Trinity Mountains - Jessup Pass, NV 10-07-06
7 October 2006 (Trek #87)
Trinity Mountains and Jessup Pass
Friday morning, 6 October, I decide to head up to Fernley to get stuff in order before the wife and I take off for a bit of relatives visiting in Chicago next week. Leaving Rocklin itís a bit cool and overcast with a chance of rain. At about 6000 feet a few miles before Donner Pass I encounter some snow on the highway. It amounts to perhaps 1 Ė 2Ē at most. Winter is setting in early! Spend the rest of the day taking care of chores and decide that tomorrow I might just have to go get another load of landscaping rocks tomorrow. Any old excuse to off-road will do.
Saturday morning, 7 October, Going over my topo-maps I decide to explore a double canyon and saddle trail on the south flank of Jessup Peak. It will give me a chance to look for an archeological site called ďJessup EmbaymentĒ that Iíve been curious about for a couple of years. An article about the site is here:
Upon reaching the White Plains-Jessup turn-off from I80; I head towards the Jessup Aggregate Mine and just as I reach it I start looking for a road that shows on my topo that heads towards a canyon visible to the North West. I can see a trace of the road in the distance, but access to the road is blocked by a quarry pit at the mine. I skirt the pit on foot and find the end of the road on the pit cliff. I can drive through about 50 feet of brush to reach the road and start driving up it towards the canyon mouth. The road is in pretty decent shape but a bit overgrown since it hasnít been used for a couple of years since the pit blocked it. About a mile along the road begins traversing the wash at the bottom of the canyon mouth and suddenly Iím stopped at a 10 foot high boulder berm!
I get out of the truck and climb up the berm. There is a new road crossing my road at a right angle and the just filled in the wash. My road continues on the other side Ė but how to get there from here? To the left of my truck there is a boulder strewn slope that climbs up to the new road and then a bank of boulders to drop onto the new road. Hmm; it looks as if I can make it. See photos numbered J20 thru J24:
I scrape the cross member under the transfer case a bit, a clunk on the emergency brake and a scrape along the gas tank skid plate and rear bumper and Iím up on the new road. Crossing the new road, I continue up the old canyon road. Itís still pretty decent but a bit overgrown; maybe it gets used once a year or so.
On the way to the top of the pass, I encounter only one side trail that goes about Ĺ mile up a side canyon. There are a few old prospects but nothing major. All of the mining back in the 1880s was done on the other side of the mountains. An early trip report of the area here:
I pass some really nice talus outcroppings that would provide some good landscaping rock; and continue up towards the pass. I eventually reach the crest of the pass, a saddle between Jessup Peak on the left and an unnamed peak to the south west.
Itís a great view and I stop to take a few photos of the route I came up and the trail down the other side (photos numbered JJ24 thru J28). Iím about to head down the other side when I notice that the trail is very over grown and hasnít been used for many, many years. I decide to walk down a ways to reconnoiter it. Going down I roll a couple of very large boulders off the trail and continue on for about 100 yards. I have reached an old rockslide that has obliterated the road. I canít even see where the road continues at the bottom of the wash. I think that I can get the Disco down it to the wash bottom; but if the road is blocked further on, Iíll have a hell of a time getting back up. Maybe another time with a couple other trucks along Iíll give it a goÖ..
I turn around and head back the way that I came; stopping for a small load of rock at the site mentioned earlier. After loading up, I return back towards the aggregate mine via the new road. About a mile before the quarry I take a couple of side trails up the wash to the left towards some neat looking cemented gravel bluffs. Both trails end at a twenty something foot high dry falls. I donít find the exact location of the archeological site, but Iím definitely in the neighborhood. Unfortunately, Iíve accumulated too much dirt in my camera and I only get two photos, numbers J29 and J30. Iím going to have to do some camera cleaning as about 6 shots have the shutter cover only half open. Iíll have to come back here in the future to do some more exploring and photographing.
Sunday, I explore the sand dunes north of Fernley. Find and access to a road that climbs up towards the top of Two Tips Peak, drive along the old railroad grade of the original trans-continental railroad of 1867. It has since been rerouted to run through the center of Fernley and on around the east side of the Hot Springs Mountains through Hazen, instead of along the west side following the old emigrant trail.
Monday, a poker game with the neighbors. Tuesday back to Rocklin with another light dusting of snow on Donner Pass.
Rocky - Trans-Nevada-Trek Trail Boss - '04 Land Rover Discovery S