BRUNSWICK CANYON, AND GRUBB HUT AGAIN February 14-15, 2001
The fine weather made these two activities, with good photography, a pleasant two-day excursion.
Enjoying a snowy drive eastward up Highway 50, I came to the meeting place for the Sierra Club hike just before 10 a.m. Some 15 hikers met to walk along good dirt roads east of Carson City, NV. We could have driven, but we needed the exercise.
Hiking over a small hill, we dropped into Brunswick Canyon. Some rock outcrops made for the only scenic features, aside from the pinyon pines and juniper trees. We topped a small hill with a view to a reservoir below. With signs stating wastewater reclamation and no trespassing, we wondered what this unnamed lake was for. I viewed distant peaks, with the mighty Sierra Nevada to the west. After lunch, everyone was kind enough to pose for a group shot, to hopefully be posted on the GBG website. We headed back on about our same route, getting back to the cars by about 2:50 p.m.
I headed north on U.S. 395 to Reno, to purchase a few items at the Patagonia Outlet. The next day was the start of a big holiday weekend sale, but a 40% discount wasn't enough to steer me from a good early start on a ski tour. I checked into my casino-hotel, had a burger, then read at the main library.
The Great Basin Group, Toiyabe Chapter, Sierra Club, meeting this night, featured the Wild Animal Infirmary of Nevada, which treats injured animals. The head nurse spoke about their situation, not supported by any government funding. They run primarily from donations, with volunteer help. A full-sized golden eagle and a hawk, nursed back to health, were brought out and displayed. These are magnificent animals! They help unfortunate other birds, marmots, coyotes, and mountain lions as well.
Thursday, after a short stroll about Truckee, CA, I came to Boreal Sno-Park by about 10 a.m. Once again, I followed the ski trail to Peter Grubb Hut. Heavy use by hikers, snowshoers, and skiers led to a two foot deep, three foot wide trench. Off the hard packed trail was deep powder. The sun shone brightly, and I came to Castle Pass by about noon. There wasn't much wind, and I followed the trail markers up along the ridge. The wind had created snow patterns along old ski tracks, which I love to photograph.
I then had to break trail, sinking a foot or so, in the recently fallen snow. I chose to make a track to expedite my ski back, with gently graded switchbacks. Coming to the Hut by about 1 p.m., I looked inside, and signed in the register book, with four pages of entries since my last visit. Another tourer and his dog came by, so I left. I am so proud of my own tracks, I should have laid rail in the 1860's.
Clouds were coming in. The light turned flat, which makes it more difficult to "see" the snow. My track made it easier to climb back to the ridge, where three other tourers passed by. I took a forward fall (it was cold), going from windpack to deep powder in an instant.
The trench allowed for some speed reduction with one ski in the powder to the side. I didn't fall again, although I skittered along faster than I would want in the trench, at times. Coming back to the freeway at about 3:20 p.m., I walked back to my car past some overnight tourers preparing for their own backpack trip.
The hike was some 7+ miles, by a GPS unit, and the ski tour entailed 5-6 miles, both round trip. My total gain was some 2,000'.
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