Nevada History by John C. Evanoff is excited to present this series of articles by noted author and poet, John C. Evanoff. John will tell us about Nevada history and cover some of the more remote and unusual things to see and do in Northern Nevada.

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Favorite Treks of Reno #4 of 10

October, 2008
By John Evanoff

When I think of October in Nevada, I always think of Nevada Day and the parade in Carson City at the end of the month, but I also am reminded of the first day of fishing at Pyramid Lake and the upland game hunting season. The first cool days of the fall present themselves to summer weary residents as the perfect time to get in a trip to the desert or mountains before the first snows fall. Inviting as that may seem, it’s also the last month you can really do any hiking without too much to worry about concerning weather.

My father and I used to always get up early on October weekends in the late 1950’s to go chucker and sagehen hunting or fishing for cutthroat trout and sometimes both on the same day. Sage Grouse hunting has now narrowed to just a couple weeks between the last part of September and the first part of October, but it can still be productive if you scout your territory a week before you go hunt. Chucker and Quail are much longer seasons extending into February and you can sometimes bag a limit of both and still have time to go fishing. Later in life I spent some October weekends in the early 1970’s hiking and hunting in the nearby Sierra Nevada mountains for antlered mule deer. Many times I would see five point or better bucks and would not take a shot simply because I was more interested in even bucks. Those days ended up being more about hiking than hunting, but I enjoyed them just as much.

The best fall hunts in my early years were in the Granite’s north of Gerlach or the Rainbow’s east of Fallon, but one of my favorite hunting hikes in October was the route up to Hunter Lake. With the many colors of fall blending with the crisp and often times frosty mornings, I would be up two hours prior to dawn making my way up to the top of Hunter Lake Drive where I would park for the day and begin my hike with my shotgun and rifle both strapped to my back. The shotgun was for grouse or quail. Most of you will find it much easier to park near the Patagonia outlet near the intersection of White Fir St and Woodland Avenue off of Mayberry Road west of Reno on W. Fourth Street. That trail will take you up the creek all the way to Hunter Lake. Most of the hiking I enjoyed was on the eastern face about a mile closer to Reno. The old Hunter Lake road still goes up to the top, but is hard to get to because of all the homes that were built. You have to know where it starts and then weave around the housing project to get to it. The easier method is to find the trail across the Truckee River from Patagonia until you get to Hunter Creek and then find the high trail, which is well marked away from the creek. It’s hard to believe this trail is so close to Reno and hardly anyone hikes it. Once you get to the grassy meadows and the forest about three miles up the trail, you begin to see the wildlife everywhere. The colors are amazing in the fall so bring a camera. Total length of the hike is about seven to eight miles round trip. There are parts of the forest at the top which are extremely dense and the canyons make for some interesting hiking and viewing of wildlife. The hike is a day trek so take plenty of food and water. A good topo map of the trail is an asset. Hunting is very restrictive in the area and most hunting access is now contained through the Garson Road exit at Boomtown and up into the Mount Rose Wilderness. Read all hunting restrictions and regulations from the Nevada Fish and Game Department. You must have permits to access this hunting area and all game is heavily regulated with special tag limits for deer and special permits for upland game. For hikers, watch for signs of hunters and be aware of your surroundings at all times. Wear something bright so you are visible for a long distance and bring binoculars to look down on Reno and a cell phone to call your friends to tell them you are looking down on them.

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