My Journey

Masonjar.....it's so beautiful that it's hard to believe. The rangers say it's rarely visited (and they hope that never changes). I saw one other person my entire time hiking there.....

Once off trail, we worked our way through the pine forest, then it was a steep climb for quite a distance climbing through loose scree.....

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It's quite interesting to cross all the game trails along the mountainside.....

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I'd read that this summit had a register so I searched around until I found it hidden in the rocks.....

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I'm not usually one to sign these things but on this day I did.....

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It's kind of cool to read the comments that people have left behind. I simply write my name and Tanner with the date.....

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On the exit, we took a different trail out, much steeper as this trail followed the creek, still covered in yellow leafed aspens, down the mountain.....

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The roadside camp.....

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This day we hiked nearly 16.5 miles and we exceeded over 5,000' of elevation gain. I was sore.....

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On the third day we returned to Surprise Valley.....

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We drove south.....

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Surprise Valley is beautiful and i visited it for the first time back in June while it was raining. There were water falls coming off of the Warner Mtns everywhere was incredible.
 

ITTOG

Active member
As always great pictures and commentary. Thanks for letting us daydream through your travels.

How are you liking the truck now? Last I remember you were lamenting that it was no Chevy.

What size engine is in the truck and what fuel mileage do you get with the camper and towing the Jeep?
 
Sierra Valley.....that sounds real nice. I'd like to maybe come back someday and hike the Summit Trail although with Yukon I'm not so sure that's in the cards for me.....but more day trips for sure. It's funny that when I think of California I think of overcrowded parks and trails and obviously that's just misinformation that's out there. No doubt there's plenty of solace here.....

ITTOG.....I'm happy that you, and others, enjoy the pictures and my writings, as I've come to enjoy putting the story together. As you might realize I've certainly got the free time on my hands. Regarding my F350, I don't dislike the truck but I think my 2500HD was more durable. Plus I had that truck since December 2004 so it's what I knew. Hopefully one day I'll feel the same about this one. The truck tells me that I'm getting 12.7 miles to the gallon but I've read on XP that you can't trust that. I've never measured it myself. It's the 6.7 liter turbo 440 horsepower V8 Powerstroke Diesel.....

Now we're driving south down Surprise Valley Road (Highway 1) hoping to take a shortcut a bit southwest, headed to Susanville, California. Fortunately we lucked onto Buckhorn Road which ran through some real pretty BLM backcountry.....

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Somewhere along Buckhorn Road I spotted this extremely nice camp with a metal fire ring, firewood and a massive flat parking area. I didn't hesitate for a second and we pulled in for the night.....

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Soon after getting set up we had our first visitor.....

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Not knowing anything about the area, I was a little surprised, so Tanner and I went out to explore.....

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Lately I've got into getting off the forest service roads and the trails.....using the terrain and the sun to orient myself, bushwhacking, and then seeing what I can get into. So we scrambled down a rock wall and made our way into a relatively small canyon. In the distance I spotted more wild horses.....

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Eventually we connected with this dirt road, then onto Buckhorn Road and made our way back to camp. It's a good feeling to find your way home.....

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That night we had a pleasurable sunset as we were camped on a plateau which gave us the full sky views.....and I don't recall the last time I saw one.....

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We slept real well that night.....

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I was liking this area quite a bit.....once again nobody for miles.....we saw no traffic on Buckhorn Road. I thought that we may as well stay another night and enjoy the solitude. Yukon chose to sleep in the camper but Tanner and I were back out into the tundra.....

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A dry creek bed in the canyon led us to a lake.....Buckhorn Reservoir.....

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From a distance it was a beauty but as we approached the lake it was apparent that the free range cattle had done quite a disservice to this area.....

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We moved on finding Mule Deer up high.....

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We encountered small bands of wild horses.....groups of three to five only.....

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The day passed by all too quickly as do many days of our lives. The sky was preparing for another great sunset just as a band of wild horses were grazing nearby.....

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We wandered around in the sagebrush taking way too many photos.....

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It just flat out amazes me that one sky on one evening can present itself so differently. This last picture was taken that same evening.....

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And another night in the wilderness and we slept just great again.....
 
UHAULER.....actually I was just there, briefly, but I did spend a few days exploring along the eastern fringes of the forest. And here's pretty much what I experienced while there.....

After a few nights on the plateau, we drove southwest into Susanville, California (population 15,000), so not a small town, yet far from a large one either. I'm generally stocking up on fresh foods every 3 or 4 days when possible, and that's what we did in Susanville. Safeway and then Tractor Supply for dog food and to top off the propane. Tractor Supply gave us an invite to stay the night.....and so we did. I always check out a town's historic sections.....

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I wasn't much impressed with their old buildings, but they sure had some cool signs attached to them.....

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I'd been eyeing the mountain chain to the south of Susanville so now we drove southeast on Highway 395 and stopped in at Janesville, California to check out Thompson Peak (9,003') located in Plumas National Forest.....

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It was just one more peak with a road to the summit and a fire tower on the top. For a change of pace I disconnected the Jeep and did some four wheeling. The road was pretty rough near the summit so we walked the short distance to the top.....

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Of course the views were great.....mostly pines to the west and desert to the east.....real pretty area it was.....

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The tower was pretty cool as well.....

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We camped at the base of the mountain and the following morning we continued south, but I decided to head back into the forest near Milford, California. Another day hiking in Plumas National Forest.....

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This time we camped much higher up in the mountains.....the road was rough for my rig.....

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Close by our campsite was a sign saying that the Black Mountain Lookout Tower was further up the mountain. And so it was (and I can hardly believe at this point how many lookout towers I've seen) that we unhooked the Jeep and got in some more four wheeling.....

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Now I believe that this may be the first tower that allowed access to the decking that surrounded the tower.....

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This platform couldn't be more than ten feet or so from ground level.....and maybe that explains it. But inside we saw beds, a table, an oven.....everything you'd need to overnight there. Some research online tells me that you can rent this tower for $60 per night. Too steep for this guy but I'll bet it would be a real nice night up there.....

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All this four wheeling didn't keep me from my hiking. I dream of spotting a mountain lion one day so I wander throughout the boulder fields.....

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I've been having some issues with my Safeway / Walmart water bottles as of late so I made a decision to drive into Reno, Nevada and visit an REI store to see if I could find water containers made of a thicker plastic.....mine continue to spring leaks whenever I go off pavement, and sometimes on pavement too.....

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Unfortunately they couldn't help with that problem but met some nice people there.....they allowed me to stay on their lot for a few nights. We checked out Reno.....this hotel has an amazing climbing wall.....

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The Truckee River runs through downtown Reno.....

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Could be the best bus station sign I've ever seen.....

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So I'm wandering around downtown Reno during the afternoon and come across the National Bowling Association Museum.....who would have thought there was such a place ?

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I'm not a bowler and I'm really not all that into museums but I had to see inside this place.....

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There were pictures of famous bowlers plastered everywhere throughout the museum. I thought the place was odd.....I lasted just a few minutes.....

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A beautiful church I saw downtown.....

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I wanted to see the city night lights so I stayed as the sun was setting.....

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And then I walked the streets of Reno.....

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I enjoyed my stay in Reno, Nevada.....

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Should of said hello! Shoot me a message of where your headed I can point you out some cool spots. We hit three lookout on sat just outside of Reno. Verdi Peak, Babbit Peak and Sardine Peak.
 
Sierra Valley.....it crossed my mind but it was a last minute decision (as are many and most of my plans) so I just didn't think it was appropriate to contact you. Maybe another time and the offer is greatly appreciated.....

As accommodating as REI was to us, and as much as I enjoyed visiting Reno, Nevada, two nights camped in a parking lot was plenty.....so now we headed back into California where we would stay in the Eldorado National Forest on the southwest side of Lake Tahoe. We passed through Cave Rock as we descended the Sierra Nevada mountain range to the shores of Lake Tahoe.....

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After passing through Cave Rock, I had to stop and just sit by the lake and take in the magnificence of Lake Tahoe.....

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With the help of iOverlander, we found a spot and set up camp in a Sno-Park in the national forest, right on the banks of Taylor Creek, and just a short walk to the shores of Lake Tahoe. Hiking the following morning I saw this sign.....

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It's one of my most rewarding moments in the forest when I come across a bear.....this sign gave me hope. We hiked south along Taylor Creek's meandering creek bed and after a few miles came onto Fallen Leaf Lake.....yet another magnificent lake in the forest.....

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Hiking between our campsite and Fallen Leaf Lake revealed numerous signs of bear activity.....

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On the second day I witnessed 4 coyotes drinking at Fallen Leaf Lake.....they ran at my sight.....it's always a thrill to see any and all wildlife.....

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There were great hiking trails throughout the entire area. We attempted to circumnavigate Fallen Leaf Lake that afternoon but we were thwarted by "No Trespassing" signs and logs placed across our trail. In the background of the next photo you can see Mount Tallac (9,738'), rising 3,500' above the valley below.....we would climb that mountain the following day.....

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This cabin built decades ago along the shores of Fallen Leaf Lake would be a dream home for me.....

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As I near my 400th day on the road I'm looking forward to the day I settle down again.....

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Ace Brown

Adventurer, Overland Certified OC0019
That cabin looks pretty rough. Was it abandoned? If not they sure need to get busy cleaning up that yard. It’s a fire hazard.

Figured out where your going to settle yet?




Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Our climb to the summit of Mount Tallac did not begin from a trailhead.....a local said we could shortcut from our campsite on a rarely used side trail.....he was wrong, therefore Tanner and I bushwacked our way up a steep mountain slope covered in thorn bushes and other scrub brushes.....

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Eventually we would intersect with the main trail and begin a much easier hike up.....we would enter the Desolation Wilderness Area.....

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We passed by Cathedral Lake as we ascended the mountain.....

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Everything I read about this hike said that I should be prepared for miles of rock.....and that's exactly what we found.....

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Stellar views of Lake Tahoe and Fallen Leaf Lake as you looked to the east.....

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This is a busy mountain.....it was a weekend.....and we were one among a large crowd on the summit. It was festive and I met people from all over the world on top of that mountain.....

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It was cold and windy up there.....but Tanner and I loved every second of our success.....

And a late sunset shot while camped near Lake Tahoe.....

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Ace.....the cabin was abandoned and yep it was pretty rough. I see a great project and hours of fun bringing it back to it's original condition. The forest service is actively cleaning up the forest along Taylor Creek to reduce the fire hazards (see the picture below). And no, I have no idea where I'll settle down.....but I do love Montana.....

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Along the southern shores of Lake Tahoe and over a century ago stood an illegal casino with a dining hall and cabins that was accessed only by boats as roads were not yet quite to this point. The forest service and volunteers from around the world have done a remarkable job of restoring this entire venue. One of my favorite cabins.....

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Trails abound here and once again the forest service has done an outstanding job with the informative signs posted along the trails. These were some of my favorites.....please check them out.....

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One day while we were along the shoreline a forest fire broke out on the north end of Lake Tahoe.....

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And it would be remiss of me not mention the beautiful, grand trees that remain in Eldorado National Forest.....

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I originally thought that I'd spend a night here, then move south.....nearly a week later we finally packed and moved on. No doubt a man could spend months or years exploring this amazing sanctuary.....

*****Just a side note here to say that I hiked nearly 90 miles during my stay here....I never saw a single bear.....
 
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