NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Unmarked Trails Lead to Unplanned Adventures

Ever since we got to Reno I've been eyeing those hills!  After we ran a couple of errands and had some lunch yesterday we moseyed on over to Hidden Valley Regional Park to pick a hike.  Here's me below doing just that.  Like my new haircut?

Okay, here's the downside to the county's regional park setup.  No directional signs once you enter the park, dirt roads that you don't know if they are parking lots or what, and no markers of any sort on the trail, not even a sign at the trailhead.  So, we asked a gentlemen out with his dogs and he pointed in the vague general direction we wanted to go and said "It's pretty hard to get lost, just pick a spot and start walking".  Like fools we took his advice.

Cory couldn't figure out how to open the gate so he climbed over.  I took a minute to mull it over and figured out their high tech system.  Score one for patience...or maybe laziness.  Notice Cory's lack of proper hiking footwear.  I was almost as guilty since I was wearing my running shoes and not my hikers.

We kept an eye out for rattlesnakes, and Cory talked about a video game he plays where cougars jump out and attack you.  He concocted an amusing tale to go with his pictures for his friends based on that.  I didn't have to work hard to make up a tale to go with our pictures, our attempts at finding the trail we were looking for did the work for me.

Cory couldn't resist scrambling up the hillside and looking for "stuff" instead of sticking to the trails.  Normally I'm the one off trail while Wayne urges me to "come on".  It was interesting to be the one trying to coax the photographer out of the bushes.

From Cory's vantage point he spotted a wild horse!  Pretty cool!  This was the only one we saw, though we saw a lot of evidence of chewed brush...not to mention plenty of piles of horse poop.

We also got a pretty good view of Reno from there.  It would look a lot better without the haze of pollution trapped in the valley.  Sometimes wind is a good thing, right?

Every time I passed close to a juniper tree I gave its leaves a pinch.  Man, that smelled so good!

Back on the trail we started what we assumed was the loop we saw on the map in the parking lot.

It got pretty steep in some spots, but mostly meandered gently up and down.  Where are those hiking shoes when you need them?  Today they're going in the car just in case.

Before things got steep I looked around and asked whether maybe we should head back.  It was one of those things where you get that feeling maybe the trail wasn't going where you thought it was.  We were still a long way from "looping" back around, and time was sailing by pretty quickly.  Being stuck in planes and automobiles for a whole day will make you crazy and our eager outdoor spirits urged us upward and onward.

At the top we got more concerned.  The trail suddenly became a road.  I had a sneaking suspicion we were way off course at this point, but we followed it down a little ways just to make sure the "loop" didn't suddenly reappear.

Right before we admitted defeat Cory spotted a hole under a sage brush.

Snake?  Small mammal?  Identification help appreciated!

Daylight was starting to fade so we turned around and headed back the way we came.  It took a steady hour to get back, mostly downhill, so I figure we probably did around 5 miles altogether.

Me on "the trail" - mostly just following footprints in the loose dirt

As we retraced our steps, somehow we lost the trail TWICE!  The first time we ended up scooting down an incredibly steep incline on our butts.  Like sledding but with loose dirt instead of snow.  The second time we ended up out in the nearby subdivision.  The sun was almost down by then so we were glad to walk on pavement before turning around the bottom of the mountain and following the fenceline back to our parking area.

As we approached our car the caretaker drove up, got out of his car and yelled at us that he was locking the gates.  Sorry, I shouted back, we were just a little lost since the trails aren't marked out here.  From now on we're sticking to state parks or clearly marked paths on this trip...I hope!  But today it's all about exploring Reno's downtown, including the Nevada Museum of Art.


  1. Such beautiful country - loved seeing the horse. Look at you in a tee shit. It's below zero back home!!

  2. Great hike, up at the park. We live just below it, sorry we missed you when you visited Reno! There are several herd of the wild horses here, just south of us at Hidden Valley, in the southeast, there are at least 60 horses there right now. My husband bikes the trails and saw all of them just yesterday!

    And the inversion that was hanging over Reno has gone, fortunately. We got rain just this week, and had several inches of snow. All melted immediately, but it sure helps here.

    Great posts about Reno, Tahoe, Carson C, and the rest of the areas around here!