SHORT INTERSTATE 80 LOOP December 7, 2011

Having a small issue with my car, I sought to give it a little road test. Up really early this Wednesday, I left home by about 5:40 a.m. to head east on Interstate 80. The typical low temperatures in the mountains led me to surmise Galena Falls, elevation 9,000 feet, was frozen. That would make for a nice photo op. It is an easy three mile hike to it in summer, and I imagined that I would be able to snow hike to it. I had asked the rangers for information, and as usual, they didn’t have current trail reports.

Zooming into the foothills, I got gas at 3.439, and drove to make a stop at the Donner Lake vista point. Arriving in Reno, NV, by 8:10 a.m., I had a nice breakfast in my favorite casino complex. Worried about the cold temperatures for my batteries, I wished to wait till it became about freezing. I spent some time walking along South Virginia Street looking for holiday sights. Back to the car, I sidetripped to pick up a calendar from my favorite enviro friendly store, where I didn’t see much to buy at a fantastic low price.

Motoring south to NV 431, I drove up the highway to the Mt. Rose Summit. All of the roads were dry and clear, this day. I parked at the hiker trailhead, and there was no wind at all. The snow on the ground was pretty icy, and I had to be careful where I stepped. I started up the trail, avoiding the ice, and stepping on crunchy snow on which I wouldn’t slip. Seeing the dirt road where I was headed, I figured this was a wash. Too much icy snow. Crampons would be a pain to put on and take off, so I shortly turned back. I had awoken at 1:45 a.m., this morning, so I’d head home, and not risk falling asleep at the wheel.

NV 431 has a nice vista point of Lake Tahoe, and I shot a few photos. Most of the ski areas are closed. Passing through Incline Village, NV, I shortly took CA 267 back to Interstate 80. Not much to see. Using the new rest area at Donner Summit, I stopped at Yuba Gap for photos, then at the Emigrant Gap official vista point for more pictures. We are not getting much early snow, so I figured to do some hiking. In Colfax, I checked for trails to do, but I found little that I’d be interested in. So, I zoomed on home, and had a light organic buffet meal before ending the trip.

Hiking only 1.5 miles with slight gain, I drove 300 miles. I paid out about $65 for everything, capturing some 140 images.

I can only imagine that nobody will come to me for any hiking, the way it’s been, so I plan to do some more road trips as I can get a chance. I have mostly photography in mind, since solo winter peak bagging gets to be a bit hazardous. It’s of some interest that I am able to travel yet, and with one fix to my vehicle, I should be good to go to next summer.