INCANDESCENT ROCKS December 2, 2000
I had long wished to visit this scenic feature, also known as Painted Hills. On my drive up, however, I gained this snowy view of Donner Peak.
The Reno Sierra Club was leading this trip, so we met in Sparks, NV, along Pyramid Way at 9 a.m. Carpooling, and then driving north on NV 445, we took the signed, Grass Valley dirt road and made turns this way and that way until coming to the base of the hills. We parked off a side road in a shallow canyon.
By about 10:15 a.m., our group of 15 or so was hiking up a dirt road toward the colorful band of cliffs and rocks marked as an Area of Critical Environmental Concern on my map. I took plenty of pictures. It was relatively warm, so I had to change out of my heavier clothes, and then hiked in a lightweight polyester top and jeans.
We climbed up a dry gully through the middle of the rock formations, and many sights of unusual geology presented themselves. With the bright sun and blue sky, the red and orange rocks comprised what I thought to be the third best red rock scenery in the State of Nevada, with the big sites around Las Vegas much, much better, of course.
Juniper trees added to the scenery. We topped a hill marked as 1850+ meters on my map. TopoZone says 1870+ meters. I thought to name this "Incandescent Peak," but there were higher hills to the north. Having a rest and lunch, we viewed distant Needle Rock and part of Pyramid Lake. Some snow dusted the higher ranges, with a spot or two on the Lake Range.
We started down to a nearby dirt track, and after awhile, headed cross-country down to our approach road. I thought I saw an arch, but it turned out to be just a wind pocket. We hiked quickly back down the dirt road to our cars, where I arrived back at 3:04 p.m.
We had done some 7 miles and 1,800' gain. I took about two rolls worth of pictures, with splendid, clear views from atop our little peak. This area deserves more protection as well as publicity. From afar, it is easily ignored or missed, but up close, it presents plenty of opportunities for study and physical exercise with pleasant, desert scenery about.
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