Friday, May 28, 2010

Toano Mountains Morgan Basin May 26, 2010

At 9:45 on Wednesday morning, I decided to explore deeper into the Toano Mountains. I left West Wendover with my dog Nevada and drove south on Route 93. I drove approximately 15 miles and turned west onto a well-used dirt road heading towards the mountains. The weather was heavily overcast which made for a cool hike in the desert. As a result, I easily made it into an area called Morgan Basin which is about 3.7 miles one way deeper in the Bluebell Wilderness Study Area. With a beautiful 360 degree view, I ate lunch (see above photo). After lunch I explored some more shallow caves and hiked back to my car.
The mountain range is on BLM land and has many off road vehicle roads. As a result, I was hiking on ATV or rough 4 wheel drive roads. People with ATVs could drive deep into the mountains. The area is worth it because of its rocky country and mountain desert vistas.
Nevada on rock outcrop; foothills of Toanos

Nevada on road to Sidehill Spring

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Silver Island Mountains May 22, 2010

After a relative wet winter in the desert, I decided to spend the day exploring the Silver Island Mountains of Western Utah. The mountain range is famous because of its location next to the Bonneville Salt Flats. The salt flats is home to yearly races which feature some of the fastest cars in the world. The mountains themselves have a unique history. Recently, they were home to a significant amount of Tungsten mining. In the 1850s, the area was made famous by the Donnor- Reed Party who traveled through here on the Hastings Cutoff on their way to California. Today, a visitor can see remnants of the wagon tracks in place.
The main route into the area is the Silver Island Mountains Scenic Byway which runs 54 miles through the desert. The road was suitable for my camery; even though, it would be treachorous for any vehicle after it rains. I started off the day looking for a geocache called Surprise Ending up a canyon. I was making good progress but it soon became obvious my tennis shoes were not made for rock climbing. However, I had fun photographing the flowers abd old mining ruins of the area. Afterwards, I drove 15 more miles on the byway exploring caves and photographing flowers in the desert.

Plaque recognizing the Hastings Cutoff

Old Mine Shaft

Looking towards cave entrance

Monday, May 17, 2010

Toano Range Exploration

On May 9, 2010, I drove my Camery South of West Wendover to explore the Toano Range. The Toano Range reaches a height of 7900 feet and it extends North and South of Silverzone Pass in Northeastern Nevada. I left Wendover and drove South approximately 15 miles on 93 South towards Ely. I then turned onto an improved dirth road West towards the range. I drove about 15 miles into the foothills until it became obvious my car would have trouble on the rougher two track. Taking my pack, I traveled cross crountry to log a cache. The country consisted of sagebrush and rugged rocky terrain. Leaving the cache, I hiked back to the ATV track and further into the mountains. Three miles later I decided to play around in some rock formations in the Bluebell Study Area.
Rate Area

-Very good off-road vehicle area

-Study areas have neat areas for exploration

Leppy Hills Geocaching

On May 8, 2010, my fiancee Tara and I left mid morning to find two isolated caches in the Leppy Hills. The Leppy Hills are a range directly to the North of Wendover with a top elevation near 7,000 feet. The area is also a major off road vehicle area in eastern Nevada. We drove on a road that extends over the range to Montello, Nevada. The first cache we located was called Hawk's Rest which was a short mile hike up an ATV track. After logging the cache, we drove further up the canyon until the road became to rough for a two wheel drive car. From the car to the cache (McAndrew Big and Tasty) was 1 mile. Not a long distance but some beautiful desert country.