GERLACH -- After hiking and biking the 165-mile Tahoe Rim Trail in a little under four days, four Nevada Appeal adventurers cruised into their third and fourth challenges Friday with relative ease.
"This is like a day of rest compared to the Rim Trail," said sportswriter Jeremy Evans after he and his compadres barreled down Sand Mountain near Fallon on sand boards and then sped through the Black Rock Desert playa on off-road skateboards.
Day 5 of the Nevada Appeal's 10-in-10 challenge was indeed a break from the fatigue and blisters of the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Evans, Appeal copy editor Karl Horeis, photographer Rick Gunn and Las Vegas Review-Journal photographer K.M. Cannon say they're now confident they can complete the 1,600-mile challenge across Nevada at 10 areas considered by the Nevada Commission of Tourism to be the best outdoor challenges in the state.
"I can't believe I'm getting paid to ride a skateboard across the desert and slide down the side of a mountain on a sand board," Horeis said. "Today was by far easiest part of the trip."
Gunn called Monday through Thursday's Tahoe Rim Trail and Flume Trail Ride, "long, brutal and painful.
Friday's trip to the playa, the site of Burning Man, was indeed unique. Each adventurer were pulled behind a four-wheel drive Suburu at speeds of 20 miles per hour at distances of two miles
"It's a lot like water skiing," Gunn said. "Except a car pulls you and that you're not on water but on the floor of where a lake used to be."
Cannon, who lives in Las Vegas but is no stranger to Northern Nevada as a former Appeal photographer, said the sand board adventure early Friday morning near Fallon was spectacular. The object of the Sand Mountain adventure is to climb the 600-foot mountain of sand and, like a snowboard, carve down the mountain.
"You see this mountain of sand and you start hiking it, only you're going up two steps and one step back," Cannon said. "You're watching the sand behind you collapse and you're saying to yourself 'I didn't move a foot.'
Once on top of the mountain, Cannon said, he thought it would be a lot like snowboarding, but it wasn't.
"Not at all. It is entirely different," Cannon said.
The trip, which is sponsored by the Nevada Appeal, also outdoor editor Don Quilici and his wife, Elaine, serve as chaperons, drivers and cooks for the adventurers.
"These guys are truly awesome, and it's something else that they are pulling this together," Elaine Quilici said. "I've noticed that when they come back after their day, they talk about how teamwork got them through the day. It will take teamwork from here on out, but I'm sure they'll finish.
As driver of the Appealmobile -- a 28-foot RV that carries the six of them, plus bicycles, sand boards, skateboards, and enough food for 10 days -- Quilici said Friday he's ready for the next adventure.
"They've done great so far. I think Day 2, where they did 57 miles of hiking and biking, that was the litmus test for them," he said. "We have four (adventures) down and six to go. I'll get them there. All they have to do is do it."
Today the adventurers will mountain bike the 20-mile Bloody Shins Trail near Winnemucca.
Quote of the Day:
"What a day. I've snowboarded on sand. I've skateboarded on the floor of a beautiful desert. I'll be back out here after it's all over." -- Karl Horeis.