Welcome to the geographic center of Nevada... or as it will be known this time next year: the start of the 2nd Nevada Discovery Ride! Ryan and I spent this holiday weekend racking up the miles to scout more sections of the route. We began where I plan to begin -- in the middle of the state. There is not much in this valley southeast of Austin, except for this little marker. There's not even cell service, which means I won't be able to post a picture of our send off! But, I think it will be a great place start. Did you notice that road to the right of the sign? That's my road for day 1 heading off into the Monitor Range!
We also scouted Kalamazoo Pass (just northeast of Ely), Schellbourne Pass (on the famed Pony Express Trail), the Antelope Range and Valley, Goshute Valley, the Pequop Range (and it's unsettling route right next to an active railroad line), and finally, my Interstate 80 crossing (not easy!). On that last one -- I always harp about the importance of scouting in advance (where possible) and I think this trip proved my point. After consulting topo and satellite maps I thought I had found a good route across the very busy interstate... but when we went to check it out we found there is no gate along the fence line, and thus no way around the cattle guard! We ended up checking several more exits in an attempt to find a safe way across the highway. It seems no interstate exits have gates built into their fencing. And I suppose it makes sense - why would you need one? Anyway, after checking out several exits we finally settled on one, but it too lacks a gate, so now we know that Ryan will have to carry a piece of plywood in the truck that we can lay over the cattle guard for Sage to cross. Better to know that now then be stuck alongside the interstate next year!
We saw only a few bands of horses in our travels (photos below) but they all looked pretty healthy. There is, of course, beautiful country out there, and seeing bits of it just makes me more excited to hit the trail next year. All that's left to do route-wise is re-scout the Jarbidge area. It's the only part of the ride where I will be on old pack trails in a wilderness area. That means trails that may or may not be visible anymore, very tough mountain terrain, and absolutely no vehicle access - which means Ryan can't get in with supplies. So, we're going to try to head back out there in the fall and that should be our last place to scout! In the meantime, I should have our final route map and itinerary posted this week!!
On a side note, thanks to everyone that came out to the Wild Horse Faire in Virginia City last weekend. I feel like I talked to about a hundred people! Everyone was super supportive and excited to follow the next ride. I also raised about $550 through the sale of our branded merchandise. All of that of course will help fund the next ride. So thank you also to everyone who bought something. I have had a lot of requests, so I will work on getting some of that merchandise available through this website for people to purchase. Stay tuned!
The latest updates from Samantha on the Nevada Discovery Ride.