Nopah Range, Pahrump Point
By: Charlie Knapke, John Cheslick
Six people signed up for this trip. At the last minute Devra begged off due to the passing of a good friend. She opted to attend services on Saturday. Everyone else showed up at the meeting place, Shoshone, on time. Since there was some dirt road into the Nopah Range starting point, we piled into the three 4WD vehicles and off we went.
We experienced our only problem of the entire weekend on the drive to the first peak. The dirt road ended about 1-1/2 miles too soon. After driving around the area for a while, we finally solved this mystery. A new fork has appeared 1-1/2 miles from the pavement. The main dirt road appears to go right at this point. Hikers will want to go left.
After finding the correct parking spot, we set off across the desert about 7:45 a.m. I've always found hiking across the desert floor to be very interesting - for about the first 15 minutes. That's about how long it takes to see every kind of plant life that exists between you and your immediate destination.
After reaching the base of the Nopah Mountain Range, we paused to discuss which route to take. We elected to take the A route which avoided the class three waterfalls. This route turns out to be very straightforward. The guide is quite accurate about the landmarks encountered. We reached the summit at about 11:30 a.m. The wind had risen and it was getting cloudy. A front was due in from the north. When we had finished lunch we were getting chilled so we beat a hasty retreat to the cars.
We then headed back into Shoshone for happy hour. Several of us intended to eat at the Crowbar in Shoshone that evening so we set up happy hour in the large dirt lot across the highway. It was probably the most unusual event that happened in that town all month. Everyone that past by waved and two people stopped to find out what we were giving away free. We offered them chips and dip.
At this point Linda said goodbye and headed for home. Chris and Jim decided that it was too early for dinner and headed for Tecopa Hot Springs for a bath. Donna, John, Burton and I headed across the street. Donna headed for the ladies room which is outside. As John and I entered the front door, two young ladies in the back screamed "White Men!". John and I paused and looked at each other; this was not the Crowbar Cafe that we remembered from our last trip in this area. Dinner turned out to be continuous entertainment from these two young ladies. One was the cook/waitress for the cafe while the other was tending bar in the adjoining establishment. They seemed to take great delight in telling outlandish lies about each others character. Despite all this the food was better than the stories I had heard in the past.
At 7:00 a.m. the next morning we met at the mud-flats and departed for Pahrump. Donna had already done the peak and decided to take the day off. That left the five guys. An effect of the Desert Bill was that the wilderness boundary near Pahrump Point is just a few yards off the highway in Chicago Valley. Sure enough we found two posts here. One was the typical green BLM wilderness boundary posts. The other was one of the new red posts indicating a closed route. We parked along the highway and hiked in from there. John led since he had done the peak before. He did a great job. In fact we completed the hike in just under 4-1/2 hour round trip. This is faster than the peak guide time from the old parking place. The weather was actually better than on Saturday; no sign of the storm front.
We then went our own ways. When I dropped John off at the mud-flats, we found that Donna had been entertaining a boy scout troop that was visiting the area. The participants were Donna Cheslick, Linda McDermott, Chris Newcomber, Jim Conley and Burton A. Falk. Special thanks goes to John for his assistance.
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