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26 years old, again...
For MEeee, this was my first overnighter in more than 50 years. Yes, I am 76 years old.
This is a shuttle hike. I parked my vehicle at the Thomas Creek Trailhead & had a friend drop me off at the Mt Rose Trailhead.
You, most likely, will be able to hike this trail in one long day. I've included specific places en route where you can use your water filter to top off bottles/bladder.
I began 0800 Monday Morning, July 6th 2020 at the Mt Rose Trailhead & reached the end of the 23-mile hike which concluded at the Thomas Creek Trailhead @1615, Tuesday afternoon, July 7th 2020.
PortaJohns only At Mt Rose & Thomas Creek trailheads. Bring your own toilet paper.
Mt Rose Trailhead (N39.31289° W119.89755°) @8,737' elevation was my starting point. I was carrying a 22# backpack that included food, 12oz of water, shelter, air mattress, sleeping bag, & extra layers of clothing. I planned to filter water into my backpack's bladder when I came to water sources along the trail. I began the hike fully hydrated, the temperature was in the low 60ºs with a gentle breeze. I added sunscreen to my face B4 starting my hike; I wore a long-sleeve polypro top & a lightweight Buff Headgear around my neck all day, which I pulled up over my face when passing other hikers.
There are only a couple hundred feet of elevation gain/loss in the first 2.5 miles, from Mt Rose Trailhead to Galena Waterfall, a perennial waterfall that is a popular turn around spot for some. The trail has a nice tree canopy along most of the way to Galena Waterfall. You'll see trail signs pointing the way along the Rim to Reno trail, the first sign will appear near the Galena Waterfall.
Day 1 - Monday July 6th 2020
0920 - I arrived at Galena Waterfall, took the obligatory photo then moved along the open trail which parallels the North side of a meadow. Once past the meadow, the trail begins an ascent up a tree-canopied draw.
1030 - I arrived at a little trickle of water identified as Water Source #1 (N39.33727° W119.92412°) @9,368' where I added 22oz of water to the bladder inside my backpack as well as quenching my thirst. (see my photo of Water source #1)
1145 - I topped out of the draw @ 9,672' & came to the signpost, one trail up to Mt Rose, & the trail North pointing to Rim to Reno Trail. At this point, I'd always proceed on the trail up to Mt Rose Summit. From this point on would be new territory along the Rim To Reno Trail for MEeee.
Once I'd topped out, I began a gradual descent down toward Bronco Creek. The trail was tree-canopied most of the way, a well-maintained trail that was easy to follow.
1237 - I arrived at Bronco Creek (N39.34713° W119.93197°) @9,337' elevation & proceeded to filter another 30oz of water into the bladder. From this point the trail began to ascend, most of the trail under a tree canopy & parts of the trail paralleled high rock faces several hundred feet above the trail. There is a series of 8 switchbacks on this ascent.
1609 - I finally topped out @9,735'& began a Northerly direction along the rim.
1634 - I arrived in the proximity of The Lone Ranger geocache, moved to ground zero & there it was right where it was supposed to be. Continuing past the geocache the trail has been built into the sides of a 60% slope for several miles. All along this portion of the trail, I kept looking for a level place I could overnight, but the steep slope above & below the trail negated that notion.
1900 - I finally spotted a relatively level spot & just in the nick of time because the sun was setting & I needed to set up camp where I would be overnighting. My campsite (N39.39382° W119.93504°) was at 9,736' a couple of hundred feet below the mountain top. The soil under the tree canopy is soft humus & I realized I needed to find some heavy rocks to put on top of my tent stakes in case it got windy. I no sooner finished staking & guying out my tent when the wind began to pick, just gusty at first & I noticed the temperature was falling. Almost before I realized it I started shivering & the gusty winds became ferociously strong bending strong, big, tall trees like they were leaves. I finished my hot Peak Refuel Freeze-Dried meal inside my tent along with a hot cup of coffee. Both warmed my disposition, but not my body. I took off everything except my polypro base layer, top & bottom, slipped into a clean pair of 100% merino wool socks, donned a thick Buff Headgear that covered my neck, head, & face in a balaclava configuration, put a 100% Military Watch cap over the balaclava, crawled into my sleeping bag & began to feel warm from head to feet. My sleeping bag was on top of my NeoAir XLite - Women's inflatable air mattress. No matter how much or how hard the wind blew, my REI Quarter Dome SL 1 tent stood strong. The tent buffetted a little from time to time; overall much less than I was expecting. The howling ferociously gusting winds blew for hours & I was unable to sleep, at least I was warm & sheltered. At some point, I woke up as light began to shine through my tent. When I emerged from my tent the weather was calm, a nice gentle breeze that I could feel was warming up. After a Peak Refuel breakfast & a cup of hot coffee, I broke camp, repacked everything then started up the trail.
Day 2 - Tuesday July 7th 2020
0842; Much to my surprise, I felt good, had spring in my step, a glint in my eye, & swagger in my strides. I now knew, for the first time, that I was going to be able to successfully finish this hike sometime this afternoon.
0849 - I arrived in the proximity of Ginkgo Tree geocache, moved to ground zero & there it was right where it's supposed to be. From this point on the trail descended through a series of switchbacks. The trail was now open & I was exposed to the sun, applied sunscreen to my nose, & periodically enjoyed some snacks consisting of a variety of dried fruits, nuts, & some M&M's. The trail was very well maintained, give credit to whoever built & maintained the Rim to Reno Trail.
1200 - I ran out of water
1300 - I arrived at the highest water source along the Thomas Creek trail identified as Water Source #3 (N39.396751° W119.905997°) @ 7,781' elevation. Filtered 20oz of water into the bladder, drank my fill of the refreshingly cold water soused my lightweight Buff Headgear in the stream, & put it on my head in a Sharine configuration. It felt good having the water evaporating & keeping my head cool while hiking directly under the sun.
I came to a couple more water sources at lower elevations, each time I doused my Buff Headgear in the water then put it on my head.
1420 - I arrived at Water Source #5 (N39.39612° W119.87986°) @ 6,986' elevation which crosses a road & again stopped to filter some water into the bladder & into MEeee. This water source is adjacent to the Thomas Meadows residential area.
1610 - I arrived at the Thomas Creek Trailhead (N39.39217° W119.83800°) @5,958' elevation. A quarter-mile further & I arrived where I'd parked my vehicle. When I settled into the front seat & waiting for the air-conditioning to begin cooling the vehicle's interior I enjoyed a little leftover coffee from a thermos.
I truly felt euphoric at having accomplished this overnighter & felt I could hike another 10+ miles tomorrow. Once back inside the bunker I unpacked, took a nice long, hot shower, then treated myself to a nice 10oz Salmon Filet.
Check out the Official Route and Triplog.
This is a moderately difficult hike.