by John Trent,Outpost contributor
One of the hardest things about Peavine - in addition to the unrelenting seven-mile climb to its 8,266-foot summit - is finding the right road to follow. This desert mountain, named in the 19th century for the wild peavine trees growing near the summit's natural springs, is a favorite of off-road vehicles. From afar, the mountain seems to have a series of undulating, deep white veins. They are the same slippery, sandy arteries you follow as you trudge to the summit. Says Jocelyn Biro, a recreation planner for the Toiyabe National Forest, which owns and supervises much of Peavine: "There are probably more roads on Peavine than any other resource we manage. They're everywhere. And every season, there are new ones." The Forest Service recently completed a management plan for Peavine, which includes recommendations for increased signage, maps for vehicular, foot and spoked travel and tips for lessening man's impacts on Peavine (above all else: there is no need to create any new roads, since there are obviously plenty of old roads to choose from).
"I try to do Peavine at least once a year," adds Jim Nicholson, a retired logging superintendent who lives in Reno. "It's a good test to see if you're still up for the challenge. You have to be patient. The mountain demands it."
Nicholson, 75, readily admits that the mountains to the south - the Carson Range, where such tree-nestled treasures as Hunter Lake await the hiker - are more aesthetically pleasing. Peavine, after all, is a brown mountain. The side Reno awakens to each morning isn't one that creates a poetic reaction. Not at first, anyway. "You can't beat the access," says Dale Beesmer, who moved to northwest Reno about three years ago - partly because Peavine and its many trails were so close. "It's within a five-minute drive of most of northwest Reno and probably only about a 10-minute drive from parts of southwest Reno." And, adds Nicholson, "There aren't many tests like it in your own backyard."
Posted Dec. 16, 1997