Mount Rose to doorstep backpack

It doesn’t look like we’ll have time to start our backpack of the Tahoe Rim Trail this summer from our doorstep, as cool as that would be. Instead we figure the part of the trip from Mount Rose to our doorstep would make a good warmup weekend trip. It’s been a while since we did any backpacking, so as we stand in the icy wind watching Nancy drive away we hope we haven’t forgotten anything crucial.

Nancy drops us off

The wind stays bitter, but we have enough warmies to hike in and set up camp on the saddle between Mount Rose and Houghton peak. I realize I’ve forgotten my toothbrush. On a slightly more serious note, we have the wrong map. Some of tomorrow’s hike is on the one we brought, but not the most difficult cross-country section. We can bail out at Thomas creek if need be, or rely on Ann’s GPS to continue.

Our campsite beneath Mount Rose

The wind is even colder in the morning, and we wear every layer we have up to the summit of Mount Rose. Our fivefingers shoes are not sufficient for the wind chill, but everything else stays warm.

Ann with moon on Mount Rose

Us on Mount Rose

From the summit we return a ways on the trail, then start north on the ridge to Church peak. It has cool cobblestone spires.

Cobblestone spires

Me on Church peak

The ridge loses elevation after this and wind becomes more tolerable, especially when we reach some tree cover. The traverse to Sunflower mountain is quite nice. Soon after that we reach our map’s edge after Thomas creek. Ahead is a big area, more vast and forested than you imagine looking up from Reno. We decide to use the GPS to get a bearing to Hunter Lake, and I’m confident I can find a route from there to Hunter creek where a familiar trail returns to Reno.

It’s kind of fun descending gently through a few miles of forest with only a vague idea where we’ll end up. We stop for lunch at a creek on the wilderness boundary. Hunter lake turns out be mostly a big green meadow. I haven’t been here before, but I’ve scouted the road lower down on a run. The views of Reno on this road are great.

Ann gazes on Reno from above

After a few miles on the road we go cross country again on a narrow ridge that I’ve looked at from both ends and on the map, but not yet hiked. Thankfully it connects as intended to a final steep descent into Hunter creek canyon. Ann is intrigued by pollen cones on the Ponderosa pines we pass.

Ponderosa pollen cones

Our mapless adventure is a success, and we enjoy a much warmer night of camping.

Cozy Hunter creek camp

The weather remains lovely for our hike out in the morning. We enjoy the flowers on Hunter creek, hit the pavement at the trailhead and beeline for Walden’s coffeeshop for a small grubfest.

Sulfur flower bug

California thistle

Lunch stop

All that’s left is to follow the river trail home. Feet are tired, but it’s great to finish at our doorstep! Hiking between our house and the most prominent local landmark instills a feeling of belonging and familiarity that I think would be hard to come by any other way.

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