Friday, July 19, 2013

Arc Dome

I've been really focused on mountain biking for a while now.  So focused in fact, that I almost forgot there are other ways in which to interact with the landscape.  A hike was in order.

A couple weeks ago, my girlfriend and I decided we wanted to hike a peak.  We wanted to push our limits, step outside our comfort zones, and get away from everything in the vastness of unending mountain ranges we call Nevada. The middle of Nevada has always interested me, so we decided to venture out to the Arc Dome Wilderness in the Toiyabe Mountain Range about 53 miles north of Tonopah, NV.  Our eyes and minds were set on the tallest peak in the range standing at 11,775 feet, Arc Dome.

The trail head is located 138 miles east of Reno. The remnants of the boom and bust mining operations litter the countryside along the way.  Berlin and Ione are the most notable ghost towns along the way with the towns frozen in time.  Ione claims to have 41 residents still residing there, but we didn't see a soul on our drive through.  After about 100 miles the pavement ends and it's nothing but dirt roads.  Nothing but dirt roads, the occasional herd of antelope, cowboy tending his herd of cattle and desolate Indian reservation.


As we camped the night before, we wondered what the next day's journey had in store for us.  The only thing we could see from our aspen coated home in the foothills were sagebrush coated jagged mountains poking up out of the valley floor from which we drove up.  Lightning flashed silently in the distance as the bats danced above the campfire.  After we had our fill of some cheap red wine we turned in to get an early start on the day.

Starting up through the Aspens

The first few miles of trail weave in and out of old aspen groves.  Graffiti from lonely basque sheepherders, hikers, stoners, kids and anyone willing to put a knife to the tree.  Dates ranging every decade from the 1920's to today were scrawled across tree trunks on the way up.

Basque Tree Carvings

After two miles getting up to the Toiyabe Crest Trail felt good, but we knew we had a trek in front of us.  Arc Dome was still shrouded by a plateau in front of us, but the though of a better view of the valley below pushed us on.

Heading up

After topping out on the Toiyabe Crest Trail and meandering along south towards our destination we fully noticed the stark beauty at which we were looking at.  Nothing but sagebrush and the endless mountain ranges in the distance,  Arc Dome rising out of the plateau  in the distance.

Arc Dome in the Background 

The climb from base of Arc Dome to the peak consists of one mile and a 1,000 feet  up a myriad of switchbacks.  All plant life is left behind at the base.  The only things that have grown on the mountain top are wind shelters crafted by wary travelers who walked the same steps to the top.  I can only imagine what waking up to watch the sunrise from above 11,000 feet would look like.  Unfortunately, for us time was working against us as we did not bring the provisions for an overnight trip.  A summit beer was in order at the top and Britt and I promptly put down our much deserved PBRs.  

View From the Top
Smokey, Windy and Awesome
Summit Brews

All in all, it was an awesome hike.  I know it isn't the craziest, gnarliest or tallest, but it was fun and that is what we were looking for.  The hike did exactly what we were hoping. It put us out in the middle of nowhere and pushed our limits. I look forward to exploring the Toiyabe mountain range in the future.  This trip was somewhat of a recon trip to see how possible it would be to bike pack through the tough  terrain.  I'm kickin around some ideas for my next adventure.  Have fun out there!


No comments:

Post a Comment