Tahoe to Utah, a Spring Trip
Ski season is over in the Tahoe area
The Unofficial Alpine Meadows Ski Report
Produced by Andy Wertheim
Office website: www.tahoeriverfrontrealty.com
Ski season is over in the Tahoe area, at least for the lift served slopes. Squaw Valley closed on Memorial Day with a packed parking area, cool weather, and new snow. The weekend in Tahoe, although I was not present, turned out to be a cloudy, cold, and snowy event. A few inches of snow fell on Sunday, I believe, making skiing the preferred sport for the weekend. Memorial Day weekend often brings cool weather to the area, even though it is supposed to be the beginning of summer. Clear, warmer daytime temperatures are slowly returning to the area. Snow still remains on the upper mountain, but the good earth is slowly taking over below 7000 feet. I walked up to the base of The Wall on the Western States (or Three Bridges Trail) yesterday and found a dry trail with rushing streams filled with cold water. It is now possible to mountain bike up to the top of the wall according to one rider we met along the way. The Five Lakes Trail in Alpine should be passable in a few days, at least up to the wilderness sign. My son reported 10 to 15 foot snow banks along the road at Ebbits Pass south Tahoe. This sounds like good backcountry skiing in the southern Sierra. Mammoth is still open.
In an effort to bring new color to my eyes, warm temperatures, and a totally different environment to explore, a few friends and I took a week trip to Utah for the opportunity to hike and bike. Our trip was pretty much a success and left plenty of good memories to pass along to you. We filled Dave’s Suburban to overflowing with our bike, hike, and some camping gear, and emptied our bank accounts to pay for the gas, before leaving for Zion National Park. We also stuffed a folder with the locations of geocaches that might be at points of interest along the way.
The drive along Highway 50, a road that is not as lonely as it was years ago when it acquired its name “The Loneliest Road in America”, was easy and as enjoyable as it has been in the past. The dessert basins and ranges were green, dotted with cattle, and occasionally painted with scurrying antelope. We stopped to admire the Shoe Tree east of Fallon which is overflowing with hanging pairs of shoes and pulled over at the Middlegate motel and restaurant, also east of Fallon. There was a geocache to be found at this location forcing us to stop at this historic building for the first time on our many road trips across Nevada. This is an old bar and restaurant with lots of old Nevada character. Dollar bills, signed by the donators, cover the dark wood ceiling. I think this may have been a stage coach stop at one time or perhaps a pony express station. Anyway, the owners have been there for over 20 years and the place is a great spot to stop for a snack where you can get the feeling of the old west. Shortly after leaving this watering hole we found the highway covered with Mormon Crickets. The road was literally brown with thousands of crickets moving east through Nevada. This appears to be an annual event with millions of crickets eating their way through Nevada. The area along Highway 50 is one where a smaller hatch of the crickets appeared this year according to an article I just read. A resent study of these large crickets, completed at Kent State University suggests that these animals, that crave protein and salt, may practice cannibalism. They eat crops and or other vegetation on their march across Nevada. The study suggested that the lagging crickets do not find ample protein and salt and thus, end up eating the protein and salt rich crickets that are just in front of them. We crushed a bunch of them with our wide tires, as there was no way to avoid the blanket of Mormon Crickets that covered the highway.
Not far after murdering hundreds of crickets we pulled over to snag a geocache hidden next to an old fence post in beautiful Jakes Valley. It was here that we met the current owner of this hidden ranch who stopped to see what we were doing crawling around the sagebrush. He was intrigued by our use of a GPS to play this treasure hunt game and told us how he recently discovered a use for a GPS on the ranch. He uses his GPS to located noxious weeds that are later sprayed dead by plane in various places within his 250 square mile ranch leased from the BLM. He pointed out the boundaries of his ranch that appeared staggering to me. Farther than the eye could see his cattle grazed with apparent geographical boundaries. The valley, Jake’s Valley, where this ranch is located appears to have been named after Jake Medzgar, a.k.a Dutch Jake who established the ranch in the 1800’s when the Hamilton Mine was first activated not far from this location. You can visit the Hamilton Mine and old town if you are seeking a side trip along your route through Nevada. The ranch was later sold to William C. Moorman who turned it into a successful operation. His wife Pearl operated the local post office that opened in 1898 but has been closed since 1913. The Moorman’s operated a Toll Road leading to the Hamilton Mine that crossed their property in addition to operating the ranch. Not far from this ranch, which is about 30 miles east of Ely, Nevada, is the Illipah reservoir. This is currently a nice recreational site with camping facilities. I have spent the night at this lake on past trips across Nevada that is used as the water source for the ranch.
Our trip continued with a few more stops along the way including a nice evening meal at Penny’s Diner in Milford, Utah before arriving in Zion National Park.