I went up to Tikaboo today (January 23, 2005)
by Peter A. Forkes

Since I live in Vegas I figure I drive up to Tikaboo Peak today.

I set off and after I'd gone for about 10 miles I realized I'd left my camera at home but decided that it was a Sunday so I didn't bother going back to get it.

I had my Garmin eTrex on my dashboard connected to my notebook running Microsoft Streets & Trips 2005. Any relevant GPS co-ordinates I'd managed to find I had marked on the map.

When I got to the gate to the Pahrangat wildlife reserve I had a car tailgating me and so I had to drive past and turn around.

The gate was open and I checked the GPS co-ordinates I had marked on my PC and they were dead on. I set up Streets & Trips to draw a GPS trail so I could see the route I was talking.

A few feet past the gate I saw a sign on the right saying 'no vehicles' but that was for a track off to the right. A few feet after that was another 'no vehicles' sign, but that was also for a track to the right.

Just over half a mile along there is a cattle grid (I saw a fair amount of cattle along the route but if you slow way down as soon as you see them on the road they'll know what to do and get off the road. You'll also se a few cattle feeding troughs (the first one about 2 miles into the drive).

About 4 1/2 miles along there is a road that goes off to the right and I suspect that this may cut off a few miles of the drive and that this may be a road I've heard about that requires a 4x4 (which I was driving). This road continues heading south until it reaches the fork. You take the other prong of the fork (to the right) and turn around almost as if you are doubling back on yourself. (Coming back I thought Id see where the other direction goes, by going straight on. After about half a mile you reach a gate saying 'National Wildlife Refuge' and 'Unauthorized entry prohibited' - I didn't go through the gate).

Ok, so back to the route to Tikaboo Peak. The rest of the route is pretty much all northwest. With about 5 miles to go I started seeing the first signs of snow on the ground. As a drove further the snow got steadily worse and worse on the trail and I began looking for somewhere to turn around, as even though I was in 4-wheel drive I was still sliding a little more than I was comfortable with. A few miles on there was a large rock on the trail, so I had to get out and move it. About a quarter of a mile from Badger Spring I stopped the car and began to walk in the snow to find somewhere to turn around. A couple of hundred yards on I found somewhere, so I walked back to the car, drove the next 200 yards, turned around and began the drive back.

My concern was that I would get to a point where I could not safely go and not be able to turn around. I figure that if I had knowledge of the trail that I may have been able to reach the end, but I just didn't want to risk it in such poor road conditions.

The route back was harder, in the snow than it was getting there but having a map this time that showed me exactly where I was along the trail was helpful.

It took a little over an hour each way and one thing you want to hope for is that you don't meet a vehicle coming the other way.

On the way back I added markers to my map showing the various cattle feeders and water trough so I'll better know where I am.

It was disappointing that I didn't get to the end of the passable road as today's exercise was to get the route drawn on my map. Still, I'll be going back in May with the intent of climbing to the top of Tikaboo Peak.

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