from the top. Incredible! I did video, and then came to the main street, and back to my car. There was holiday music, but few people about. I soon motored off, with most everything closed.

The sun set behind the Sierra, and I started my video of the drive back to my hotel garage. That went smoothly, all during magic hour, with little traffic on the freeways. Showering back in my room, the hotel was now busy. I made an online reservation for dining, as I wished the holiday best. A five course meal was served, and I was enjoying this, though worried about my diet. Tipping well, I went back to my room, wondering about what to do the next day.

Thursday, I woke up at about 4:30 a.m. I enjoyed the faster connection, having upgraded the speed, and had in-room coffee, then a diet soda from the hallway machine. Not hungry, I did video of the dawn, then gathered together my things, packing my stuff into my car trunk. Going to use the match play coupon, I lost my bet. Checking out, they claimed to a thousand arrivals and departures this night, while I had no wait.

Going to a fast food for drink, I pondered on what to do. Mostly, I have done it all. I’d go home. Got gas, and more drink, then a stop at Yuba Gap for photos. Another couple stops, as I was getting sleepy. Then to Auburn, CA, and to the library for the papers. I wondered about going to nearby Hidden Falls for a short hike, but not feeling that great, I managed to get on home in early afternoon, to start work on my computer.

Hiking then some 4 miles with 2,100 feet of gain, I had driven 399 miles. Spending about 130 cash, and charging 72 for lodging and the 155 for enviro clothing and non-toxic water bottles, that came to 357 dollars total. Capturing then 841 images and movie clips, I used perhaps 12 gallons of fuel.

With zero interest on my holiday gift offer for visitors to my website, it looks not that smart to spend so much on a new super computer, for faster speed for my movie work. I still have no idea if anyone ever looks at any of my movies. Committed for another year on webspace, I need to catch up on my webwork and other computer work, which I had just better spend more time, and not many thousands of dollars. If anyone could do some of my webwork, that’d be worth some money to me, less than for a new, top-of-the-line computer. But as few or none care much about my hikes and climbs, maybe it’d be smarter to lay off any such tech expense, and put money into more travels, and thus my fun and health.