Reno, Nevada

So this past week, has been CRAZY busy! The Monday after Easter Dalton and I were headed back to Fort Bridger from Montana when we got the call to head to Reno, Nevada. YAY! I have been waiting for this to happen for about a month now, I was just so tired of the snow and ready for a change of scenery. The drive from Montana to Fort Bridger is about 8 hours, we got to the camper around 7 p.m. and started packing things up. Tuesday morning, April 23, we left for Nevada, which took us about 10 hours. All last week was 80 degrees or warmer here in Nevada, it was amazing! I was so busy all week that I didn’t have time to blog and I found so many cool places I didn’t want to pick just one to write about this week. Since Wednesday I have found four new places to hike and explore around, and each day I just keep going to new ones. We are not directly in Reno, we live in an R.V. Park in Fernley, Nevada, which is about 30 miles from Reno. Close enough to visit whenever but far enough away to avoid the large crowds.

Wednesday April 24:

On the first day down here, I finished setting up the camper while Dalton worked and then since it was Peyton’s 2nd birthday, I wanted to take her swimming. Peyton absolutely loves the water, she would swim all day if she could! One of the most famous lakes around here is Pyramid Lake, just north of our camper about 30 miles. If you use your phone for directions to the lake, it will try to take you all the way around to the far end of it, I didn’t want to do that so once I got to the lake I just followed the road to the left side until I found a spot.

Pyramid Lake

The first camp ground we came to seemed like a good spot to stop. There was no one else around, picnic tables were shaded with a canopy and the sun was shining! Luckily before I let the dogs out I happened to notice a sign in the water that said, “Hazardous waste. Area Closed.” This was a little concerning to me, what is in the water? And why don’t they have it taped off or something to make sure people stay out? Anyways, I drove further down the road and found another area to pull off. We were in my car, it has decent clearance but nothing like a truck, and the road we turned off on, I would recommend a vehicle with high clearance. Obviously I didn’t drive all the way down to the water because of my low clearance, so we parked at the top and walked instead!

I was a little nervous walking out through the desert that led to the water, because I am scared of snakes and spiders and I was told that both are abundant in this area. Fortunately all we saw were little geckos running around and the dogs were going crazy trying to catch them. The water was still too cold for me to swim in, but the dogs loved it! This was the first time that Case has ever actually swam and it was hilarious. He is not the strongest swimmer and was always just trying to play with Peyton while she fetched sticks. Both dogs, swam, played and ran in the sand for hours! Peyton had a blast, chasing after ducks, fetching sticks and just swimming like crazy.

Fun in the Sun

Personally, I just sat in the sun, enjoying being in warm weather and watching my goofy dogs run around and burn off some energy! The water was still pretty muddy so any fly fishing would be kind of hard to do at this time. I would wait until a little later in the spring, like middle of May possibly! If you are planning on fishing this lake, you should know that it is on a reservation so you have to have a permit and there is a limit to the number of fish you can keep! I plan on going back and fishing it so I will be able to let everyone know how it goes!

For those of you wondering, Peyton did get some new toys for her birthday and I made her special frozen doggy treats to eat too!

Birthday Girl

Thursday April 25:

On Thursday I found a small lake about 15 miles east of us in Fallon called Soda Lake. I decided to get up early and head out there to hike around the lake before it became too hot for the dogs. The directions out to the lake are not great! I use the app “All Trails” to find all of my hiking areas and the directions on that were better than just googling directions but still not great. Again I was in my car and made it to the lake fine, but I would recommend taking a truck. I drove through the desert on dirt roads for about a mile before I could see the lake. It was a little scary to be honest! We did make it though and it was beautiful!

Soda Lake

The entire hike was just over 3 miles around the lake. For the majority of the walk, the trail is right on the water, so the dogs swam and ran along in the water next to me. The last mile or so is up on a huge sand dune almost and it is a straight shot to the water from the top. I am glad we didn’t get there any later because it was hot even at 8 A.M. We only saw one other person out there though and that is always nice! Although she did have 7 poodles and 2 smaller dogs with her! Yes, 9 dogs! I couldn’t even believe it, I thought two dogs was a lot to take care of!

I didn’t need hiking boots, I just wore my every day tennis shoes and that worked fine. If you don’t want sand in your shoes though I would wear more of a boot then! Also I would NEVER swim in this lake, it was fine for the dogs but it smelled so bad! It had a kind of swampy smell to it and I had to bathe the dogs at the end of the day because it made them stink. If you had a kayak or a paddle board it would be perfect but I wouldn’t swim!

Time to Dig

The dogs and I actually ended up going back out to Soda Lake later that day to let the dogs swim again. It was just such a hot day and the lake is close enough that I figured they could use another swim. And for those of you who ride dirt bikes, ATV’s or side-by-sides, this area has tracks all over the place for that! The only wildlife we saw were rabbits and those same geckos we saw at Pyramid Lake.

Friday April 26

On Friday, I found the Hunter Creek Trail in the Toiyabe National Forest in Reno. The drive to get there took about an hour from our camper, which honestly isn’t too bad! I was really surprised at the terrain because I thought that everywhere around here was just desert! However this area had a stream, big pine trees and was pretty green! Directions to the trail head were easy to follow and spot on. From there though it became a little confusing! There are trails all over from the parking lot and there are two that can take you up the Hunter Creek Trail.

Hunter Creek Trail

When you come to the creek, which is about 100 yards down the trail, you can cross right there, if you have waterproof shoes. I did have my hiking boots on, but the water was deep enough to go over the tops and I didn’t feel like hiking the rest of the trail with wet feet. So instead of crossing, if you turn left and follow the small dirt trail up the mountain, after about a half mile it will bring you back to the creek but there is a metal bridge for you to cross. This is going to be the last spot for dogs to get water until you get to the top. Make sure you bring enough water for you and your dogs!

From crossing the creek, the trail side hills up the mountain, following the canyon back to the start of the creek. There are a couple of spots with shade, but for the most part we hiked in the sun all day! This is a very trafficked area, I honestly don’t know if I have ever hiked somewhere with so many people! I should probably get used to that around here though! Anyways, dogs should be on a leash for the most part, I let mine off every now and then when I couldn’t see anyone coming. We met more people on our way out than on our way in. We started around 9:30 A.M. and to me that was late because it gets hot so fast, but around here people must not think so! On our way out there were way more people just starting than there were walking out with us! We stopped a couple of times on the way up so I could give the dogs some water. The trail itself is a well beaten trail, it is a steep incline for most of the way in though!

Cool Off

At the top of the mountain we started walking into the big pine trees, which provided much needed shade and there were a couple little creeks running that the dogs ran straight to and laid down in! I let them enjoy that for a while before we kept going. We had to walk over a big log across one of the creeks again before we got to the end. At the end were some water falls! They definitely were not the biggest falls I have seen but still very pretty! The dogs of course jumped right in those to cool off again! The area around the falls was very shaded and had big logs for people to sit on! I gave the dogs some treats and we just relaxed listening to the water for a while before we headed back down!

Falls

This trip has been my favorite so far, I love hiking to waterfalls, and I want to go back later in the summer when I can actually get in the falls myself! My watch tracked the hike as 7 miles total, so 3.5 in and 3.5 out! Again make sure you bring enough water for yourself and your dogs! I always pack a small blue back pack. In it I bring 4 water bottles for the dogs and 2 for myself, along with some treats for the dogs and couple of power bars! If you are hiking alone I strongly recommend packing some sort of protection. Personally I pack a pistol on my hip but even pepper spray is better than nothing! You can never be too careful on a trail.

Saturday April 27:

On Saturday I was just wanting to take a quick hike to kind of wear the dogs out. I found Ballardini Ranch Trail near Reno. My app said it was a 2.2 mile loop and dogs were allowed if on a leash. This was perfect, I had my two dogs and our friend’s dog, Segar, with us and I didn’t want to wear him out too much because he is just a puppy. Directions to the trail head were easy to follow and the parking area was really nice. The loop I wanted to take was not marked though and there were trails all over the mountain!

Trail to the Top

I just picked one and started hiking, after I got to the top of the first hill I noticed that there was no one else around so I ended up letting all the dogs off their leashes to run around! Which was needed because it is honestly so hard to walk three dogs on leashes! I kept walking and ended up crossing a small road that had a trail on the other side of it. There was a stream that the dogs played in for a while and we followed that up until the trail started climbing up a large mountain. I decided to try that out and just kept hiking!

Once we got to the top there was a beautiful meadow with lots of green grass and wildflowers. We stopped here and I gave the dogs some water and then we kept going. The trail started to side hill around the mountain through a burn area. I met a couple of runners, a couple hiking and two mountain bikers while I was there. The sites were beautiful and the trail went for a long ways! After 3 miles of following the trail I decided to head back down to the stream and let the dogs cool off for a little bit. We then followed a different trail back to the truck.

3 Best Friends

All in all it is a great place to take the dogs, after you get past the first hill, you can take the dogs off their leashes and let them get some exercise. Although I wanted to do the loop, I am so glad I couldn’t find the trail to do it, I ended up finding a beautiful area to hike and the views were amazing! Sometimes taking a different route when hiking can lead to better things!

Make sure you take water on this hike! There is a stream at the bottom of the canyon but after that there is no where else for dogs to get water and the hike is always in the sun! If you want to go on this hike, park in the parking area and start on the trail that heads up the mountain, it switch backs twice before it comes to a Y, take the left and just follow that trail all the way up the mountain until you want to stop!

Reno Below

This past week has been so busy and so fun! I am trying to find somewhere new to go every day or every other day! I am enjoying the sunshine down here and the dogs love all the hiking! Between taking them for walks around the R.V. Park, and hiking in the mountains, we have averaged 7 to 8 miles every day that we have been here! Nevada is a beautiful area and I can’t wait to keep exploring! Just always remember to bring enough water because this is the desert!

Hoover Lake

The High Uinta Wilderness is full of beautiful lakes to hike to. Hoover Lake is just one of many that I have had the pleasure of seeing. The trail is about an hour to an hour and a half drive from Fort Bridger, WY, which is where we are currently living. The scenery to the lake is absolutely stunning! Huge mountain peaks, dense forests, rivers and lakes all around you as you drive. I had actually been by this lake in the fall and WOW! I think that fall would be the best time to visit Hoover Lake and all the other lakes in the Uinta Wilderness. There are Aspen and Birch trees all over. You drive along a winding road through a mess of color. Yellow, orange and red light up the mountain sides making the trees look like they are on fire. I drove through areas where leaves were falling from the trees like snowflakes from the sky. It really was a surreal drive.

Now I didn’t actually hike to Hoover Lake in the fall, like I said I had gone around the area but I actually hiked to the lake in November after there was snow on the ground. Dalton was with me on this trip and we had our two dogs, Peyton and Case. We decided one Saturday morning that we had wanted to go explore and maybe find a lake to hike to. I had gone to the Uinta Wilderness a couple times before so I knew where to go and off we went! We packed a lunch, winter jackets, water and the adventure began.

As we drove to the top of the pass, which is in Utah because we are right on the Wyoming, Utah boarder, the snow kept getting deeper and deeper. We thought that maybe we shouldn’t go since we couldn’t really see the trail when we parked, but decided that a hike anywhere would be fine. The sun was shining, there was no wind and the snow was hard packed. The walk was fairly easy, a small hill to go up and a kind of rock slide to get down into the lake, but the hike in was only about 1.5 miles!

Case was three months old and having a hard time in the snow. He was so cute trying to follow Peyton who just ran right along, happy to be out and about. The lake itself was beautiful! There were flat meadows for people to camp at, the water was clean and crystal clear. There was snow all around us, and it made for a quiet escape. We stayed for a little while, ate lunch on a log and watched as the dogs ran around the water. Eventually Peyton decided it was time to go for a swim and jumped in the lake! Crazy dog! She loves the water so much!

Dalton and I walked slowly around the lake, looking for fish and just visiting. There was no one else around because we are kind of crazy and the only ones that would hike to a lake with no trail! That’s how you find the best spots and the most beautiful pictures in my opinion! (Also it was not a far hike and we could just follow our tracks out!) However we didn’t follow our tracks out because we wanted to see more of the landscape. Our trail out was close to 2 miles long instead of the 1.5 miles on the way in. We followed the inlet of the lake, a small creek winding through the snow. Our dogs ran ahead of us, chasing each other and rolling in the snow. Dalton and I had to pack Case a couple of times because that is a long ways for a puppy! The hike out was a little harder because the snow wasn’t hard like before. We sank and stumbled along, but the exercise and fresh air was worth every second.

I would love to go back to Hoover Lake in the summer and camp out, I bet there are fish in that water and the views are amazing! I wouldn’t recommend to just anyone to go out and hike the trail when there is snow, but in the summer there is a sign at the trail head and I’m sure the trail is well beaten in! We enjoyed this little adventure and I know my dogs loved every second of it!