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Having spent the week between two volleyball tournaments driving from one site to the other through the west side of Nevada, I had arrived in Reno to meet up with my family on Thursday night. Where the previous weekend had been plagued with high temperatures, the weather had gradually cooled as I drove north with a weak storm system bringing snow to the Sierra and the higher summits surrounding Reno. I'd spent most of Friday at the estrogen-charged Convention Center watching 16yr-olds playing volleyball at a level far higher than I ever managed. My wife was there as an official, spending some 12hrs officiating at one of 80-something courts, while my daughter was there to play middle blocker for her club team. My contribution was to cheer on my daughter's team, consoling her when they lost, soaking in her excitement when they won, analyzing the game, officials' calls and other important aspects with the other parents, and generally spending a lot of time sitting on my butt. So when the team finished up in the early afternoon and were packed off to their hotel, I was left with the rest of the day to do some hiking.
Having made tentative arrangements some weeks earlier, I had emailed Pete early in the day to let him know approximately when I would be available in the afternoon. I had caught him somewhat unawares as he wasn't expecting me until the following day. There was communication back and forth regarding the weather and its dour outlook, Pete's busy schedule and various other things that might make our getting together difficult, but in the end it was arranged that we could meet in Sun Valley at the corner of Chocolate and 2nd at 4pm. With an extra hour to kill before that time, I headed first to nearby Golden Valley to tag an unnamed summit overlooking the community of the same name.
Sun Valley Regional Park is found on the SW side of the peak, accessed from Sun Valley off Sidehill Dr. This is probably the more aesthetic way to climb the mountain, open to hiking, biking and OHV users alike, but it wasn't until later that I learned of the park's existence. Instead I picked a shorter approach from Golden Valley to the west. Starting just north of a quarry on the east end of the valley at the end of paved Wigwam Way, the hike follows an OHV track for about 3/4mi, climbing about 500ft. There are two summits, both of which offer views. The spot elevation shown on the map is for the lower east summit, but the slightly higher summit is to the west. In addition to views of the surrounding communities, there is a good view to the south of Red Hill, where I would head next. I spent about half an hour getting to the summit and back at a brisk pace.
It was a few minutes before 4p when I found my way to our meeting place (Chocolate Dr. is a potholed dirt road and not the best way to get there. 2nd St. coming from Sun Valley Blvd is paved). Pete was there waiting in his car. It was quite windy and cold, but there was some partial sunshine and best of all, it wasn't raining. His demeanor was much more positive than his emails had suggested and it looked like he was happy for the chance to get outside for a hike. We took a fairly direct route to the summit of Red Hill, up a steep OHV track on the east side. Like Golden Valley Peak (a name I bestowed myself, btw), it is part of a group of low hills dividing Golden Valley from Sun Valley a few miles north of Reno. It's summits are home to several cell towers and other communications installations of modern construction. We talked about a number of things during the hike, Pete propounding on the positive and negative aspects of moving to, and living in Reno. Much of this I missed due of his soft-spoken words being drowned out by the strong wind. These rather mean winds were one of the negative aspects that Pete had come to find annoyingly constant over the past several months. We talked of global warming, pee bottles, electric cars and the nefarious Sierra Club over the course of our hike that took in the higher east summit, its lower cousin to the west, and then a more leisurely descent to the south and east on a service road before circling back to our cars. In all we spent about an hour and a half covering something over three miles.
Afterwards we drove over to Lemmon Valley for some apre-hike chat at the McDonalds there. I was amused by Pete's pre-meal photography ritual wherein he captured all the colors and textures of a Hot-n-Spicy McChicken sandwich. These he makes available on his Facebook pages which I've never seen since I continue to boycott Facebook. But for those uninhibited by Facebook's ubiquitousness, these and other tasty images are available on his site. One of the common themes to our discussions is the availability of partners. Pete is of the opinion that no one goes peakbagging anymore because he gets no takers on his generous offers. My own experience is that there are thousands of peakbaggers out there, several hundred of which I've climbed and hiked with over the years. I suggested that it is a trust issue - Pete has demanding provisions that must be met (such as the initial video chat) that most folks don't want to be bothered with. Pete counters that he has been burned countless times in the past and is only doing so to protect himself. And so it goes. We ended the day making tentative plans for another hike the following day, depending on the weather. One thing both of us agreed on - hiking in the rain isn't much fun.
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Golden Valley Peak
This page last updated: Tue Jun 23 22:37:52 2015
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