We saw four other bicyclists the entire day! A combination of early season and colder temperatures made it feel like the 1980's...back when the sport was just getting started around here. I used to hike up here as a kid, and my first bicycle trip up here was on a BMX bike. I pushed it most of the way up to Marlette that day. During the summer these days, it can get really busy up here. The place is still pristine though in spite of all the traffic.
From Marlette Lake we began the Flume Trail, the stretch of trail that is famous around the world for its fantastic views of Lake Tahoe. About now, you may be wondering, "Why the heck do they call it the flume trail?". A neighbor asked me the same question just yesterday.
Many years ago when Virginia City was in its mining boom, they needed lots of water for the mining operations. Virginia City is in the deserty mountains many miles from a good water source. The solution was to build a water flume that transported water from Marlette Lake, 30 miles away, along what is now the Fume Trail, through a Tunnel at Tunnel Creek to the East side of the Carson Range, down a rapid descent to Washoe Valley, and then up over the Virginia Range to Virginia City.
"Over 7 miles of specially constructed 12" pipe connected to a 25 mile wooden flume propelled the water all the way to Virginia City via an inverted siphon and the whole business was assembled and completed in the summer of 1873". Pretty cool, huh? Along the flume trail, there are remnants of the old wooden flume and sections of metal pipe from the metal flume that replaced it. These days the water is pumped from Marlette Lake over to Hobart Reservoir using modern technology. But the rest of the process is still in place! Today the flume trail is only used for biking and hiking.
After completing the Flume Trail, we crossed over the pass at Tunnel Creek, and headed down the other side of the mountains towards the lesser known Red House Flume Trail. It's a nice peaceful ride through the woods. We saw deer, and many new snow plants emerging from the ground. Even during the busy summer months, you seldom see people on this section.
We dropped a lot of elevation to get to Hobart Reservoir, and then had to gain it all back climbing Sunflower Hill. The hill is a steep, unrelenting climb, that takes you back to Marlette Lake. The sun flowers are actually "Mule's Ear", named for the leaves that resemble a mule's ear, and were just starting to bloom. We finally made it over the Saddle and back down to Marlette Lake. From there we had a short climb, and then a nice four mile descent back to the car. We were pretty wiped out when we got home, but nursed ourselves with some Fat Tire Ale, some red wine, and a batch of homemade eggplant Parmesan. Beats working any day!
The full set of pictures are HERE.
I hope that you'll appreciate the great danger I put myself in to get these videos. As some as you know, I don't always have good luck filming while riding with one hand.
I almost ate it shortly after hitting stop on the camera. Keeping up with Kristy through the bumps with one hand was tough.
This one has a good peek over the cliff feel to it.
A Squirrel's view of Kristy riding the Flume Trail.