Juniper Peak P2K

Thu, Sep 12, 2019
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Juniper Peak is the highpoint of the Truckee Mountains of Nevada, located SE of Pyramid Lake and north of Interstate 80. I was on my way home from Colorado and figured I had one more peak I could manage before I was due back in San Jose. I got driving directions off PB, using Dean Gaudet's driving track from the west starting in the Indian town of Nixon. A decent dirt leaves the town and SR447 to head east into Little Valley, about nine miles of mostly flat road that you can drive at good speeds. The road exits the reservation property at an unsigned fence, to the east of which is a patchwork of BLM and private ranch lands. I saw no cattle and no one else the whole time I was out there. Once the base of the mountain is reached, the last 2.6mi of road gets rougher and slower and high-clearance is definitely needed, 4WD helpful. The road goes over the Truckee Range near a wide, low saddle, paralleling a transmission line and buried pipeline. The 2.6mi hike from near this saddle follows the ridgeline to the southeast, up and over a couple of minor points. It would make for a pleasant, scenic hike if there wasn't so many rocks half-buried in the grass that keep one's eyes glued to the ground for every step. The rocks aren't loose, but they can be ankle twisters if you aren't careful. It took me an hour and twenty minutes to cover the distance with somewhere around 2,000ft of gain. The summit has a very tall cairn (expertly constructed with near-vertical sides) where MacLeod & Lilley left a register in 1999. Almost all of the 11 pages of entries were from the usual suspects - P2Ks seem to attract this crowd like flies on .... :-)

The whole hike took 2.5hrs, getting me back to the car not long after 10a and back to the highway around 11a. I would manage to get home easily before dark, which made the wife and daughter happy. After almost four weeks on the road, it kinda made me happy, too. But I suspect it will only be a few days before I start getting the itch again...

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