White's Creek all dolled up for hiking

Out to try a new trail just opened by the Forest Service, instead I wound up one that has been around for a while but has recently been updated.

White's Creek trailhead is all dolled up with a spiffy new toilet facility, new signs and more parking. It should be a popular trek as it is close to Highway 395 and just south of Reno, off Mt. Rose Highway 431. Catch Timberline Drive north off 431 and follow it aout a mile to the exit for White's Creek. It's a mile to the trailhead.

This is one of those dual-purpose trails, offering a moderate hike of about 4 miles or an 8.3-mile loop that takes one toward the Galena park and back again to the trailhead. There's a map at the trailhead that shows the many possible routes and loops. Try to memorize the trails so that you can make a decisions about what's next on the route.

The shorter leg goes as far as the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area. This is mostly moderate hiking along the usual Sierra Nevada decomposed granite and rock trails. About a quarter-mile in one hears White's Creek frothing away as it comes to the edge of the path. On Labor Day the stream was healthy and vigorous and one could feel the cool air wafting over the trail from it.

Lots of stunning views of endless forest rolling up the mountains and even a few tiny wildflowers. The trail quickly narrows to single-file with a series of rolling bumps.

A big cairn with a log embedded marks the first side trail that goes over the creek. That's on the right; on the left one comes to the loop back to the main trail from Galena park.

All in all, nice not too demanding hike.

At about two miles up with the creek rolling along beside the trail a nice, new sign indicating the start of the Mt. Rose Wilderness area, things take on a more demanding nature. Right off there's a two-log bridge over the creek, followed by a steep uphill. If you're going to take the whole 8.3-mile trek this is where things get tougher.

The rest of the way is basically just slogging along, nice views, narrow trails up around the mountains on the left to Galena park and back, or to the right up to Thomas Creek. No loop back to the trailhead but you can hoof it down Timberline Drive back to White's.

Incidentally, the new trail that I was aiming at, Dry Pond Trail, is off Thomas Creek trail. I'll save that for next time.

-- Saturday, Sept.13 from 8 a.m. until noon, Diamond Peak will open its parking lot for its second annual Outdoor Gear Swap. Skis, snowboards, kayaks, golf clubs, any type of outdoor gear is welcome as long as it fits into one parking space. Large boats or RVs will be not be allowed. There is no entry fee and Diamond Peak will not keep any commission. All items must be removed from the parking lot at the end of the swap.

The Diamond Peak Ski Education Foundation will have a bake sale set up featuring Krispy Kreme doughnuts and Starbucks coffee. A car wash will be held in the upper parking lot. Call (775) 832-1177 or visit diamondpeak.com.

-- Competitors of all levels taking part in the second annual Tahoe Big Blue Adventure Race will have the opportunity to hone their skills one day prior to the event with race clinics in North Lake Tahoe Friday, Sept. 12.

The Tahoe Big Blue, presented by the North Lake Tahoe Resort Association, includes kayaking, trail running, mountain biking, navigation, orienteering and high ropes skills and attracts competitors of all levels, including first-time adventure racers. The clinic will entail an orienteering session at Northstar-at-Tahoe, followed by a kayaking clinic and general question and answer at the Tahoe Vista Boat Launch (at the corner of Highway 28 and National Avenue). Orienteering instruction begins at 2 p.m.

More than 300 racers will compete as individuals and teams of two to four people (all male, all female and co-ed).

For details or to register, log on to www.bigblueadventure.com.

-- The season pass deal in the Serra just got even better as Sierra-at-Tahoe and Northstar-at-Tahoe discounted their Double Whammy Child Season Passes by up to $100.

The unlimited child season pass, previously priced at $199, can now be purchased for just $99. The pass is valid any day of the season at both resorts, with no restrictions. The limited season pass, previously priced at $99, has been reduced to $69. This pass is valid any day at Sierra and any day excluding blackout dates at Northstar.

The child passes are available to children ages 5-12 through Sept. 30 or until sold out. Children 4 and under ski free at both resorts.

Passes can be purchased online at DoubleWhammyPass.com or by calling Sierra-at-Tahoe at (530) 659-7453 or Northstar-at-Tahoe, (800) GO-NORTH.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.

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