PINE NUTS OUTING REPORT: by Chas Moser
All of us who rode here were flabbergasted with the trail riding. It was simply outstanding. The Pine Nut area is renown for its superb single-track. The problem for TBSA has always been - how to find it. In the past we have found some of the good trails in a kind of "hit or miss" way via our Smith Valley and Virginia City access points, but it was a long way to the good trails and even then they were hard to find. Staging at the Gardnerville Fairgrounds gives TBSA much closer access to the good single-track. Many thanks go to new member George Smith (aka RenoGeorge on KTMTalk) for lining us up with two experts on the Pine Nuts trail system, Doug Holcomb and Norm Gratton. Doug lives in the Gardnerville area and is the President of the Pine Nut Mountains Trails Association (website: http://www.pnmta.org). Norm has lived in and ridden in the Carson Valley area for the past 30 years and some of us have ridden with him as a regular at Nevin's Middlegate rides. Doug and Norm joined TBSA early Thursday morning to show us the general trail network.
Five TBSA rigs showed up, including Robin joined by Bill H., Keith & Vicki, Chas, George Smith & his dog Snuffy Smith, and Ron Steele. Larry had a discount coupon so stayed at a local gambling establishment and drove out to our campsite on Thursday and Friday. Since Bill T. and family were vacationing at Tahoe, Bill came over for the Saturday finale ride as a day-rider. The weather was just about perfect for riding, with daytime highs in the low sixties while reaching the low thirties on several nights.
The Thursday introductory 39-mile ride had eight riders including Doug, Norm, George plus his friend Ed, Robin, Keith, Larry and Chas. We hit single-track within about a mile of the staging area. The group rode roughly northeast of the staging area. During the ride Chas and George mistakenly took an "incorrect trail" which turned out to be a rugged gully-type trail. The two were into the trail for perhaps 45 minutes or so when Keith caught up with them and informed them that they were on the wrong trail. Keith finished the trail by himself to check it out and found that they had almost made it to the end. Rather than take the easy way and continue, we made the collective decision to backtrack to find the rest of the group. We all finally found everybody. The final consensus was that we all enjoyed the overall ride immensely.
Unfortunately we were unable to coerce Doug into riding with us on Friday but nevertheless had a great 64-mile ride. The six rider group of Robin, Keith, Larry, Chas, George, and Ron covered some of the same trails as the previous day and added to them. We crossed the Minden-to-Wabuska power line and Sunrise Pass Road towards the northernmost portions of the Pine Nut Mountain Range. Ron suffered his very first (ever, according to him) flat tire, which was quickly patched thanks to Robin's assistance.
The 78-mile Saturday ride turned out to be the "ride of all rides". Since Chas is running out of superlative adjectives, he will simply call it stupendous. Keith and then Bill T. led the 78-mile ride along with Robin, Bill H., Chas, and Ron. The group headed out on trails in a primarily northerly direction from camp, crossed the power line and turned right on Sunrise Pass Road for several miles, passing Eldorado Canyon in the process. We were looking for the Illinois Canyon trailhead, which we finally found unmarked beginning as a small dirt road. The road soon became an often rocky rigorous four-mile trail ending up at its confluence with Eldorado Canyon. Bill T. took us up Eldorado Canyon back towards Sunrise Pass Road and almost immediately led us to some more super trails. During the long ride, Chas' bike was found lying on its side by sweep Robin almost too many times to count. This actually is getting to be a fairly typical situation with Robin lending Chas a helping hand. Let's hope that it doesn't become a habit. Unfortunately, Chas had forgotten to don his elbow guards that morning, which resulted in a temporarily skinned up right elbow. By this time Chas and Ron were beginning to get a little "tuckered out", and since Chas knew the area, the two split from the group to ride dirt roads back to camp. As a side note, riding against the almost setting sun is not much fun.
TBSA needs to be made aware of this diverse super riding area. It is closer to Sacramento than many of our regular riding areas such as: Fout Springs, Middle Creek, Chappie Shasta, Downieville, Moon Rocks, Smith Valley, and Sweetwater. The Pine Nut staging area is only 118 miles from Loomis and takes about 2hours and 45 minutes to get there via Highway 50, Pioneer Trail, and Kingsbury Grade.
Pine Nuts OUTING PHOTOS: by Chas Moser, Bill Heinemann and Vicki Hepler
Thursday - -
(Click here for Part B)