Saturday, July 10, 2010

July 9, 2010 Gray Lake East Humboldt Mountains

Above Gray lake with mountain scenery in background

Location: The East Humboldt Mountains are a range in Elko County which run from outside Wells, Nevada, to Secret Pass near the Starr Valley of Nevada. The range is overshadowed by the Ruby Mountains to the west. The main entrance point into the range is Angel Lake. The drive itself to the lake is beautiful and well worth it. The easiest hike is to Smith Lake. I enjoy hiking in them because they are less popular but very dramatic. The range has a number of lakes to hike to and dramatic peaks to climb. The tallest peak is Hole in the Wall (11,306). The vegetation is similar to the Ruby range with Aspen, Limber Pine, and Whitebark Pine as the predominate tree species.
Trail: The trail I hiked today leaves Angel Lake and ends at Gray Lake approximately seven miles into the East Humboldt wilderness. The hike is extremely strenuous with dramatic hill climbs and descents. A hiker will be rewarded with fantastic views of other mountain ranges to the west and north. Remember to carry plenty of water because the sun is intense during the summer. This hike should be tried by anyone who is not in good physical condition.

Beautiful mountain scenery

Picture taken from ridge overlooking Gray Lake

Metropolis, Nevada July 8, 2010

The town school with the East Humboldt Mounains in the background

Todays post will be about Metropolis Nevada, which is a ghost town 24 miles to the north of Wells, Nevada.
History: Metropolis has a colorful history as an agricultural experiment. It began as a joint venture in 1909 between the Pacific Reclamation Company and the Metropolis Improvement Company. To lure Utahns to resettle in Metropolis the companies started a promotional campaign claiming fertile land. It was fraudulant because the area was in the Starr Valley of Utah not Nevada.
Before the Mormon church could encourage people to resettle in the new town a dam on Bishop creek had to be built. This new dam would irrigate crops and provide water for the town. Builders used 6.5 million bricks from the 1906 San Fransisco earthquake. Wet years in 1911 and 1912 also facilitated resettlement. 1912 was the boom year for Metropolis. In town a beautiful hotel and school were built (photos below). A newspaper called the Metropolis Chronicle started publication and a daily railroad service transported people to and from Wells.
The boom did not last long for three reasons. First, Lovelock farmers filed suit about water rights on Bishop Creek. As a result, the resovoir could not fill drastically decreasing the amount of acres that could be irrigated. In 1914 the wet years ended which led to a cricket and jackrabbit infestation devastating crops. Finally, in 1916 a Typhoid epidemic swept through town killing many residents. Overtime, remaining residents left and the iconic school and hotel succumbed to fire and vandalism (information from: Old Heart of Nevada Ghost towns and mining camps of Elko County By: Shawn Hall).

The beautiful school in town

The arch in the front of the school

A ghostly image of the school with the desert in the foreground

July 7, 2010 Ruby Crest Trail Hike

Looking deep into the wilderness from Liberty lake

Location: The Ruby Mountains are a beautiful range in the eastern part of Elko County Nevada. The range is over 80 miles long and 12 miles wide. They are commonly referred to as the "Swiss Alps of Nevada" because of their dramatic terrain and alpine lakes. The Rubys run east-west from the end of East Humboldt Mountains. There are many trailheads in the range even though most of them are hard to find and the roads are unmaintained. The main location for hiking, camping, and exploring is Lamoille Canyon. The canyon is to the south of Elko and easy to find.
The hike: Today's hike was on the Ruby Crest trail which runs from the end of the Lamoile Canyon to Harrison Pass a length of 45 miles. The trail runs through the heart of the Rubys showing much of its dramatic scenery. The major vegetation of the trail is Aspen in the lower elevations and Limber and Whitebark Pine in the upper elevations.

Looking back towards Lomoille Canyon near Liberty Pass

Lamoille lake showing ice and snow in July