***Drum roll please!*** After months of studying maps and thousands of miles of trail scouting... here is the final route for the 2015 Nevada Discovery Ride! (You can click the map to enlarge it.)The ride will begin at the geographic center of Nevada. From there the route runs east through central Nevada, drops south down the spine of the White Pine Range, a short jaunt east again, north all the way up near the Idaho border, west across the northernmost part of Nevada along the Oregon border, and then drops south again to finally end in Reno. Whew! With the same plan of averaging 20 miles a day, and rest days built in weekly, this 1,100 mile route will take 70 days to complete. I plan to leave mid-August and should arrive in Reno at the end of October.
In many ways this route should prove to be much more exciting than last year's route. It includes a whopping 23 mountain range crossings, wilderness areas, desert crossing, forests, one interstate and one highway crossing, the Pony Express Trail, Hasting's Cutoff, the California Trail, primitive pack trails, and active railroad lines. Of course, it will also offer plenty of ghost towns and other forgotten sites. This time around we will only ride through one town: Jarbidge (population 182). Cell service will be spotty (just like last time) but I can promise there will be some epic photos and stories to share with you all.
Now that the route is finalized, I can get on with other ride preparations. I have some more gear to acquire, sponsors to find, and conditioning to do with Sage. We also need to set an actual ride start date. On the plus side, I may have secured a house/pet sitter (fingers crossed!) and I have already gotten the okay from my employer -- thank goodness! The next few months may be light on updates, but that's only because I won't want to bore you with behind-the-scenes ride preps. But things will definitely pick up as the ride date gets closer! Stay tuned :)
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.