Nevada Ramble - 2004

ITINERARY

Note: All map references refer to the Nevada Map Atlas, Nevada Department of Transportation, Carson City, NV

June 29 & 30

July 1 (Map 1-3,1-4)

July 2 (Map 1-4)

Donna and I reluctantly left the motel in Jarbidge, ready to see what surprises we'd find, but still a bit cautious about life out in the wild world.  I started off with a few blisters from yesterday's 23 miles.  The blisters on the bottom of both of my little toes had flared up in an awesome way.  I realized that I'd need to start taping more of my toes today, else I'd have blisters on every toe before the end of the first week.

As we continued on our course, we noticed spectauclar thunderheads in the sky.  Then came the lightning and thunder.  Just before the rain started, cowboys and their cows came at us from the opposite direction!  I took a few minutes rest in the Land Rover while they passed by us.  Today's challenges included how to avoid two aggressive Rottweilers living on a ranch just west of the Charleston site.  Donna also used the Land Rover to guard me when a grazing bull took offense at my presence.  "Vegan," I shouted to no avail.  He truly saw me as the enemy.  He outweighs me.  If it weren't for the Land Rover, I'd feel truly threatened in the presence of bulls.

More rain arrived later in the day.  Lots of rain arrived later in the day!  We plodded on, since no lightning accompanied this rain.  Donna found a beautiful campsite, just east of highway 225.  Actual miles covered: 27.  

July 3 (Map 2-4)

The day started out just great--finding elk tracks by the Land Rover at at our campsite, dodging bulls, running past the most beautiful ranch I've ever seen..  Donna pointed out two pronghorns resting "pushme-pullyou" style in a meadow.  We found the highway (finally!) six miles into the run. After a brief stop to repair blisters, we started hauling down the highway.  Then the rain started.  In between rainy periods, Bill Mooney, our friend from Dept. of Transportation found us.  Bill and his family had checked out part of our planned route.  Luckily, Bill found us when he did, else we would have been attempting to pass through gates that couldn't be opened and roads rougher than any human should deal with.  We decided to stay on the highway and called it quits at 4:30 (28  miles).  Minutes before the serious rain and lightning surrounded us, we'd already changed our plans to stay at a motel in Elko that night.  As we rode into Elko, with the storm all around us, I felt pleased with the decision.  I just don't like lightning when I'm in a tent!  

July 4 (Map 3-4)

Donna and I drove north of Elko early in the day to where we'd stopped the night before.  Today was strictly a road running day.  I didn't know what to expect of highway traffic, due to the holiday, so we planned on getting into Elko as quickly as possible.  Ah the beauties of highway running....lots more roadkill compared to our dirt roads.  I also saw a lot of trash by the highway.  A few miles outside of Elko, we found a steep hill to climb.  Once that was summited, it was a fast trip down the hill and into Elko, finishing 32 miles around 3:30 p.m.  

Ah the blisters!  I had to use tape to protect the underside of my arm from chafing.  The feet don't seem to be adapting to the high mileage.  I asked Mom to order another pair of shoes, many sizes too big, just in case I have to run the rest of this trip with my feet entirely swathed in protective wrapping!

Sam, of the Elko Free Press, stopped by the motel and interviewed us as I wrapped new bandages around all of my toes.  Donna ran about a zillion errands for necessary supplies.  Tonight's dinner was a glorious pizza.  At each day's end, there isn't enough time to get ourselves prepared for the next day.  Staying two nights in a row in a motel in Elko proved to be quite the luxury, back to the real Ramble tomorrow!

July 5 (Map 4-4)

Today's plan involved setting off from Elko, heading south.  Earlier that day, Bill and Aline Mooney had driven their horses to a spot south of Elko and were heading north on the route to meet us.  As we left the outskirts of Elko and got on the Stage Line route, we noticed more routes than were shown on the map.  Instinct prevailed.  I truly didn't know if we were on the correct route, and I didn't want to miss Bill and Aline after all the trouble they went through to join us.  Once again, Donna and I met up with cattle on the road.  It gave me great pleasure to yell at them to scare them off the road--as if they really felt any terror in my presence.  Donna and I were using our two-way radios at this point, with Donna maintaining a short lead on me most of the time...in case a bull showed up among the cattle.  A glance at my watch showed me that it was just about time for Bill to meet up with us.  Bother!  Where on earth were we?  I noticed two cowboys at the top of a hill.  --radioed Donna that I'd climb up the hill and ask them if we were on the Harrison Stage Road.  I was at least halfway up the hill when I realized who the "cowboys" were -- Bill and Aline!

Immediately, Bill took charge of today's class.  He directed Donna how far south to drive and wait for us.  I did my best to run with the horses while Bill started pointing out landmarks and the names of all the plants around us.  I first learned the difference between a horse trail and a cow path--the horse trail is wider.  A cow path meanders more.  I'd never noticed the cow paths at the side of the road before Bill pointed them out to me.  The cow path often provided a softer surface than the hard packed dirt on the road.  As Bill and I continued to chat and run, Aline kept up with us.  Her horse had thrown a shoe on the way to meet us, so she took her time, careful to not injure him.

Sam Brown, from the Elko Free Press found Bill and me as we headed for Twin Bridges.  He took several photos to document our journey.  My favorite photo made the cover of the newspaper a few days later--me running toward the Ruby Mountains.  This was only day 5, and already Donna and I were making plans to return to all the places we'd seen.  The Ruby Mountains were often described as quintessential Nevada, a must-see if I could only visit a few places in the state.  The Rubies deserve a Ramble of their own...another year.

Bill proved to be a fantastic teacher.  Usually, when someone points out landmarks, I haven't a clue what they're talking about.  I just nod my head generally in the right direction and say, "oooh" or "ahhh."  Bill didn't quit with the landmark lesson until I confirmed that I was actually looking at the same place he was.  Throughout our run, he showed Ruby Dome several times from our different points of view.  He identified Rabbit Brush and Cheat Grass.  I think I woke up from the fears of running across Nevada that day, now intently aware of all that was out there.  Some of the navigational skills that were second nature to Bill and Aline were taught to me that day and they served me well for the duration of the Ramble.  I hadn't expected to be a student on the Ramble, but this four hour tutoring session proved to be a turning point on the trip.  After we departed, leaving them at Twin Bridges, I started taking note of the different plants and landmarks around me.  Without basic navigational skills, the Ramble could easily have turned into the Nevada Wander.

Hours after leaving Aline, Bill, and the horses, Donna and I stopped for the day just outside of Jiggs.  By this time, I'd noticed a rash on my legs.  As we sat in the Jiggs Bar, sipping our sodas (compliments of prior arrangement of Bill Mooney), I could feel the rash worsening.  What had I put on my legs that caused the rash?  Was it my sunblock?  --the  bug spray?  Had I waited too long to cover my legs in the afternoon sun?  Was this sun poisoning?  In spite of a friendly offer from the owners of the Jiggs Bar to camp on their property, we chose instead to camp along the Harrison Pass, part of the next day's route.  Driving south of Jiggs, we first truly encountered the Mormon Cricket infestation.  Bugs....everywhere...smashed all over the road, leaping into the road.  So many of the critters had been killed on the road that the blacktop had an eerie dark orange tinge to it.  As we traveled up the pass, the road turned black again.  We found a spot high about Mormon Cricket territory for a quiet evening of vegetarian chili with dumplings.  I took a Benadryl, hoping that the rash would soon disappear.  What a day!

July 6 (Map 4-3,4-4)

July 7 (Map 4-3,5-3)

         We continued on the road for several miles, noticing an increase in road traffic--mainly dump trucks.  Eventually, I noticed some mining activity a short distance away.  Donna and I consulted the maps.  We were...."here" and the Pony was...."there."  Oh dear.  We were far far away from where we meant to be.  Suddenly the Ramble didn't seem like a fun idea after all.  Donna consulted the maps and found a dirt road that led through Long Wash and interesected the Pony, east of where we'd wanted to get on the trail, but still part of our original planned route.  Off we went.  Many hours later, we were again on the Pony, heading up the Butte range by the time we called it a day.  The mountains provided incredibly beautiful sights, including a small herd of wild horses in the distance.  We pitched our tents and the canopy in between wind storms and a brief hailstorm.  This had been an exciting day--our navigational intelligences had been put to the test.  Did we prevail?  I didn't care.  We were back on track, camping on The Pony.  After another night of rest, I knew I'd be ready to run the next morning.

July 8 (Map 5-2)

July 9 (Map 6-2,6-1)

July 10 (Map 6-2)

July 11 (Map 6-1,7-1)

July 12 (Map 8-1)

July 13 (Map 9-1)

July 14 (Map 9-1)

July 15 (Map 9-2)

July 16 (Map 10-2)

July 17 (Map 10-1)

July 18 (Map 11-1)

July 19 (Map 11-1,12-1)

July 20 (Map 12-2)

July 21 (Map 13-2)

July 22 (Map 13-2)

July 23 (Map 14-2)

July 24 (Map 14-2)