It was a super short hitch for the NV-RES crew this time around. We headed out to Sand Mountain for three days of trail maintenance at the giant sand dune and the near-by pony express station. Sand Mountain was impressive to look at, and the pony express station was an interesting piece of history to see. It also inspired a lot of mock old west-style gunfights.
It wasn’t all fun and games for our crew though; we spent our first day rock lining the half-mile interpretive trail around the pony express station as well as just making the trail better defined. Our crew also removed a number of old carsonite posts marking the trail and replaced them with tougher, metal signs. That night was exciting because the desert, as ever the stormy lady she is, sent a full on sand storm our way. It turns out that a rain fly, while great for rain, isn’t the best thing in a sand storm. Most of the crew woke up the next morning in a decent covering of sand.
Our next two days were spent both pulling and replacing carsonite posts along the large camp ground corridors near the base of Sand Mountain or riding with one of our BLM contacts in a UTV in search of fallen trail markers on the backside of the Sand Mountain. Both jobs were necessary and important, however getting driven around sand dunes in a off-road vehicle certainly adds a little more excitement to the day. Or second night out brought a real-life thunderstorm, pouring rain and everything. Our crew saw this as an opportunity to take a ride down the road, after a run through rain, to middle gate junction. What’s in middle gate junction, you ask? Awesome cheeseburger, strange folks and over 1000 one dollar bills nailed to the ceiling of the restaurant we ate at. It’s a worthwhile stop if you’re ever heading down Highway 50.
All in our hitch was a short one, but it didn’t stop us from getting a lot of impressive work done. The trail around the pony express station now looks like a trail and the carosnite signs near the camp ground and on the off-road trails are all replaced and standing. As Tom, the BLM maintenance guy said, “it really makes the place look like it’s not abandoned.”
With that in mind we headed back toward Reno to eat some burritos and do post hitch work.