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The Toiyabes

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  • The Toiyabes

    The Toiyabes run along the spine of Nevada, where the ranges parallel each other like some really big corduroy. Basin and range, basin and range. The basins are dry and desolate, have some of the best sunsets you will see anywhere, and always provide an awesome sense of space. The ranges are partly forested, partly alpine, windswept and desolate. It is beautiful country that sees very little use, and where maps are occasionally wrong.

    There is awesome ski touring and descents in these ranges, but that's a different season.

    Arc Dome, the highest point on the Toiyabe range at over 11,000 feet, is sheltered by neighboring crests and peaks, though it stands alone. It has been and remains an elusive goal....

    These shots show part of the long approach on gravel roads. We passed one car in travelling 50 miles. On the way out, we took the road that you can see crossing the Shoshone Range and then up to Eastgate, judging intersections based on the compass and other indications, and passed no one. You wish you had a second car, travelling in a caravan, cause it is a long, long walk to help. Columbine campground is at the bottom of the valley, nestled in the aspens along as charming a creek as you will find anywhere. Here the streams get bigger as you enter the mountains.


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    The range is complex geologically, with volcanic, sedimentary and metamorphic rocks. As we hike towards the crest and the TCT (not to be confused with the PCT), this sure looks volcanic in origin.

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    The Toiyabe Crest Trail runs along the spine of Nevada for about 50 miles. In two days of hiking, we saw no one else on the trail. This was a weekend in July. Pines and junipers grow stunted due to the constant winds, like bonsai. Arc Dome finally appears.

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    Past glaciers created dramatic cirques dropping from the range.

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    To the south, a large remote Wilderness along the upper Reese River. A place for wandering.

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    In the aspens, the temperatures are mild, the water is refreshing. But watch out for hordes of moths.

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    Finally I reached the last saddle before Arc Dome. The route was clear, but the time was late, time to turn around. I guess I'll need to go back.

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    Last edited by Baaahb; 9 July 2014, 09:35 AM.

  • #2
    The TCT and Arc Dome was a great trip that I did in 2012. There's a well developed trail to the top of the dome. Water is scarce along the TCT until you get to the Reese River. The only sign of humanity we saw was a Navy helicopter that flew over us close to the Reese River.
    Tell me where you are skiing and what the conditions are: http://mountainhub.com/
    Ski with me: https://www.meetup.com/Sierra-Club-Hiking-Reno/
    Stalk me: https://www.facebook.com/danomike

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    • #3
      100 miles to the south, the White Mountains and Boundary Peak. To the right of them, further away, is the High Sierra around Yosemite NP.

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      A nice shot along the trail.

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      Wilderness.

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      Heading back to camp.

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      Last edited by Baaahb; 9 July 2014, 10:43 AM.

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      • #4
        Nice! was doing some research last fall on this trail, not a ton of info out there but something I'd like to check out. Did you travel the entire 50 miles? and if so was it pretty well defined for you?

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        • #5
          Very nice! I spent a certain amount of time flying all over Nevada for wildfires and was totally intrigued by flying over the high ranges. So many, so pretty, and so remote and unvisited.
          backcountry in northern New Mexico

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          • #6
            Originally posted by tahoebc View Post
            so was it pretty well defined for you?
            We only day-hiked from Columbine cg (from which there are two routes towards Arc Dome). The trails were very distinct and easy to follow, though not well-marked. Among other things, there seems to be some uncertainty regarding what is the TCT and what is not (e.g. the spur up Arc Dome is not, at least by my reckoning and some of the maps.)

            Several years ago we camped at the north end of the trail in Kingston Canyon. We weren't hiking the TCT but I took a walk to check it out and, there, it got hopelessly lost in the willows in the drainage. OK, maybe it was me that was lost, the trail was just invisible. But so much of the country is wide-open, you can simply start ascending the ridges and get yourself back on track.

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            • #7
              This is really cool. I love Nevada, on Ttips JW's thread on Eastern Nevada was always one of my favorites.

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              • #8
                Very nice Baaahb! My wife and I love visiting Nevada. One of our favorite vacations ever was staying in Austin cooking out front of a cheesy motel in an electric skillet for Thanksgiving dinner, and hiking/visiting hot springs in the area. Very limited cell coverage which made it all the more relaxing. The Ruby's were another great trip. Not crowded, but less remote than the vast expanses of other parts of the state. John McPhee's book on basin and range is a good prep for visiting the area. So dry, remote, and inspiring.

                X2 on JW's thread.

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                • #9
                  Thanks, Baaahb, for taking us along to a place I've flown over and wondered about many times. I hope you've inspired me to get out there and spend some time soaking in the remote and isolated beauty.

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                  • #10
                    I hope you stopped for a beer in Ione!

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                    • #11
                      Thanks for the memories! When I was a young geologist (as opposed to now) back in the early '80's, I had the opportunity to work on what eventually became the Quito gold mine, south of Austin. We tromped up and down the range staking claims and gathering samples and lived in the Pony Canyon Motel. I still love the Basin and Range country and the remoteness of those hills. Sagebrush after a rainstorm has got to be the best smell on earth. That's cool that there is a trail along the crest of the Toiyabes. Have to file that away for the future.

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                      • #12
                        Spectacular; how do you pronounce that?

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                        • #13
                          Toy yahh beez, mister toke.

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