PIPER PEAK (9,450') AND MAGRUDER MOUNTAIN (9,046') June 14-15, 1997
The weather forecast didn't look real good. Raining heavily, there maybe was to be a break about where we were going. I drove down U.S. 395, and had stormy conditions all the way. The standard, clearing view from Sherwin Grade vista point was beautiful, but cloudy.
I met the group near Big Pine at 7:30 a.m. Saturday to try and hitch a ride to the first peak, Piper Peak, in the Silver Peak Range. I secured a spot in a high clearance truck, but had to leave my car enroute to the primitive roadhead.
At our parking spot, it was threatening, but not yet raining. We began hiking northerly up sagebrush slopes, then came to snow. Jeep tracks had led up a good distance. A little after noon, I topped out on the clouded summit, with lots of wind. Our group of seven signed in a register, but saw no views from there at all. This is said to be a spectacular area, but we saw little else but nearby pinyons and junipers.
On the hike back, I took some photos of wind-sculpted rocks near the bottom. Our navigation was good. The leader now has published a guidebook, Desert Summits, which describes routes on 300 desert peaks.
Driving back out, I was taken to my car, and we tried to take another dirt road which was found to be too muddy. Because of my only 2WD, low clearance, commuter vehicle, the group wasn't able to drive directly to the town of Silverpeak, NV.
So, instead, we motored on paved road to the tiny town of Dyer, NV, where we had food and drink. The plan had been to also tour Goldfield, NV, but we didn't do that. I have personally been to this other town several times. It was the site of one of the biggest gold strikes in the early 1900's.
I had a burger, which was made of fresh ingredients, and others had drink. The peak and range was still partially obscured due to the clouds.
Going south, again on NV 264, we then headed east on NV 266 to the historic site of Palmetto, NV.
This historic site was mainly comprised of rock ruins, which are quite photogenic with the light we had. Our car camp near here was one I enjoyed, being so far out of the way. A nice sunset was seen. It rained a bit more then, and during the night, too.
The next morning, a little further east on the highway, we pulled off the pavement and parked on a dirt road. This, near Lida Summit, was the start point for hiking Magruder Mountain. We followed dirt roads, then headed cross-country up the gentle terrain. We hiked through pinyon-juniper forests, and gained views just part way up.
After two hours, I witnessed the view south into Death Valley. The wind was chilling, and many donned parkas. We had lunch, and the clouds made for great photos. A summit register provided some reading of who had been here.
While perfect weather is better for hiking, I like inclement conditions for photography. "Storms and Sunsets" was the theme for one slide session I organized for the local chapter while I was the photography section chair, way back in the 80's.
Out of the stronger winds, we headed back down to the north, and stopped to examine some of hundreds of cicadas, with their "chirping" sounds, while mating.
We relaxed when back to the cars, and I soon took off back to U.S. 395. The views of the White Mountains and the High Sierra from the eastern reaches of Highway 168 made a fine afternoon sight.
I camped near Bishop on the way home.
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