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Hiking Stats as of 11/21/2018
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 325
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Aug 15, 2014 - Bull Run Peak / Henry Peak / Peep Sight Peak / Lookout Peak

 

Partners: (None)

Distance: 15.37 miles

Elevation Gain: 4,371 feet

Trip Time: 7:59

Maps and Stats:
I had a big weekend planned, brought on by my hitting my vacation accrual cap at work which required that I take 3 days off in August and 2 days off in September (meaning many more great trips to come!!!). I don't usually spend nights away from home, instead making the long round trip drives and hikes within a single day. But with extra days off work, I didn't mind spending some time on the road.

I had Friday off work, and the plan was to spend a couple of relatively easy days hiking in the Sierra. I had time to walk the dogs Friday morning before heading up Highway 4 towards the Pacific Valley campground area. The plan was to do a 4 peak loop of Bull Run, Henry, Peep Sight and Lookout peaks. I had visited this area only a few months prior, but a late season snowstorm forced me to abandon my attempt after only bagging Bull Run Peak. Of these 4 peaks, only Lookout Peak is on any of the peak lists, and it would be my 35th OGUL Peak.

I left around 11 AM, and arrived at Pacific Valley at bit before 2 PM. Previously I had parked on Highway 4 as the access road was still snowed in, but today I was able to drive through the campground until I found a spot to park. Immediately after getting out of my car I noticed that I was in a campsite, and would have to pay to use it, so I moved the car about 25 feet in between the 2 "lanes" of the access road and parked there. That worked out well, as my car was undisturbed for the day. The trail follows a wide 4X4 road for the first mile or so, flanked on one side by a barbed wire fence which had given me a nasty cut when I inadvertently walked into it when it had been snow covered in my last visit. I was able to make really quick time, as the trail is easy to follow and isn't too steep. I saw the second peak on the day, Henry Peak, to my left as I continued towards Bull Run.

Last time I had some trouble crossing the stream to start going up towards Bull Run, but now the stream was just a trickle, and easy walked over. I was glad to see the trail continued up the hill, as I had lost the trail in the snow last time and had gone up the steeper slopes almost directly beneath Henry. The trail went just to the left of Bull Run, where it ended and the cross country portion of the day began. I headed for the back side of Bull Run, arriving at the familiar talus and rubble pile and went straight up. I veered a bit to far left, hit some cliffs, and had to circle back to the right to find a chute to get to the top. It was all good fun, and not at all too difficult. By 3:45 I popped out on top of the broad, flat summit area. I couldn't remember if there was a summit register, so I went looking but couldn't find anything. Oh well, I took some pictures, including the view towards Henry Peak, the next stop. Since I had already been up here before I didn't spend a lot of time, although not due to a lack of good views to be sure.

I left Bull Run, coming down essentially the same way that I had come up, and traveled cross country through the forest. This was the easiest of the days traverses, and little effort was required to get to the final summit push, where I arrived at 4:45. I found a geocache and signed in. I took some summit shots, including the view back to Bull Run and the view towards Peep Sight, the next objective on the day.

The descent from Henry was a bit trickier, as I now had to content with rocks which had not been present on the other side. Routefinding was a bit of a chore, as I had to find the correct line of ascent towards Peep Sight which isn't all that obvious at first. Looking back the cliffs of Henry showed a different side of the peak that had not been visible on the walk up that I had done. More forest travel ensued before breaking out onto a nearly bare hillside that had several small gorges cut over the years by streams. In this area I saw something that I'm still not sure what the purpose was - a bunch of salt on several rocks. A google search of this revealed no information, so the the mystery of why there would be salt on these rocks remains unsolved. Anyway, I made my way up towards the summit blocks but was a bit confused as to the correct route. I had though I would just go up, but cliffs guarded the most direct path. I wound up going to the right, which worked but as it turned out was not the best way. This brought me up and around to where I could bypass the cliffs at the very top and I was on the summit by 6:40. This portion of the traverse was by far more difficult than the Henry portion, but the views made it all worthwhile. Again, there was no summit register, so I took note of the last peak of the day, Lookout Peak, and got started down.

The hike over to Lookout was pretty tame, albeit it seemingly longer than it looked like it would be from the top of Peep Sight. Perhaps it was the sun rapidly setting over the shoulder of Lookout that had me a bit on edge. Apparently I stumbled through someone's campsite on the way, although I never saw or heard anyone around. This was easy going though, with a fun little class 2/3 section at the top. and I topped out on Lookout at 7:45, just in time to see the shadow of Lookout expand towards the distance. I could make out Bull Run in the distance, but didn't linger too long as the sun went down. I found the register and quickly signed in before having to make a critical decision. Clearly it was going to be dark before I got down. Did I want to take the shortcut down the other side of Lookout, but face cross country unknowns in the dark, or did I want to add a few miles to the trip by circling back to where a trail would lead from between Henry and Peep Sight down to the bottom? I chose the latter, and found the trail before needed to break out the headlamp. Even with the trail, the descent was a bit tricky, as I lost the trail several times, winding up among downed trees and rocky stream beds. Eventually the trail became more defined once the slope angle flattened out, but even still I was not back to the car until 10 PM. Oops. Now I was running late to get to the Toiyabe Motel in Coleville, and with no cell service available I could not call to ask them to hold the room. I kept trying to call, finally getting enough reception to make the call as I came down from Highway 89 towards 395, although by this time I was only 20 minutes away. I arrived at the Motel around 11:15 and was ready to get some sleep to prepare for tomorrow's hike.

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