I spend a fair amount of time tracing virtual lines in the dirt I find in the satellite view of maps online. I am particularly interested in finding a route north to south through Nevada. On a smaller scale I would like to find a dirt route from Reno to the Oregon border. But for the time being these virtual tracings have to satisfy my my long term goals to get out and explore.
Rather than than search far and wide with satellite imagery we are fortunate to be able to see a network of dirt roads around us in northern Nevada. These nearby adventures are the ripe low hanging fruit ready to be picked. I have read a few essays on how to be the time crunched, responsibility burdened explorer. And while we are inspired by the international expeditions of the few we shouldn’t let our time constraints become an excuse to get out and make an adventure out of what is around us.
I had made a couple of quick trips north over the last week and found myself scanning the the lower faces of Hungry Ridge and the Pah Rah Mountains. I could see roads climbing the hill sides, behind growing housing developments, and appearing to go nowhere. It would be easy to dismiss checking them out. These roads are almost 20 miles from my home, I can ride that far. These roads are behind residential and commercial property, but there is plenty of open land around them for access. The roads are likely to be short dead-ends, but I wont know for sure until I get out there. And the excuses including time, weather, terrain conditions, and so on keep growing if you let them. So don’t.
Despite the extremely windy conditions I headed out. The wind was out of the south, so heading north on Pyramid Way (NV 445) I felt like a super hero on my Salsa Fargo. But the whole time my concerns over the return trip were playing themselves over and over in the back of my mind. My first focal point was the Martin Marietta Aggregates gravel pit on the south end of Hungry Ridge. I was not sure what access would be like from Pyramid Way so I took Ingenuity Avenue which ended in grated lots looking ripe for development. This area is called Boneyard Flat, while it appears to be frequented by moto and ATV users but it also appears to be a vernal wetland and I thought I saw a sandpiper (I am poor birder, though I enjoy all my encounters with wildlife).
I made my way to County Highway 206, a sandy and rocky dirt road along the base of Hungry Ridge. From here I was able to pick roads and canyons to explore even though I was not expecting to find a grand passage into Hungry Ridge. The canyons had a few distinct outcroppings of rock and sandy drainages that could be climbed and explored. One road ended at a small fire ring which made me think it could be a nice spot for a quick overnight. As it turned out the mountains were providing a break from the wind. But once I returned to Pyramid Way it was in full force.
I was really glad I got out for this mini-exploration of short roads that go nowhere.