Monday, January 09, 2017

Hot Springs Trail ~ Part 18 ~ The Diamond Range to Pearl Peak near Harrison Pass


At dusk we found Zoner in his tent smartly avoiding the hundreds of mosquitoes that seemly hatched out of nowhere. There was however, way down in the valley below to the east of us a reservoir of water. Apparently, they were flying up to the ridge-line to find an easy meal and to mate.


The landscape finally became moody and craggy. We had to dump off of the ridge and walk through some dense sagebrush and several large clusters of aspen trees.  It was a lesson in patience and perseverance.


Having finally arrived at West Overland Pass, we descended upon the infamous Pony Express Trail. But before trotting across the Newark Valley, we made a pit-stop at Corta Spring. Unfortunately, this water was only trickling ever so slowly out of the ground. It was a true watering hole. But once again, Zoner had the touch, and had created the perfect reservoir. We very slowly scooped out the water with the big lid from our only Nalgene. It takes a long time to scoop ten liters of water from a lid. :)


Not only was this the Pony Express Trail, we were also on the California Trail where Pioneers such as ourselves crossed the deserts into the beauty of the Unknown.


The Guidebook called for a water alert with a distance of 43 miles between likely sources. Luckily, we enjoyed lots of gushing and running water a mere 27 miles away.


Unfortunately, a few of the water sources were gunked up and fowled by grazing sheep.


After having passed by a super large herd of wild horses, we suddenly herd a dog barking and chasing the horses across the landscape. We were wondering who would have a dog way up here in the middle of nowhere? Well, it was a sheepherders dog... 


Just look at those lakes down there. Now that we were in the southern Ruby Range... these lakes were of course called Ruby Lake in the Ruby Valley. When you looked at it closely, it was a maze of one big lake... it seems like you would need a gps in such a maze as to not get lost while kayaking?


The southern Rubies were easy to make your own way without a trail


But there were still many very steep ups and downs.


Life seems to be one big long roller coaster ride.


We heard a strange noise and looked over the edge and finally found the swarm of sheep.


We could see the sheep herder at his camp nearby tending to his horses. However, his dogs got wind of us and cautiously and a bit aggressively looked us over. Throwing them some imaginary bones to pick at, we released their attention with us and continued on towards Harrison Pass.


At Harrison Pass, Stacey and I were going to hitch into Elko some fifty miles away so that she could catch a train to Wisconsin in a few days.


When we were hiking the Ice Age Trail in 2015, Stacey synchronistically made friends with a group of Amish Women. While we were hiking in California they called her asking if she could be their driver and tourist guide for a road trip through the Rocky Mountains.  She enthusiastically agreed and the rest is Her-story. Now she gets phone calls every few weeks from her newest midwestern soul group friends.


This would be her last night on the Hot Springs Trail until she returned to our route in Northern Idaho some five weeks later.

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