Stumbling across a new handy trail |

Stumbling across a new handy trail

Following four llamas carrying the baggage for an outing of perhaps a dozen plein sol (open spaces) painters, I stumbled across a trail as handy as any I’ve found this season.

It’s at the parking area on the right heading west just past Picketts Junction on Highway 88. It’s the leftover pavement from the old Highway 88 amd it’s now a trail designed largely for fishers, complete with concrete platforms over the Carson River.

But beyond those platforms the old road continues, eventually linking up with the new Highway 88 several miles later. I was told that there’s a lovely little cutoff on the right going uphilll at a large gate. It’s not marked private so it’s a fine place to lose yourself in the Hope Valley beauty in a smallish valley.

It’s obviously a two-car hike, leaving one at the end of the old road where it meets the new, then driving back to the Hope Valley starting point. Sounds like something for this weekend.

Incidentally, there’s a sign along the trail telling how Hope Valley got its name. The Mormon Battalion, formed to help in the Mexican-American War, was making its way back to Salt Lake City and cut a trail in 1848 through what is now Kirkwood Ski Resort. It was a grueling climb, the highest pass used by the 49ers later at 9,100 feet. Writing in his journal on July 29, 1848, Henry William Bigler noted that after climbing the pass, “This was surely Hope Valley.”

At times Kirkwood opens the trail tracing the Mormon Battalion route and it’s a fascinating trek. The old trail is overgrown with trees, but at times you can still spot rust ground into rocks by the battalion’s wagons. And there are signs pointing the way along the “Mormon Street.” The trail comes through the back bowl of Kirkwood by Thimble Mountain. Try it next time Kirkwood opens it up. Which, of course, won’t be until next summer.

• You can sign up for this weekend’s mountain bike overnight trail work with Max Jones from Flume Trail Bikes. Tools are provided, main meals and beer as well – free. A good time ahead for 25-person limited crew, supported by Xterra. Meet at 8 a.m. at Sand Harbor on the east side of Lake Tahoe Saturday. Work will be complete by Sunday at 4 p.m. Contact (775) 749-5349 to sign up. Spots are limited. See for details.

•Alpine Meadows Ski Resort and Boreal Mountain Resort have partnered with Eric Rosenwald, the new terrain park manager for both North Shore resorts. As a former professional snowboarder, Rosenwald is one of the industry’s recognized pipe and terrain park designers.

“Because it’s at the bottom of the mountain, the terrain park location is so accessible. It even has its own lift. This is a great chance to give kids the terrain features that they want,” said Rosenwald. Call (530) 426-3666 .

•Kicking off Lake Tahoe Marathon Race Week is the Three-Day Triathlon beginning Thursday Oct. 7, featuring long-distance kayaking, cycling and swimming. There’s also the 72-Mile Bike Race and new 35-Mile Bike Race Friday.

For short distance runners, a 5K Race is scheduled for Sunday. A free Kids’ Fun Run will follow the 5K event with all kids receiving a medal and lunch at the finish line.

Call (530) 544-7095 or click to

Sam Bauman is a Nevada Appeal Staff Writer. Contact him at or 881-1236.