SIERRA BUTTES (8,587’) 8X, MT. ROSE (10,776’) 13X June 13-14, 2012

In really bad need of reducing my bloated gut, I sought to spend a couple days bagging local peaks. I’d do a trail check for some popular summits, and have my fun doing photos and video. I also received an e-mail message with a supposed big discount at my favorite Reno, Nevada, casino lodging, but the savings was slight. A good excuse anyway for heading up to the Northern Sierra, I’d try to burn some calories and lose some weight.

Because I am now aged and cannot do as much as I used to, I had to be conservative on my peak picks. The peak hikers my age have all given the sport up long ago. I know from my own notes and guide that two prominent Northern Sierra peaks are pretty easy. I did my research for plans and dining, and know from experience what I like, and am safe with.

Wednesday, I got up early and left home to get fuel at 3.899/gal. and then take Interstate 80 east to CA 49. Making a fast food stop in Auburn, CA, I encountered some road work slowdowns and so visited the South Yuba River State Park for some photos. I made another stop along the North Yuba, past Downieville, and then came to Sierra City, CA. Knowing there are no facilities at the Sierra Buttes Summit trailhead, I used the public restroom. At Bassetts, there was more delay for those headed east on CA 49, but I turned north on the Gold Lake Road to get to the road up to the peak hike.

My peaks guide directions needed some slight updating, and I came to the trailhead, pretty much as it was in 2003. A few trucks were parked, and I started up the trail at 11:11 a.m. I summited in 77 minutes in 2003, so I’d see how I did, now. I went slowly, taking plenty of pictures, and took a leisurely pace. I ran into other hikers, and let them by. The trail junctions aren’t signed very well, but I can remember the way.

Soon, I was making the final trail hike to the summit jeep road, then came to a snowbank blocking the way. I easily scrambled a few feet around this, and my ice ax gave me some security against a slight slip on snow. To the summit lookout staircase, I had the place to myself. I had topped out in 1:43, and started with photos and self video. Then, three other hikers came up. I went down and occupied myself with telephoto shots of the other peaks, and someone had left a memorial to some person. Drinking water, I began hiking down, and managed some video as I descended the staircase. Seen to be solid as a rock, it would be terrible if some prankster had loosened screws and caused a collapse, with a deadly fall, then.

Hiking back down the trail, I inadvertently took a dirt track the wrong way, but quickly saw my mistake, and intersected the Pacific Crest Trail which runs along here. It took about five minutes to traverse on this faint trail to the correct route, and then I ran into three backpackers, who I then spoke with. They said to be doing the 2,500 mile backpack from Mexico to Canada, and had made good time through the High Sierra, which this year has little snow. Remarking that most PCT hikers make it this far north in August, they said they were doing about 20 miles a day. Them eating peanut butter and tortillas, I offered a ride into Reno for good eats, but they’d have to find another way back to the trail. On a schedule, they declined. I admired their determination, and we exchanged notes for our respective blogs or websites.

Back to my car by about 3 p.m., I quickly drove off and was back to Highway 49 east. The clouds were forming, and as I drove through the forest, enjoyed the light. I made a quick stop at a vistapoint, with trees mostly blocking the view of the distant Sierra Valley. There was more road work, and I took CA 89 south, then I was zooming east on Interstate 80.

Getting some gloves at the enviro clothing store, I came to my hotel casino, and got a room on the 25th floor. I washed up and went for dinner. Back to my room, I enjoyed magic hour, and then fell asleep.

Thursday, I went for breakfast, then checked out of the hotel. I stopped for a drink and a rest break at a fast food spot, then took NV 431 west and south. Arriving at the Mt. Rose Summit parking lot and trailhead, I packed my gear, applied sunscreen, and started my hike at about 9 a.m.

There were some snow patches on the first two miles, and hikers had made detours in the dirt. I had my ice ax again, and was able to hike the snow on the trail. Coming to Galena Falls, I did my photography, and noted then the many dogs that I was to see this day. Few of them were leashed, and none of them were hostile. Hikers passed me as I took pictures and hiked slowly up, some of them with no packs or anything but T shirt and shorts. I rested at the high saddle with the signs, and then began my final approach. Two backpackers were going to camp on top, and I stopped for some trail video to show the hiking pace that I took.

The air and views were clear, with no fires going in the Sierra. I topped out at about 12:30 p.m., and started with my 360's and telephoto photography. Many hikers had already reached the top and had been going back down. I am so slow! But, I was in no big rush, today! I looked for pictures to snap, and lounged about on top. Chipmunks flitted about, with bugs, but no mosquitoes. I never saw any of those, this trip.

Starting down after an hour, I came upon more hikers, chatting with a few of them. There were more dogs, and I again stopped at Galena Falls. Back to the car at 4:25 p.m., this had taken me about seven and a half hours, total, round trip. The sign suggests 5 hours, at least. I felt O.K., knowing that I had to drive home, and do some webwork. Continuing on NV 431 to Lake Tahoe, I was able to snap some photos of Lake Tahoe on Highway 28. I took CA 267 over Brockway Summit, over one of California’s newest bridges, and home then on Interstate 80, with a last photo stop at Yuba Gap.

Doing then about 16 miles with 3,700 feet of gain, I drove 367 miles. I captured 604 images and movie clips. Spending about $80 cash, half for gas, I charged some $50 for the room, and $30 for my new gloves. Using then about 8 gallons, I had driven a bit of mountain roads.

Fearful of misfortune, this being my 13X for Mt. Rose, my only bad luck was at the casino, losing $10 on two match plays. The food was good, and did I see so many obese people! My big belly shows in my videos, and there’s not much that I can do there, right now. I can only hope for feeling much better, and a big resurgence in my peak climbing, or a big reduction in my eating!