Posted by: ryanbailey03 | August 11, 2010

Tahoe Hiking: Mt. Rose Summit

This is one of the more challenging hikes around this area but the views from the top are incredible.  This hike is 10 miles in-and-out and starts at 8,700 feet elevation, in 5 miles you reach the summit which is 10,778 feet.  The first couple of miles are very pleasant with great views of the lake and Mt. Rose ahead.  After you pass Galena Falls continue to the right towards relay peak.  Once you cross Galena Creek the hike begins to get more intense. There are few shaded sections and you really begin to gain elevation, which makes this section a leg burner.  After passing into the signed Mt. Rose wilderness area there is one last right to take towards the summit.  From here it is 1.2 miles to the top.  Relax and take in the views, you’ve earned it. Be sure to bring plenty of drinking water and sunglasses since you reach altitudes of over 10,000 feet.  Once you’re done at the top give your legs a break and enjoy the descent back to the car.

To get to the trailhead from Reno, take 395 to Mt. Rose Hwy. Once you get to the top of Mt. Rose Hwy (past the ski resort) there will be restrooms and a paved parking area on your right. Park here and head out.

Posted by: ryanbailey03 | August 11, 2010

Tahoe Hiking: Skunk Harbor

This is a very nice 3 mile in-and-out hike to the shores of Skunk Harbor at Lake Tahoe. The trailhead for this hike is located 2 miles north of the Highway 50/28 junction. Look for a green gate on the west (lake) side of the road. Watch out for parking in the turnout: the sheriff’s department will ticket you mercilessly even if you obey the “fire access – keep clear” sign. Follow this road down to a fork at about 1 mile. The left fork will continue to Prey Meadows while the right fork continues on to skunk Harbor on the Lake’s shore. There is a house on the shore that was built in 1923 that is a monument of skunk harbor. A plaque explains the origin and preservation of the house, but the true monument is the structure itself. Peek through the windows at the gray interior, and picnic on one of the verandas, enjoying the wonderful views of Tahoe. If you have a dog than bring them along. This hike is fairly shaded and Tahoe is there at the end to cool them down. Have fun.

Posted by: ryanbailey03 | August 10, 2010

Tahoe Hiking: Echo Lakes to Barker Pass

From a personal standpoint this is one of the most beautiful hikes that I’ve done in tahoe.  This hike takes you through the heart of the Desolation Wilderness and offers many lakes along the way including Lower Echo, Upper Echo, Tamarak, Aloha, Heather, Susie, Gilmore, Dicks, Fontanillis, Upper Velma, Middle Velma, and Richardson.  If you like Looking at Dick's Passto swim in mountain lakes than this is a hike you must try.  It also offers breathtaking views from the top of dicks pass (9,380 ft).

This is a challenging hike and offers a variety of trail conditions from granite slabs to packed dirt.  You may want to make a 4 or 5 day trip out of it if you want to take your time and slow the pace down so be sure that you pack in enough food and are equipped with some type of water filtering system.  To get to the trail head you will need to drive south on 395 through carson city to hwy 50 towards South Lake Tahoe, tFontanillis Lakeake Highway 50 to Echo Summit and turn onto Johnson Pass Road. Stay left and the road will lead you to the parking area by Lower Echo Lake.

You will need to have a permit for the Desolation Wilderness. The information is available below the photo.

Posted by: ryanbailey03 | August 9, 2010

Reno Hiking: Thomas Creek Trail

This trail follows the waters of Thomas Creek up a broad canyon to a bench at the head of the canyon where an expansive meadow is bordered by dense stands of pine. When springtime comes to the mountains, visitors to the meadow can enjoy a sea of wildflowers in bloom. While in the fall the canyon is filled with golden colors.  While many people go to summit Mt. Rose on the weekends, those who choose this trail will often be rewarded with peace and quite.

This trail is excellent for mountain biking as well. It is an 8.5 in and out trail where you will gain 2,150 feet in elevation. This will take anywhere between 4 and 5 hours and is of moderate difficulty.  If you have dogs bring them with you since they will be able to access water at the creek for most of the trip.

To get here you will go south on 395, to Mt. Rose hwy (west) turn right on Timberline Dr, go to the end of Timberline and keep driving on the dirt road, cross the creek and turn left. There will be parking available in this area. Enjoy

Posted by: ryanbailey03 | August 6, 2010

Tahoe Hiking: Brockway Summit to Watson Lake

This trail is either a 14 mile in-and-out hike or a 20 mile through hike to Tahoe City.  The trail is newly built and contains both smooth, hard-packed, rocky and technical sections. Two wildflowers are especially abundant in late June and early July: bright red snow plants and yellow mule’s-ears. Watson Lake is shallow, and therefore warms up faster than most lakes, which makes it great for swimming.  This hike is a great overnight hike and you will need to bring enough food for a breakfast, two lunches, and a dinner (for one night, two days).  Also, bring some type of water filter.  Water is usually not available on the trail during the late months of summer so make sure you have enough for the the 7 mile hike in.

This hike is moderately difficult and may take 3 to 5 hours to reach the lake depending on pace.  I have seen families doing this hike with children as young as 7 so bring the kids.  If you bring your dog make sure to pack enough water for them to drink on the first initial 7 mile leg.  Hiking to Watson you gain 2,100 feet in elevation so there are some good uphill portions which will make the hike back a little more forgiving. 

Directions: Take I-80 west to 267 (Northstar exit) drive to the top of Brockway Summit and Park on the right at the trail head and designated parking.  Enjoy

Posted by: ryanbailey03 | August 5, 2010

Reno Hiking: Cross Peak

The Cross Peak Trail is a scenic 2.5-3 mile hike in the mountains behing Caughlin Ranch.  Once you reach the beginning of the trail you will be able to see the top of cross peak which is located on the top a of a mountain appearing to be formed of only rock.  This trail begins on a paved bike path, after a 1/4 mile it will turn into a dirt trail.  As you begin a gradual ascent, you climb into a sierra forrest setting that has been ravaged by fire.  After a mile you come to the backside of cross peak where the trail will break to the right and will begin a steady uphill climb to the top.  At the summit, this peak offers a spectacular view of Reno and Verdi, as well as an iron cross with a box attached containing a notebook where you can write about your experience.  This Cross and box is a memorial to a certain reno family, so I ask that you please be respectful.  The difficulty of this hike would classify as meduim and will take 1-2 hours depending on pace and time spent taking in the views.  This is a great hike for kids and families looking to get out and spend so time together in this beautiful area.  The hike is shaded in areas and you will need to supply your own water.

Directions: From North Reno, Take I-80 west to McCarran Blvd, turn left and go under the freeway, turn  right at the 2nd Caughlin Parkway (up the hill), now it gets tricky because there isn’t a specific trailhead. Continue down Caughlin Parkway, you will go down a large hill, when you get to the bottom of the hill there will be a large strip of asphault on your left where you can park. If you reach Eagle’s Nest (gated neighborhood on left) turn around the trail is about 100-200 yards behind you. Hike south and climb to the top.  Have fun. 

Posted by: ryanbailey03 | July 31, 2010

Reno Hiking: Hunter Creek Waterfall

The Hunter Creek Trail is a beautiful 5.5 mile hike on the outskirts of Reno.  This hike offers a 25-30 foot waterfall, lush meadows, and a forest canopy more reminiscent of a coastal hike than one into the eastern Sierras.  Its a high level of difficulty, with an evelation gain of roughly 900 feet and trail deteriation that can be challenging in sections.  However, the waterfall offers a nice breeze and mist to cool you down once you reach it. 

I would recommend this hike to anyone who wants to experience what this area has to offer.  It takes between 2 and 4 hours depending on your pace.  To get there from downtown take I-80 west and exit at McCarran Blvd, take a left at the light and go under the freeway.  Take a right onto Mayberry next to Roy Gomm Elementary, turn left on Plateu Rd. (Juniper Ridge), take a right on woodchuck, drive to end of wood chuck to find the trailhead.


Posted by: ryanbailey03 | July 28, 2010

The Right Fit: How to properly fit your backpack

Once you are hiking the trails with your pack of gear strapped on your back, you will be glad that you took the time to make sure you had the right fit. Fitting your backpack is a very important step, and it will help make your trip more comfortable, and consequently, more enjoyable.

The steps you take to fit your pack depend on whether you are using an internal or external frame pack. Follow these easy guidelines to ensure the right fit:

1. Before you do anything else, determine your torso length. It is best to get a friend to help with this part. Using a soft tape measure, have your friend measure from the 7th vertebrae (tilt your head down and feel for bump at the bottom of your neck) down along the contour of your spine to the shelf of your hips. Slide your hands along your sides (fingers forward, thumbs behind you) until they hit the top of your hips. There will be an invisible line connecting to the point where your thumbs would meet. This is your finishing point. So you will measure from the base of the neck to this invisible finishing point. Your measurement determines the suspension size you will need. If your torso length is 18″ or smaller, you will need a size small; 18 – 20″ torso length requires a medium; 21″ torso length or larger will need a large.

2. Before you put the pack on, loosen all straps. You have to tighten the straps in a specific order to get a good fit, so if you leave one strap partially tightened, it’ll affect the fit of the other straps.

3. Now load the pack with the gear that you intend to take on your trip. If you fit the pack while it’s empty, you’ll just have to readjust and refit it once you load it with gear. You should avoid using sandbags or weights as a filler when fitting the bag. It’s better to use the actual gear you’ll be hauling so that you can get a realistic idea of the density and volume. After the bag is filled, put it on.

4. Adjust the hipbelt first. Remember, it’s a hipbelt, so it should rest on your hipbone, not your waist. Position it so that your hipbone is centered in the middle of the belt. Then tighten it as much as possible. If the hipbelt bunches when you tighten it, it may be too small.

5. Next, adjust the shoulder straps so they’re at the correct height for your torso length. The straps are designed to wrap over and back down your shoulders by at least 1 ½” to as much as 3″ down the back. The straps need to be snug against your body with no gaps. Shoulder straps should rest comfortably around the crest of your shoulders.
6. Put the pack back on. Retighten the hipbelt. Then tighten the lower shoulder strap webbing. The straps should conform to your body shape. If not, reposition them.

7. Adjust the load lifting straps. They pull the weight towards your shoulders and help keep the load balanced. The load lifting straps should leave the shoulder straps either directly from the top of the shoulder or just slightly forward, toward the collar bone. Ideally, the load lifting straps will form a 45 degree angle with the shoulders and the top of the stays. Pulling on the load lifting straps will pull the load closer to your center of gravity, but it puts a lot of weight onto the shoulders. Loosening the straps will put more weight onto the hips. When hiking, you’ll regularly tighten and loosen these straps to shift the weight around, so make sure you’re familiar with how they work.

8. Tighten the compression straps on the hipbelt. This will prevent swaying.

 Once pack is fitted properly you are ready to begin the trip and will be thankful that you took the time to adjust your pack.

Posted by: ryanbailey03 | July 25, 2010

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