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Exploring the Back Roads of Nevada: Thomas Creek

Updated on January 13, 2014
Thomas Creek
Thomas Creek | Source

Our Year Living at the Foothills

About a year and a couple of months ago my wife and I had found ourselves losing the comfort of a rental that had provided for my son and the birth of my daughter. My wife was pregnant with our third child and due to the sudden nature of the move we did not have a lot of money for a new rental.

The stress was mounting as we searched high and low and found only small two bedroom apartments in the not very nice areas of Reno, Nevada.

Erika was raised near the foothills of the Sierra's and her parents owned a home nestled in the sagebrush only a stones throw from the pine of the mountains. One day, during the height of our worry, we found an add for a rental in the foothill region that was close to what we were prepared to pay.

We called the owner, who knew Erika's parents, and was willing to give us a break on rent. We drove out and realized that the home, a small three bedroom house worn to the bone, was only walking distance from our in laws.

We took the chance and moved into the house within days. Little did we know that living in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada's was not all fun and games. Intense winters, coyotes, difficult dirt roads, and severe weather made the stay not only challenging but educational.

Yet, with the support of our in laws a walk away we survived and Elias, our third child, was born, and we were able to save up enough money to buy a home in the Washoe Valley.

Thomas Creek Campground
Thomas Creek Campground | Source
Aspens at Thomas Creek
Aspens at Thomas Creek | Source

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Humboldt National Forest

On days when I was not working and Erika was feeling up to a journey, we would throw the dog and the kids into our Explorer and head up a few miles to the foot of the mountains where Humboldt National Forest land is located.

Within this forest lies Thomas Creek Campground and trailheads. Erika was raised on these trails. Her mom would bring their five dogs to run through the trees and her dad loved to run the trails into the mountains.

There is nothing that compares to the peace and solitude of an old pine forest as you walk slowly on the trails from one Aspen grove to the next.

The Humboldt National Forest is located in northern, our neck of the woods, and eastern Nevada. The forest lies in Elko, White Pine, Humboldt, Nye, and Lincoln counties and covers about 43.5% of the total area listed above.

Humboldt National Forest ranger district offices are located in Ely, Elko, Wells, and Winnemuca nevada.

The trails at Thomas Creek fall into this Humboldt National Forest land and offer a wide variety of hiking that can be explored everyday through ones lifetime.

Thomas Creek Campground
Thomas Creek Campground | Source

A Brief History of Mount Rose

The trails of Thomas Creek take the hiker into the Mount Rose Wilderness and will bring the hiker to the Mount Rose Summit. There are days of trails that lead into this mountain.

Our home at the foothills was located in the shade of this mountain and we felt the hard weather that occurs when you live in a sparse sagebrush filled area located a little ways below the pine line.

Mount Rose is located in the Carson Range east of the California-Nevada border and is located within the Mount Rose Wilderness.

Mount Rose is an extinct volcano and one could follow Nevada State Route 431, Mount Rose Highway, to the highest point in Washoe County. From the top of the mountain one can see Lake Tahoe on one side and Reno and the Washoe Valley on the other.

Dr. James Edward Church established America's first high-altitude meteorological observatories, the Mount Rose Observatory in 1905.

My family has enjoyed this drive in the winter and the spring. The views on the way are always spectacular.

Skiing at Mt. Rose Ski Resort

I learned to ski as a toddler and enjoyed the sport throughout my life, even racing on the Douglas Ski Team, my High School Team. The Douglas Ski Team met to race at Mount Rose Ski Resort.

Mount Rose Ski Resort is located 30 miles south of Reno at the summit of the Mount Rose Highway. The base elevation of the resort is around 8,260 ft. and the summit is 9,700 ft. The resort itself is around 1,200 acres of great groomed trails and tree skiing opportunities.

The resort opened in 1953 and was called the "Reno Ski Bowl" and opened as the Mount Rose Ski Resort in 1964.

A new lodge was opened recently called Winters Creek Lodge that can hold 200 indoor guests. A few hundred guest seats are available and the rest has space at the bar. The new lodge has a 7,623 square foot deck that can hold up to 400 skiers.

Mount Rose Ski Resort has been a local favorite since it opened and makes the perfect meeting place to gather with fellow Reno residents.

So at the foot of Mount Rose we found great hiking during the hiking months on the trails of Thomas Creek and then great skiing during the winter months.

I have not included the fact that over the summit lies Lake Tahoe, one the biggest clear water lakes in the west.

I hope one day you can make it to Reno Nevada and enjoy the hiking and skiing that Mount Rose has to offer, until then I will see you again with the next installment of "Exploring the Back Roads..."

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    • jhamann profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Ann, I am keeping my eye open for more links with a few more "Exploring the Backroads...." I hope you have a great day. Jamie

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 

      4 years ago from SW England

      What a beautiful place! I love the Aspen trees; bit like autumn colours here. You're lucky to have lived in such a beautiful area.

      I'll put a link for this into my hubs in the series. Ann

    • jhamann profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      4 years ago from Reno NV

      I hope that all these hubs on Nevada will help to share with others the beauty of Northern Nevada and the Sierra Mountain Range. Thank you for leaving such thoughful comments and I hope to hear from you soon. Jamie

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      Correction: were fortunate to live in the foothills. I realize you have moved since then.

    • suzettenaples profile image

      Suzette Walker 

      4 years ago from Taos, NM

      This is wonderful and I think you and your family are fortunate to live in that house at the foothills of the Sierra's. Sounds romantic to me. I always associate Nevada with desert, so this was really interesting to read. And, to think there is skiing in Nevada. I skied years ago and the ski resort sounds lovely. Thanks so much for sharing this because I have never been to Nevada and living now in the midwest, I see I have had misconceptions about Nevada. Thanks for sharing this with us.

    • jhamann profile imageAUTHOR

      Jamie Lee Hamann 

      4 years ago from Reno NV

      Thank you Bill it is good to hear from you when you get here, I do understand the difficulty in keeping up. Jamie

      one2get2no-I enjoyed yours also and would like to include in my link list with the next one, coming soon. Jamie

    • one2get2no profile image

      Philip Cooper 

      4 years ago from Olney

      Really great hub...really enjoyed.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 

      4 years ago from Olympia, WA

      It took me awhile but I finally made it here, Jamie, and you didn't disappoint. Thank you for yet another great addition to the series. Well done!

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