Thursday, June 30, 2011

Wendover Air Show 6/25/2011

One of the aerial stunt teams

Last weekend Tara and I spent Saturday at the Wendover Airshow in Utah. The airshow started at 9 am and demomstrations ended at 2:30 pm. This post will show photos from our day in the Utah desert. (Look at my Veteran's Day post for the history of the Wendover Airfield in western Utah).
Two planes from the Heavy Metal Jet Team
F16 landing- part of Hill Airforce Demonstration Team
F16 in the sky
Navy Recon plane
Cool emblem on an F18 Hornet

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

June 17, 2011 Pony Express Trail Western Utah

A map showing the Pony Express route (red) in western Utah. It shows some of the more prominent station in western Utah.
After camping at Utah Lake with my wife Tara for a week; she and I decided to follow the historic Pony Express trail in western Utah. We left Utah lake and drove south on I 15 to east Route 6. Drive on Route 6 through Eureka until you reach 36 north. This road will take you to the Faust pony express station. From here Tara and I drove on the Pony Express into Nevada stopping at each station stop. Remember this is desert country and extremely isolated. Carry a spare and know how to use it. Bring extra water and food dayttime temperatures during the summer can be well into the 100s. DO NOT start this trip without a full tank of gas. An atlas of Utah (I use the Benchmark Maps Atlas) will show the route and all the stations. On this particular day Tara and I were on dirt roads for over five hours. The towns of Callao and Ibapah have few services so plan according.
Short history: The Pony Express was founded by William Russell and William Waddell in 1860 to create faster comunications with the west. In the past it used to take approximately six months for a letter to reach California. The mail service began in St. Joseph, Missouri, and ended in Sacramento, California. The men carried saddlebags of mail on ponies between relay stations. Each pony rode at a full gallop for 10-35 miles. The service opened in April of 1869 with ponies leaving Sacramento and St. Joseph at the same time. First westbound trip 9 days 23 hours; easbound 11 days. At its heighth the service had 100 stations, 80 riders, and 400 to 500 horses. However, the service was never profitable and it ended after 19 months because of the completion of the telegraph. (Thanks to for this information).
An advertisement for the Pony Express and its guarantee of 10 days
An job advertisment in Missouri for prospective riders
Tara at the Faust station commemerative plaque. The first station we visited on the trip.
Looking east on Lookout pass
The monument for the Lookout pass station. Notice the missing station plaque. The station plaques at Rush Valley and Fish Springs stations were also missing.
The beautiful commemeration for Simpson Springs at the southern end of the Dugway Proving Grounds.
The original station cabin with Tara and Nevada
The Riverbed Station to the west
Remains of the Boyd Station near Callao, Utah.
The Canon station west of Callao, Utah. I skipped Willow Springs in Callao for this post becuase it was featured in this blog last June.
Deep Spring Station site in Ibapah, Utah, right on the Nevada border.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Hike in the Goshute Mountains of Nevada June 8, 2011

Looking south from the top

Today, I decided to hike to one of my favorite destinations near West Wendover, Nevada, which is the Goshutes Raptor Migration study site in the Goshutes Mountains. The view from the top is one of the best in eastern Nevada with 11+ mountain ranges visible in a fabulous 360 view. The range is a major flyway for migrating raptors and during the fall Hawkwatch International conducts banding and aerial surveys.

Directions: From West Wendover travel south on 93A approximately 15 miles until you see a NDOT station on the right side of the road (a pair of binocs will also show the turnoff). Follow the main dirt road straight back into the mountains going over small hill. Follow the pair of binocs to the trailhead. The turnoff for Goshute Peak Trailhead is shown in the picture below. From 93 A it is six miles to where the trail starts.

The hike: Overall, the trail is three miles one way and gains 1500 feet in elevation. It starts off on an old two track going into the Goshutes Peak Wilderness Study Area. After a half mile to mile the trail leaves the canyon and climbs steeply by switchbacks to the site. The views are spectacular the whole way. Vegetation consists of Limber pine, Whitebark pine, White pine and maple in the canyons. Keep your eyes out for raptors especially during the fall. On this particulary day Nevada and I chased a storm out of the mountains making for spectacular desert scenes.

The storm over the mountains two miles from the trailhead. As I was leaving and going back to town.
My favorite desert scenes; the clouds of an isolated storm
Looking north from the Hawkwatch site
One my favorite pics of Nevada except for the jeans in the corner of the pic
Another pic of desert country. This time looking southwest.

Needlepoint hike Wendover, Utah June 6, 2011

The view towards West Wendover

Today I decided to hike up a peak in the Leppy Hills called Needle point. It has no snow on it and is close to where I live in West Wendover, Nevada, making it a nice early season hike.
Directions: I started my hike at the Wendover Cemetery near Anna Smith Elementary School. To get to the cemetery take N. Arrien Blvd away from the casinos (main part of West Wendover). The road will gain elevation on its way to the cemetery.
The hike: There is no formal hiking trail up Needlepoint but one can follow dirt roads most of the way up the mountain. I left my car and walked around the outside of the cemetery keeping the mountain on my left. I continued walking through the desert on an ATV road to the north side of the mountain. Here there is a little used dirt road that goes most of the way up the mountain. From its end is about 50-100 feet of skree slope hiking to the top. The trip is no more than two miles one way with moderate elevation gain (600 feet). At the top the wind was blowing extremely hard; making it tough for me to stand up. In fact at one point it blew me over.
Skree slope hiking at the end of the dirt two track
Looking through the "needle point" near the top
The wind kicking up dirt near West Wendover Elementery school