Monday - Traveling
Thirty-eight members of the Around the Bend Friends hiking club traveled to Elko, Nevada using one of five different routes. The shortest route rounded out at 432 miles traveling up Hwy 93, Hwy 318, Hwy 93, Rt 229 through Secret Pass and, finally, west on I-80. Lamoille Canyon is located approximately 30 miles southeast of Elko where we stayed at the Red Lion Hotel and Casino. (Unless otherwise indicated, photos by Kay Blackwell.) This excursion was skillfully coordinated by Chris and Diane Dempsey.
Tuesday - Ruby Crest Trail to Liberty Lake
The second group of hikers had made it up most of the switchbacks by this time and were taking their break in the shade. After their break, many of them continued on to the overlook and some of them joined us for the trip back down. At this point, hikers from our group were spread out between Liberty Lake and the Dollar Lakes.
Wednesday - Thomas Canyon
We had a better view of the large beaver dam and pond on the way down (seen to the right) and we tucked another five miles and 1300 feet of elevation gain into our pockets.
Sights in Elko, Nevada
We finished the day's hike around 12:30pm so everyone was out and about this afternoon taking in the sights of Elko, Nevada. At the Chamber of Commerce, we learned that Elko produces the most gold in their mining after four other countries in the world. The miners work very hard with a schedule that would challenge just about anyone. They work 3 days of 12 hour shifts, get 1.5 days off, then work 3 nights of 12 hour shifts. To quote the lady there, "There are a lot of 'zombies' running around in Elko!" There is a tour of mines done on Thursdays.
Apparently there is a large emigration of Basque people in the area. Many of the club members got together for a special Basque dinner this evening.
Thursday - Island Lake and Thomas Peak
Five more of the nine switchbacks brought us to Island Lake; an alpine lake that had a small treeless island in the middle of it. It was surrounded by three mountain walls and the openness of Lamoille Canyon.
Anyway, everyone hiked down at their leisure and another five miles was done. We didn't want to leave Lamoille Canyon but we all vowed to return next year.
Paul sitting on the knife edge above Island Lake and Thomas Canyon
California Trail Visitor Center
Eight club members went eleven miles west on I-80 from Elko to find the brand new Visitor Center dedicated to the California Emigrants Trail called the California National Historic Trail Interpretive Center. It is one of the nicest Visitor Centers of the BLM that this writer has seen with many displays and artwork. We attended a small talk on the issue of doctors and medicine on the trail. Many of the displays talked of the hardships that accompanied such an endeavor. It answers many of those nagging questions people have about what it was REALLY like.
Friday - Angel and Smith Lakes
After the short excursion, we headed back to where our cars were parked at the Smith Lake trailhead and up we went.
Maybe next time we'll get a photo of a mountain goat!