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Exploring, naming the unnamed trail

BY SAM BAUMAN

Heavenly’s Job Fairs Saturday and Tuesday did big business with lines winding all around the Cal Base Lodge.

Saturday was a real jam with more cars in the parking lot than much of the ski and boarding season. But Heavenly did its best to make the long lines tolerable with free candy and soft drinks. Ski school signup was easier if you were a former ski or board instructor there, so we got out in an hour. Let’s see, do I remember how to teach the wedge?

Sierra-at-Tahoe will hold its job fair this Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. All positions are open.

HISTORY ON THE HILL

One of the many pleasures of hiking around the Sierra Nevada is finding a trail that is either unknown to most or isn ‘t even a standard path. One that I have enjoyed in the past is unnamed — at least to me. And it has a bit of history connected toit.

Let’s call it the Spooner Bypass, for lack of an official name. The start is at a barred gate just past the Spooner Summit on Hisghway 50. You go over the summit and pass Highway 29 to Incline Village and a few hundred yards along you’ll see the barred gate on the right. (On the left is another trail and an area where you can cut Christmas trees in November,) You can park right there.

No signs or anything, just a fragmented road heading down hill. On the left Hishway 50 traffic roars along; on the right is a constantyly changinsg scene: wooded hillsides with occasional towers of rocks, suitable for climbers looking for something new. The road is all downhill here and the pavement is battered and spotty but easy walking.

At one point you’ll come to a wide curve in the road. This once upon a time was the site of a hotel and a store, where travelers often stoped on their way west. A few foundation stones are about the only remains of it all.

After about a mile you’ll come to a barrier. On the other side is a housing development, a gated community apparently. The highway stops there.

So once there you have to retrace your steps back to the gate. When you get there you might wonder what the road was all about. That’s the history side of this walk. The road is the remains of the old Lincoln Highway, the span that once was the way to drive across the nation. That was in the 1940s and ’50s; when I was in the Air Force I drove from Lowry Air Force Base in Denver to San Francisco en route the Japan, and while I  have no memory of driving that part of Nevada, I must have done it.

Of course, there are other Lincoln Highway leftovers around our area. Farther along 50 is a development with a Safeway supermarket. Behind that market are more remains of the old Linclon Highway, and east of Carson are many pieces of the Lincoln road. There’s even a Lincoln Highway association on the Web at lincolnhighwayasso.org.

FOR THE BIRDS

Quail and waterfowl season is underway throughout November at Pahranagat National Wildlife Refuge off U.S. 93 just south of Alamo. Ducks and geese increase with large concentrations of pintails and Canada geese in the North Marsh during the waterfowl season. Mule deer migrate from the surrounding mountains, often followed by mountain lions. In December, osprey and bald eagles can be observed on the Upper Pahranagat Lake and migrating Northern harriers abound and can be see gliding low over fields in search of prey. Contact the refuge, (775)725-3417.

PIE IN THE SKY

Here are the theoretical opening days for some local mountain resorts: November 22,  Northstar-at-Tahoe. See http://www.northstarattahoe.com or (800) GO-NORTH; November 22, winter operations begin at Squaw Valley. see http://www.squaw.com or call (530) 583-6985; November 26, Alpine Meadows, see http://www.skialpine.com or call (530) 583-4232. All dates are tagged with weather and conditions permitting, so don’t count on it.

SKI, SNOWBOARD SWAP

The 44th Annual North Tahoe Ski & Snowboard Swap takes place Saturday 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the North Tahoe Middle and High School gym in Tahoe City. Arrive early for the best deals on equipment, clothes and gear. Admission is $1 for adults and 50 cents for kids. See.GoTahoeNorth.com.

FIRST OF THE SEASON

Boreal plays host to the 4th Annual Jibassic Pro Invitational Saturday with gates opening at 2 p.m. Some of the country’s best snowboarders and skiers will be competing for a $6,000 cash purse prize and airline tickets. For those itching to shred, Boreal will have a public jib park set up, 2 to 6 p.m., for $5. Of course, Arapaho Basin in Colorado has been open for a couple of weeks, but Boreal is first here.