What a relief to be on a road again and to make it into Wells, Nevada.
It usually played out well that way. I would hike just enough cross country miles or bad trail miles and then it would be time to enjoy a good dirt road where one would just coast the miles away without having to micro-manage every step you take.
After leaving a motel in Wells the next day I saw the same forest service guy working outside the forest service station. Turns out he is indeed an expert on the condition of trails in the region and Dennis and Kyra (a biologist) offered me some good advice. They seemed excited that somebody was actually using some of their trail system.
The goal now was to walk 213 miles across a vast remote section of land and wilderness to Hammett, Idaho on Interstate 84. Much of this route, except for the Jarbidge Mountains, I would have to take 30 to 40 miles of water with me at near 100 degree temperatures.
Zoner had hitched back to Elko to buy a bicycle at Walmart to bike his way all the way to Stanley, Idaho so that he could explore the hot springs more efficiently. I instead would be walking this entire route. I could tell I was now ahead of Zoner because I could see no sign of bicycle tracks.
One of my intentions for hiking through Nevada was to see an actual ufo. On my hike into the night out of Wells, I saw something that I had never seen before. Groups of lights would flash brightly on and off as if they were giant fireflies communicating with each other. There would be 3 to 6 lights. Then there position would move further away into the mountains from my vantage point. I saw this on and off again flashy dance eight times until they were too far away to see. It was very unusual and quite unique to witness.
Again, I ran into a local rancher who was just tickled to see someone walking this far into the outback.
The Canyon at Mary's River near the official Jarbidge Wilderness was amazing to take in and be part of. The rocks held a certain vitality that uplifted my core spirits. At mile 575 at a trail junction, I spent the night.when suddenly I heard mexican music blasting. Suddenly out of nowhere a south american sheep-herder walked past me with his dog. It must have been odd for him to see me laying there in the dark without a tent right next to a primitive trail. He just smiled and continued on his way.
In the morning i saw him again at his camp just ahead and we waived to each other. This trail after the junction was both easy and hard to follow. The sheep made a good trail but also created a lot of other routes going in other directions. I apparently got off of the official route at one point and used the gps to point me once again on the right track.
These mountains were much more beautiful than i expected them to be.
Again, the higher up I went, the easier it was to follow the trail with a few minor exceptions. It was handy to refer to the smartphone on a couple of occasions.
The southern side of the Jarbidge Mountains was immaculate. I loved the northern side as well, but some of the route had been devastated by more recent fires.
I ended up listening to only half of Dennis's advice about the trails in this region. That turned out to be a mistake. Zoner uses maps from National Geographic and a lot of them are really outdated. I ended up following his route down from near Mary's Peak into the east fork of the jarbidge river trail. This trail was mostly wiped out by fires but was easy to maneuver through in comparison to the northern Ruby Range. His maps have you hugging the river closely, but the newer Caltopo Forest Service maps clearly shows that the trail had been moved up slope at some point. This uncertainly kept me bushwhaking in search of the trail.
Dennis suggests taking the Emerald Basin Trail near Mary's Peak to Emerald Lake. From there continue on down the Cougar Creek Trail until one merges with the East Fork of the Jarbidge River Trail where it is actually kept in good shape by hunters with horses.
The next point of contention is where one meets up with the Three Day Creek Trail. The trail is obviously maintained up this way, whereas I did not even see an existing trail where Zoner wanted me to go. Having just gone through the mess that i did, I certainly was going to listen to Dennis's advice this time around.
If you go this way, there is a great spring right before Dave Creek. From Dave Creek, gather enough water to get yourself to Murphy Hot Springs.
I took dirt road 073 all the way into Idaho. This route to me is much better because it shortens the distance between water sources at the beginning of Idaho and actually takes you into the town of Murphy Hot Spring where you can actually put your hands in some hot water. :)
Coming out of the Jarbidge Wilderness, I came across a hunter who was scoping out the area for a fall hunt. I told him I never actually saw any signs of elk through the entire mountain range. He loved talking with me and gave me a cold pepsi to cool me off.
During the night, a barrage of fancy atv's and dune buggies blew by me at hyper speed apparently on their way to the ghost town of Jarbidge.