Late Spring ATV Ride
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I was driving to work and replied yes, if, I get home early enough, which I did, so we rode the ATVs out of our garages and onto Sunrise pass Road at 4:30 PM headed East towards the high Mountains.
We live about 12 miles East of Lake Tahoe at the base of the Pine Nut Mountain Range. Dave and I are fortunate in that BLM land is only seconds from our homes, which opens up hundreds of square miles of varied terrain to ride on.
Our houses are located at the 5,000 foot level Our destination was the top of the Pine Nuts about 15 miles away at 8,500 Feet. Our journey would take us through sagebrush flats, dry washes, steep mountain trails, pine forests, aspen groves and meadows.
Dave’s friend, Cindy had recently found a Golden Eagles Nest about
2 miles from home, so that was to be the first stop to take some pictures of the two chicks in the nest. I used a telephoto lens and got some fair pictures, but the sun was behind the nest and the shade from the pinion tree the nest rested in didn’t help either.
Back on the road, we came across a king snake sunning himself on
the warm dirt road. We got him off the road before someone ran over him. Another couple miles down the road, still another king snake sunning, so we ran him off the road too. Not much of an ATV ride yet, but a lot of good wildlife pictures.
After leaving the second snake, we came up on two of the prettiest
Mustang horses I have ever seen, and we see a lot of them on our rides. We took many pictures and afterward I checked our elevation with my Garmin GPS, which happened to be 6,226 Ft.
We continued on our way, gaining more elevation as we rode on. Up the trail, we ran across some pretty wild flowers in full bloom and a lady hiker by herself, over 10 miles from civilization.
Until now, the going was easy in 2WD, but that was about to change
as we passed over a grassy area supplied by a large, wet spring, situated at just over 7,000 ft. and turned onto a narrow, steep, deteriorating 4X4 only jeep trail that would climb 1,500 Ft. in less than one quarter mile.
Parts of the trail were washed out, creating steep side hill action that could easily roll an ATV. The scenery was breathtaking, necessitating quite a few more photos before continuing our ATV ride.
Finally, after two hours we reached our destination, a high plateau located at the 8,500 foot level 15 miles from home.
After enjoying the scenery and taking a few more photos, we rode up to a stone fence
built by the Chinese many years ago.
Leaving the stone fence, we had to ascend a very steep and dangerous trail with loose dirt and rocks surrounded by deep ruts. Dave went first and proceeded to slide sideways off the narrow trail
into a ditch. He got back on the road ok and I barely made it past that bad spot. Picture this, you are going down a trail that’s almost straight up and down, with side hill inclines to boot, driving in 4X4 low differential locked, almost out of control. This is my kind of ATV ride.
Finally we reached the bottom of the steep trail, still at over 8,000
feet, took a break and, of course, some pictures. From there, we resumed our ATV ride and dropped down into an Aspen grove that our trail took us through.
Here we saw two Hummingbirds, one of which I was able to photograph in a tree.
Down a little further, we ran into a Basque sheepherder and a couple hundred sheep grazing in a meadow area.
I don’t know how they managed to pull that trailer up to where it was.
Old Plane Wreck
Still a little further down, we stopped to view the wreckage of a small plane that had crashed some years ago, seriously injuring the two occupants who both eventually made full recoveries.
From the wreckage, we high tailed it out at a steady pace until we reached our starting point. The elapsed time and distance was 3 hours and 34.5 miles.
This particular ride is not a dangerous one, but somewhat challenging in spots. I would have to say that for my backyard, this was just another ATV ride
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