Arc Dome, Mount Jefferson, Mount Patterson


By: Linda McDermott, Phil and Evelyn Reher


ARC DOME by Linda:
Jim Hinkley and I had taken off late Thursday night and had time to explore the Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park just above where we met the Rehers and the rest of the usual DPS suspects. Berlin was the home of both the Diana and Berin Mines, in the Union Mining District, which was established in 1864 to mine silver. The town of Berlin prospered until 1911 with 200-250 people including miners, woodcutters, charcoal makers, a doctor, nurse, forest ranger and a prostitute. The buildings are closed, with identifying markers telling about former occupants, and other historical data.

The Ichthyosaur portion of the park is North America's most abundant concentration and largest known Ichthyosaur fossils. These apparently were prehistoric marine reptiles that ranges in size from about two to over fifty feet in length and look like a huge whale with teeth. There is an exhibit hall there with windows to observe the fossils.

After visiting the park, we met the Rehers, Randy Ragland, Judy Hummerick, Richard Whitcomb, Lori Lando and Eric Beck. When we drove through the very small community of Ione and stopped at the 1864 bar there to get soft drinks. It was a time warp to find us in this historic bar and to watch the first photographs from Mars on their television. Graham Breakwell and two friends were already waiting at an area below Columbine Campground. With all the wine, firewood, and good people, I found myself laughing for hours - a great gathering.

A very special thank you to Phil and Evelyn Reher for getting us all UP and DOWN Arc Dome safely. We climbed this peak on July 5, 1997, a year from the date we supposed to climb it when I broke my ankle on Ruby Dome July 4, 1996. I had been very nervous about getting the peak because it represented completing a very interesting year for me, and now to move forward on finishing that DPS peak list!

Jim Hinkley had no choice (car-pooler that he was) than to high-tail it over with me to meet Tom Sumner (who was driving down from Lake Tahoe) along the Burcham Flat Road to do Patterson on Sunday morning. True to his word, Tom was there with wine glass and his wonderful good humor in hand to meet us on a gorgeous spot looking out to the Sierras. We found firewood, then laughed and talked for hours.

The next morning, just above Lobdell Lake we parked my 2WD, hopped into Tom's 4WD and got almost to the designated parking spot. Tom said the road was in much worse shape than when he did the peak in 1994, and we had to stop because of snow just above the regular spot. There were probably a half dozen stream/wet spots to cross - my 2WD drive made all but the last one above Lobdell Lake. On the hike, we were able to avoid snow on the hike except for a few short spots. I took loads of pictures on the trip because it was such a spectacular area, with not a cloud in the sky. We were able to follow the old jeep trail all the way. The lupine, buttercups, Indian paint brush, and phlox were all spectacular, as were the birds we stopped to listen to.

My thanks to Tom for taking the time to meet us and help me up yet one more peak, and to Jim for enduring the long car rides.

Arriving back at the camp site from Arc Dome, Linda and Jim went off to meet Tom to climb Patterson, Graham Breakwell and friends stayed another night below Columbine Campground and Randy headed home. Lori Lando and Eric Beck had left the group on the summit of Arc Dome to get a head start on their long drive to do Rudy Dome the following day. That left Evelyn, Judy, Richard and I for the great adventure of driving over to Jefferson. Luckily I had talked to the Toiyabe National Forest outback ranger (Virgil Meeks) earlier in the month (special thanks to Vic and Sue Henney for the phone number and name). He had drawn a short cut from Arc Dome to Jefferson on a Nevada map he had sent to me along with other information.

The route can be found on the Toiyabe National Forest map. At Reese River, you go south on the Upper Reese River Road, an excellent dirt and gravel road for about 30 to 35 miles. At a three-way fork, you go left for a couple of miles past the Cloverdale Ranch to an excellent dirt road intersection where you turn left again. At the next intersection you will see forest service signs and continue on straight towards the Peavine Campground road. At the intersection with the Peavine Campground road, you turn right and continue to the Nevada 376 highway. Turn left and stay on 376 for a short distance. At the turnoff to the town of Manhattan, turn right. Stay on this road through Manhattan and continue on to Belmont. From Belmont follow the DPS guide directions.

We arrived at Jefferson Summit about 8:00 p.m. that evening, having seen a nice four-point buck on the way in. In the morning I loaded everyone in our pickup then Judy, Richard and I started off for the peak. The hike was straightforward and we were on the peak and back to the car within three hours. I must confess that I failed to implement Linda's instructions. The Bartells had been on the peak earlier in the week and had notified Linda through a series of complicated communications that there was no register on Jefferson. Linda had given me a register to place on the peak, but in my hurry to get to the peak (anyone every have peak fever - it was running high then) I forgot the register, so if anyone is doing Jefferson in the near future, you might consider taking along a register.

Special thanks to Judy Hummerick and Richard Whitcomb for accompanying me on the hike of Jefferson and a special thanks to my wife Evelyn (she already had the peak) for allowing me to get Jefferson. She was in a lot of sinus pain from the blooming sagebrush and slept very little Friday and Saturday nights. When I offered to forgo Jefferson and head for home after Arc Dome she would not hear of it. She instead said to get that peak - "I don't want to come back to the sagebrush again!"

Note of interest:
We found a good restaurant in Tonopah on the west end of town called the Sundowner. I talked to one of the local sheriff deputies there and he informed me that if you need a helicopter lift out of the Toiyabe National Forest, odds are you might get the same team from Fallon Naval Station as Linda McD got last year. Seems Fallon does most of their backcountry rescues too.

Detailed information for visiting one or more peaks mentioned in this article can be found in the
Desert Peak Section Road and Peak Guides

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