RENO HILL WALKING November 19-20, 2000

Badly in need of exercise, I sought to do some short conditioning hikes about the Truckee Meadows. After a highly disappointing view of low, backcountry snow conditions along Interstate 80, I stopped by the Patagonia Outlet to hike the Tom Cooke Trail and the small hill to the south, all over the Truckee River bridge here. This short, switchbacking trail offers a view of the snowy, northern slopes of the Mt. Rose massif, and the mostly bare slopes of Peavine Peak to the north. In the photo right, the Truckee River flows placidly.

Driving clockwise along McCarran Boulevard, I checked Keystone Canyon and the Evans Creek area for some hiking and pictures. Getting to the big "R" and also "N" have been stated to be good hikes.

After checking into a room at a major downtown casino complex, I motored over to East McCarran and the end of Pembroke Drive, where a sign marks the "Truckee Trail...California Trail." A dirt road leads steeply up into the range here. I was able to get 40 minutes of good, uphill conditioning.

Back to the casino after dusk, I enjoyed a $10 prime rib dinner, and then plenty of entertainment.

The next day, I first checked the summit dirt road, from Stead Boulevard Exit, up Peavine Peak. It appeared that snow would cover the upper portions of this road, judging from the coverage that could be seen. I had done a hike to the top last year at about this time, which was nice, dry, pleasant conditioning, with the local Sierra Club.

Motoring a bit north, I found a dirt summit road to the top of Granite Hills (6,031'). Red Rock Exit off U.S. 395 leads to Wells Fargo Road, then a left on Silver Spur Drive goes to a parking circle in a quiet residential neighborhood. It took me 43 minutes to hike the thousand foot gain to the rocky summit. Powdery snow made for some interest, covering the road at points. The view was nice, with Silver Lake, a watered flat, below to the southeast. The interior ranges were either bare or white, by their elevation.

For more exercise, I motored back to Pembroke Drive where I completed my peak workout attempted the afternoon before. I saw coyotes and wild horses enroute to the local summit (5,980+'). A good view of the Interstate and the snowy ranges to the south were had. Mt. Rose (in the photo left) rose above Rattlesnake Mountain. Peak 5,980+ took me some hour and fifteen minutes to top out, and then about an hour to hike down.

This area was said to be private land, but was not posted. A "Hidden Valley Park" lies to the south a bit. Another peak-bump there, about as high, makes for another good conditioning goal.

After food, drink, and a visit to the local library, I quickly zoomed home. My total stats were, roughly, some 4,000 feet of gain, and fourteen miles hiking.