Mountain Initiation

“The mountains are calling and I must go.”

-John Muir

Throughout the spring we have been lingering in the lower elevations in order to avoid snow, but this week we finally made our maiden hiking trip up into the mountains. We tried out a trail in a nearby part of the Humboldt- Toiyabe National Forest. The name is a bit of a mouthful. Humboldt was a German geographer and naturalist and Toiyabe is a Shoshone word for “mountain”. The Humboldt- Toiyabe is the largest national forest in America (outside of Alaska). However, it seems a bit less impressive when you look at a map of Nevada. The Humboldt- Toiyabe contains 6 million acres of land, but the forest is split up into relatively small segments scattered across the state, mostly where the mountain ranges are (which makes sense because anything resembling a forest in Nevada occurs only in the higher elevations). Other states, such as Idaho and Montana, have more total national forest land, but it is managed by several different national forests.

 We headed out on the Ranger Trail, which began in a fairly lush, green valley by Bird Creek. It was a warm day in late May and the creek was flowing full and fast with snow melt from the nearby mountains.

May 22 Bird Creek (38)

The trail quickly gained elevation as it wound its way around the side of a mountain. It was definitely a workout, but the anticipation of what view lay around the next corner gave us ample motivation. One of the things I love most about Nevada is that the trees are short and sparsely placed, allowing for vast, unobstructed mountain views.

May 22 Bird Creek (31)

May 22 Bird Creek (23)

Ahhh….rest break rock. There is nothing more inviting on a mountain hike than taking a break on a sun- warmed rock, enjoying the cool breeze and lovely view. If you know our son Roland, you know he truly is a fountain of energy and that fountain almost never goes dry. However, the steep ups and downs of this trail actually wore him out. This was only the second hike that has ever put a damper on his energy (the first one was the waterfall hike we took in Minnesota). Sometimes Roland will feign fatigue when he is bored or otherwise cranky, but it takes a lot to genuinely wear him down.

May 22 Bird Creek (27)

This challenging, but exhilarating hike was a great way to start the season and I look forward to spending many summer days exploring these beautiful mountains.

May 22 Bird Creek (13)

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