I trudged away from the Subaru, giving one final wave to Dad as he departed. We shared a wonderful experience together these last weeks, although we could perhaps have chosen a less crappy venue. Sorry Nevada's waste lands, but I won't miss you like you miss the rain.
Happily my solo act will include the highlight of the state, Lake Tahoe. First off, I have to close out a few miles in between. Our farewell had taken place in Gold Hill, from which I took a series of dirt roads used by miners and TV repairmen. Maybe not your conventional flat screen fixers; the path led me to the towers and transmitters at the highest point between Carson City and Reno. I welcomed back the pack's crushing weight as I panted up the huge incline. The reward was an eye-popping vista of the two cities, Washoe Lake, and seemingly everything within thirty miles.
|Carson City below, target practice in the foreground|
I was met on the way down by Ted, Nevada's ADT coordinator. He has been one of the more effective state administrators, coming to me well-recommended by previous hikers. The man rode his bike up a mountain just to check one me. I'd say he is as good as advertised.
Ted's son Trevor has also worked hard to promte the ADT through his expedition company. He also competes at the expert level in mountain bike races and recently rode the ADT through Nevada in a record five days!
The senior Oxborrow walked his bicycle next to me for a while as we talked of adventures on the ADT and other topics. He enlightened me regarding the wild horses Dad and I have been regularly seeing the past few days. Their numbers are composed of two separate groups, mustangs and strays. The mustangs have a distinct Andalucian bloodline, descendents of horses on a Spanish galleon which ran aground, losing the animals. The strays are simply escapees from ranches or were abandoned by owners who could no longer care for them. Both herds have become overpopulated and a debate rages over what should be done. Methods of disposal and which horses should be destroyed are in dispute. The problem festers, unresolved.
Ted departed for a meeting in Sacramento and I entered Carson City. The once tiny capital of Nevada has grown to a population over 50,000. Kit Carson was the rugged mountain man who kept John Fremont from getting lost during their expeditions in the west. For that (and for other awesome stuff I'll write about when I have a chance to do a modicum of research) he was honored with one of the fifty capitals you were forced to learn in school. If you said Las Vegas you earned that "F" in geography.
I ramble with my mouth as well as my feet, which took me out of town at the campus of Western Nevada. I ambled into Ash Canyon, using the last bit of willpower to secure a secluded spot beyond the treeline. In this case I mean the line past which trees actually start to exist. I stand now at the gates of the Sierra Nevada, Lake Tahoe somewhere above.
16 miles/3761 total miles