23-Aug-2005 -- It was time for another confluence adventure, this time successfully visiting confluences in Utah, Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana. This would be my eleventh out of thirteen visits on my trip and is remarkable since it is the last of my unvisited (achievable) Nevada confluences.
I was on my way from 41N-115W and didn’t want to spend another night in the austere conditions in my Tahoe in the middle of nowhere (on the road to nowhere…) so I continued on to the metropolis of Elko where I got a hotel with a real shower (not just a 5 gallon solar shower bag on top of the car) for the night. What a difference that made!
The next morning I tried the first of two possible approaches - coming in from the south on NV-51/225 and turning west just north of Adobe Creek road. Along the way I came to a fence perpendicular to the road with a gate that had inner tubes and cords strung across it. I did not see any signs prohibiting entry but couldn’t figure out how to untie either end in order to lower it and cross with a vehicle. I decided to try the approach from the north, by Dinner Station. I found "no trespassing" signs by the road here and stopped to talk to the land owners. They politely declined to allow me to travel on the road leading west from their land but were very helpful in putting me in contact with who they thought were the landowners to the southwest. Their reluctance was caused by a lot of requests from people who ended up leaving their gates open and they were also very concerned about the fire danger today. There was a large fire burning just to the east and I would watch the fire bombers all day make multiple trips to it. The landowners also showed me a map that depicted the checkerboard of public and private lands and the roads that connected them. They also requested that future visits to this confluence not be attempted from their road at Dinner Station.
I made a trip back into town where I would ask and receive permission from the landowner to the south to continue on my original plan from the south. I learned that you simply drive slowly over that kind of gate as it is meant to thwart wayward cows. I turned off NV-51/225 for the second time and this time carefully drove over the inner-tube barrier. I continued along until I reached Swales Creek. The road sharply dropped off and then rose again. My Tahoe would not have been able to negotiate that obstacle unless it was about 8 feet shorter – maybe in a short jeep or on a horse. So, I prepared for a bike ride that would take me northwards to Blue Basin Creek and then along the road leading west.
As I started out, I passed two men on horseback that were herding some cows. I continued northwards until I turned down the Blue Basin Creek Road. The road ended at a corral and it was time to negotiate two branches of the Blue Basin Creek. Each branch had fairly steep sides, about 15-20 feet high. Stay in the bottom of the valley heading southwest and then stay on the west side of a fence on your climb up the saddle to the confluence.
I found all zeroes just below the top of the saddle on the west side of a now north-south running valley. It had been quite a hike and as I climbed up to the top of the saddle for a couple more pictures I determined that it would have been much easier and shorter for a direct hike from where I had parked.
Picture #1 captures the essence of the area in a view to the north. Picture #2 looks northeast down Blue Basin Creek and Susie Creek and shows a forest fire that was actively being engaged by fire bombers on the Adobe Range to the east of NV-51. Picture #3 looks east. Picture #4 looks south through a saddle towards Swales Mountain. Picture #5 looks west from a little bit higher on the ridge towards the Independence Mountains. Picture #6 shows my GPS position.
On my way back, before turning south, the right pedal fell off my bike. There was no way I could fix it there so I ended up lowering the seat and using my bike as a scooter the rest of the way back. Good thing those cowboys were gone by the time I got back!
Total time and distance off NV-51/225 was 5:42 and 29 miles. Far longer than I had originally planned - but isn't that always the case! Within that time was 2:55 spent biking/hiking 13.6 miles. If I had to do it again, now that I’ve been there and seen the terrain, I would park at Swales Creek and then simply hike northwest directly up the valley following the next drainage to the north westward and approach the confluence from the south. This would be only about six miles roundtrip, less than half of the way I went.
This confluence also completes my canvass of Nevada’s confluences with 23 of 24 successfully visited. What a great state for challenging expeditions and outstanding scenery! I’ll leave 37N 116W for the DOE employees.
The adventure continues at: 45N-110W.