Saturday, September 5, 2015

Boundary Peak!

I had been aiming toward Boundary Peak, the high point of Nevada, for a while now but couldn't figure out how to fit it in and then the weather forecast was crappy during our drive across the Great Basin earlier this summer.  Finally we figured out how to get there, between Primal Quest at Lake Tahoe and our upcoming visit to Yosemite NP.  We found a nice campground at Oh! Ridge near June Lake on the east side of the Sierras, parked the trailer for a couple nights, and took off toward Nevada the next morning.

Of particular note on the drive over: Beautiful scenery around Mono Lake, the forests of Mono Mills, then the most fun whoop-dee-do road we have ever driven - route 120 on the way to Benton.  The sign that says "DIPS" doesn't do it justice.  Like a roller coaster in your car!

The dirt road up to the Queen Mine parking was not as much fun, bumpy and quite rutty.  Tug (the truck) took it in stride but we were glad to have decent clearance (4WD not necessary, at least).  We had the parking lot - the whole mountain actually - to ourselves that morning.  And a lovely morning it was, blue skies and we were almost high enough to escape the forest fire haze that has been hanging around this part of the country.

The truck and the wide open scenery:

The valley we drove up to get here:

I started walking up the hill on the 4WD part of the road while John finished getting ready.  Here's a look at the specks of John and the truck.  Hi John!

The fenced off (although not highly secure) opening to an old mine.  I didn't feel the need to do any extra exploring, even if the partially open door seemed inviting once you got past the barbed wire:

Looks like a nice new register box, with the oldest names in it from only a month ago, glad we waited so we could see this:

Starting up the steep trail from the saddle:

First look at the peak from the trail - good morning!

Silly selfie:

The trail was nice and flat (and even slightly downhill) across the ridge and over to the next saddle.  Then... the view of the trail going straight up the next steep slope:

It was a bit of a haul up a trail of loose sand and rocks, then a brief break to traverse over to the final steep climb:

It wasn't a developed trail, per se, but it was easy to follow previous tracks and cairns, working our way ever upward over loose gravel, big granite rocks, a bit of scree.  Then all of a sudden - the top!

Here's the marker on the stone on the summit:

Looking over at the neat white rock spires nearby:

Admiring our beautiful climbing day, grateful it wasn't even too windy (despite the forecast of a wind advisory):

Summit meditation:

Summit selfie - go team V!

Summit relaxation (or - John can sleep here?  Not so much):

All right already with the picture taking  :)

OK, one more, yoga on the rocks:

We hung out for a while longer than we normally do, soaking in the sun, eating snacks, and checking out all the interesting items in the summit register box:

My favorite. all the way from NYC:

The view over to Montgomery Peak in California (hence the name of this peak):

Wild horses grazing and ignoring hikers:

The hike down was a bit tricky with the steepness and the looseness, but we made it.  I slipped a couple times and scraped up an arm and a leg, geez I should go back to the technical climbs I guess.  It was worth it for highpoint #30 - we made it to 30, yay!

On the way back to the campground we stopped at the south side of Mono Lake to check out the tufa towers.  More neat geology, we love finding things like this:

Always awesome to discover something new (to us), also enjoying the rabbitbrush in bloom:

Walking through the tufa towers.  These were formed by underwater springs when the lake was higher (calcium plus carbonate to make limestone).  The lake is now quite a bit lower but the towers still remain:

Limestone Castle (makes me think of Ireland for some reason, or a structure in the Hudson River):

Neat place to walk around, also of note that the lake is super salty and seems similar to the Great Salt Lake in Utah (complete with brine shrimp):

Not your normal everyday "Adopt-a-Highway" sign:

Next up - our first visit to Yosemite and we're pretty excited!

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