MT. ROSE (10,776') 10X, THOMAS CREEK TRAIL June 18, 2003

Buoyed by a good forecast, given the days of thunderheads building up over the Sierra, I took Interstate 80 eastbound. I had sought to stay overnight at a major hotel in Reno, NV, but the room rate was increased slightly upon my delay in making reservations. Too bad!

I took Highway CA 267 over the new highway bridge, and then to Kings Beach, CA. Motoring east along Highway 28, then up NV 431, I stopped for a rest at the Tahoe Meadows Trailhead facilities, then motored to the Mt. Rose and the TRT Trailhead. Starting my climb at about 9:25 a.m., I ran into some small snowbanks lingering on the dirt road. I'd say some 20 small, and easily crossed, snowfields lay across the trail today. There were some muddy or boggy spots, and water was running down parts of the trail. However, maybe 95% of the trail was fine for hiking.

Splattering some mud on my old hiking boots, I kept an eye on the cloud build-up to the east. Soon, the trail begins to ascend the peak proper. I encountered a few hikers on their way down. Maybe smart, considering the possible afternoon lightning hazard.

I made good time to the junction at the high saddle, and rested a bit. I continued up steeper and steeper trail, then began to top out with views to the north. It became windy and chilly, so I donned my pullover.

Reaching the summit at about 12:10 p.m., I began snapping photos of the view. It was hazy in some directions, but I was surprised that the view to Reno was so clear. Another hiker came up, and I took his picture for him.

I thought of things to do. I didn't bother to look for a register. I had materials to place, but I was well aware of the USFS entreaties to "wilderness" up here. I snapped more photos, and then started down at 12:55 p.m.

Plenty more hikers were headed up. I tried to encourage a few, and noted the starting bloom of wildflowers. There were paintbrush, mule ears, western wallflowers, and tiny blue flowers.

I hopped over snowbanks undercut by streams underneath, wary of a sudden collapse. Back to the main dirt road, I came back to my car by 3:11 p.m.

I motored down into town, and took U.S. 395 over to I-80, then picked up some good deals at the Patagonia Outlet. I purchased a small pack, shorts, and cap. The minimal gear, besides canteen, boots and shirt, for a hike on a good day, for just over $35! All high quality.

Taking West McCarran counter-clockwise back to South Virginia, and then onto the freeway, I arrived at the Thomas Creek Trailhead, pursuant to the directions given by the schedule of the Great Basin Group of the Sierra Club. Maybe 20 hikers appeared for this Wednesday evening hike. I left my car at a new gravel parking area, with an outhouse. There was room here for maybe 50 cars.

We gathered to listen to the leader's entreaties, then began up the dirt road. The Nevada Sierra Club is pushing to expand the Mt. Rose Wilderness. New development is encroaching on the mountain, and soon what was once wild land may be under new homes and asphalt.

The Thomas Creek Trail heads up the creek canyon, passing through fine stands of pines and aspens. It must be nice in the Fall! The creek was running well, and we crossed it several times. I lost my balance on a log crossing, and splashed mud on myself.

I snapped photos of the group, trying to not invade anyone's privacy. I planned to e-mail a few photos to the webmaster of the GBG Photos and Links page. This is one site I check almost daily. Some nice views and pictures of the local landscapes are posted, all from GBG activities.

We turned back just after 7 p.m., and the way was now all downhill. They led at a good pace, and I sort of feared for some light rain. It was becoming overcast. Back to the cars, I snapped photos of the alpenglow across the valley, on the far hills. The sunset lit up the western sky. The nicest part of the day!

Ascertaining some of the details for future hikes, I left to head for downtown Reno. I walked about the main casino areas, snapping night photos of the neon.

Then it was time to head home. I had hiked some 15 miles, with 3,400' gain. I spent some $60. A lucky play gave me $2, which was what I had donated into the cigarbox for the hiking fund. My polyester T with jeans suited me fine all day. I put on a pullover for the summit, but otherwise, temps were fine. No mosquitoes, and no ticks.