20-Aug-2008 -- First of all, I am embarrassed that I have not visited this confluence before now. I lived in Reno, just 50 miles south, the first four years of my confluence hunting career and had visited all the confluences in Nevada (except the ones requiring special access or a boat) before moving to the east coast. Admittedly this is a difficult one, but I was in a lot better shape then than I am now. Be all that as it may, here I am.
Cheryl and I were attending her biannual family reunion, this year at Lake Tahoe. Her son, Greg, had to take his girlfriend back to the airport in Reno on Wednesday so he and I continued on north from the airport to Doyle and the confluence at 40N 120W. We were driving Cheryl’s Honda CRV so the plan was to drive as far as possible on the road going west off of Homestead Ranch Road mentioned by others in their reports. That may well have been a good plan, but I’m a little rusty on my off-road driving and was driving a strange vehicle, so when the road did a nose dive, I decided to accept the couple hundred feet of elevation gain accomplished to that point and go on foot from there. Unfortunately we were on the west side of the canyon and the confluence was on the east side. So plan B was to continue generally upward and toward the ridge northwest of the confluence and around to the other side, roughly the same as if we had continued on the road. Interestingly our traverse eventually met up with the road we might have been able to drive up. From there our approach was essentially the same as Hodges and Steuer from the west through the spring area and then around the peak to the confluence. Greg is in a lot better shape than I am so I was huffing and puffing a lot, but we finally made it to the confluence. We found the cairn (photo #5) and the “Twelve Zeros” cache left by Hodges and Steuer almost a year ago. Interestingly, we were the second ones to sign the log since it was left there in September of 2007. It was about then that I discovered that I had forgotten to put my camera back in my pack after a dashpoint visit we made on the way here from Reno. Fortunately Greg had his camera so all was not lost. Photo 1 shows the view north towards the top of the mountain. Photos 2 and 3 to the east and west give some idea of the slope of the terrain around the confluence. Photo 4 shows Greg and the magnificent view to the south.
We added our ceremonial flat rock atop the cairn marking the confluence and turned our attention to the return trek. We decided that it would be much faster and easier to take the more direct route back to the car, so we headed pretty much straight down the side of the mountain to the bottom of the canyon and followed the dry streambed back to the road. Then, of course we had to hoof it up the couple hundred feet we had gratefully accepted on our way in. I’ll have to say this is certainly one of the most difficult confluences I’ve visited.