Zephyr Cove – Pyramid Lake
Waypoints: Zephyr Cove, South Lake Tahoe, Carson City, Pyramid Lake, Black Rock Desert, Trego Hot Springs, Pyramid Lake
Miles hiked: 1.3
Miles driven: 309.9
Break camp: 20 min
Make camp: 30 min
Camp type: Primitive camping no services
Camp cost: $15
I finally prioritized sleeping in, and, with the help of a sleep mask, didn’t get up until 7:30. I made the poster board curtains for one side of the car. Sara took the first shower while Beans and I broke camp. I had just finished breakfast when Sara returned, and we switched. A campground with hot shower is much appreciated after a day or two with no services. We stopped by the lake shore before heading back into South Lake Tahoe to explore for the morning. Sara got a new coat at Patagonia to replace her many layers of coats used before then.
With strong winds and snow approaching, we opted to get over the mountains into Nevada. We drove over to Carson City to look at the Carson City Mint that was there in the late 1800’s. the winds were quite heavy as we walked around.
On the walk into the wind back to the car, we were both momentarily halted in place from a strong gust. We passed through Reno and resupplied at a grocery store. We headed north to Pyramid Lake.
We drove the shore around and turned to go up to the Black Rock Desert. We drove about a half dozen miles out onto the playa before turning back to the highway, where we grabbed a map from the box on the sign board.
Sara had looked up Fly Geyser, and even though its closed to the public, knew it was visible from the highway. We drove up and could just see it in the distance.
We began to scope out our options for hot springs. Online info said the Trego Hot Springs were a 30 mile washboard dirt road drive out from Gerlach. Sara was certain that we could get there by crossing the playa. She scoured google maps and found a crossing of the railroad tracks right net to the springs and she steered the car in that direction.
Surrounded by dust, we followed tracks across the dry ground. We were going about 40 mph when we crossed a perpendicular rut with a light thump. 40 mph was not a comfortable speed for me as a passenger. We slowed a bit and watched the mountains on the far side resolve themselves as we drew closer.
We found the road out and drove in the dry tracks along side the ruts. We crossed the tracks and navigated over a steep blip of a trail to bypass the muddy spot just before the parking area. With strong winds already there and and weather expected overnight, we had Trego Hot Springs entirely to ourselves, and could not have asked for a more wonderful visit.
The waters were warm then cold then hot. We explored a bit to find the hotter sections and kept our arms stirring to prevent hot pockets from overwhelming. After drying off, we headed back across the playa and headed south as the sun finished setting. I bought a permit online for distributed camping on tribal lands around Pyramid Lake. As we approached the lake, a fox did a dance in the beam of our headlights. Sara braked and the fox back peddled and retreated out of the roads. We passed around the bottom of the lake and began up the west side looking for camp. We found a space a few hundred feet from shore, set up for the evening, and watched a movie while it rained.