Day one was spent doing Desatoya peak but day two was a special one, the day for doing Bunker Hill. This Bunker HIll has no relation to the original one located in Boston, in fact, Bunker HIll Nevada is anything but a hill....
After completing Desatoya Peak, Dennis Poulin and I headed eastward 50 miles where we found the neat little town of Austin Nevada tucked into a canyon that hides the town until you turn a corner and voila, there it is. An old mining town of yesteryear (most Nevada towns are), it is a delightful place to visit. Since it was 2pm, we decided that lunch was a good choice and we found a special little cafe that is great at producing hamburgers and the like (and like it we did). Dennis was intrigued by a sign that stated "Free Beer Tomorrow" and wanted me to come back the next day for the free beer. I don't drink beer so I wasn't going to go and take the generous offer up. I aked the cafe owner about where I could find a market and he just laughed. "We don't have one here" he stated. It turned out that Austin residents have to drive 112 miles to Fallon to do any major grocery shopping. The only goods to be found were in the limited inventory of the Shell gas station's convenience store. The cafe owner acted like it was no big deal to make a 224 mile trip to get groceries or other essentials.
From Austin, we went up over 7500 foot Austin summit and dropped down to the junction of US 50 and Nevada highway 376. Turning right onto 376, we headed 16 miles to the community of Kingston, a community that had view lots for sale, only $10,000 for each one. Hmmmmm. If you want isolation, this is the community for you. I did notice a general store as we traveled through the area but I have no clue as to what kind of selection was being offered there. Tonopah, other than Austin, is the closest town, a mere 84 miles to the south.
Once you leave the township of Kingston, you leave the paved road for the dirt road that leads up Kingston canyon. A good dirt road but a dirt road nonetheless. About 5 miles up the road is the Kingston campground, a nice spot with about 12 pretty basic camp spots. We were surprised to see that there was no fee for camping there and we quickly found a spot to park our vehicles at.
Since it was still early in the afternoon, we decided to scout the road and find the TH. Not far beyond the campground, is a small lake, one of the few lakes in this portion of Nevada. Several people were fishing at the east end of the lake and a couple of pickup-campers were nearby.
We continued on up Kingston Creek Canyon several miles until we passed the old Guard Station that seemed to be deserted at the present time. About two miles beyond the guard station, the road began to climb and soon we found our selves at a saddle where the road dropped off to the north to Big Creek and a 4WD road headed up to the point 9335. Since Dennis could not get his 2WD to climb this steep road, we knew we'd be parking at the saddle to begin our hike. I noticed a jeep road heading up the hill on the other side and so to get some much needed exercise, I started hiking up it. The higher I hiked, the better the view of Bunker Hill I found. Near the top of this road, I found two large and rather new crosses facing towards Bunker Hill. Evidently, the wishes of a couple were being honored as one cross bore the name of the husband and his dates and the other the name and dates of his wife.
She had died in 2003. Obviously they had either owned the land or were in love with the mountain.
The next morning found us at the saddle before the sun was up and with headlamps on, we made our way up the road to point 9335, a gain of 600 feet from where we had parked. Just about when we were near the top of the hill, a couple on an ATV passed us, all decked out in their hunting gear. Hmmm, I could use one of those ATV things. After dropping down about 50 feet, we climbed up the hill to the southeast for several hundred feet where we began our traverse towards the main saddle of Bunker Hill. . Dennis decided to go high and headed up for the ridge while I continued to sidehill around the side of the mountain as I didn't like to gain elevation only to have to lose it later on (which was the case here). When I finally arrived at the saddle (lots of animal game trails to choose from), I found Dennis already there and ready to continue on the now steepening side of Bunker Hill. As the angle steepened, the hillside became looser and careful foot placement was necessary. I avoided snow patches that were around to the northwest and made my way upwards, following no specific route or trail. It began to remind me a lot of Boundary Peak. After gaining about 1000 feet, the angle began to lessen and soon I could see the top of an antenna on the first false summit. Gaining the top of the false summit, I could now see Dennis making his way over to the highest point of Bunker Hill and I hurried my pace t o meet up with him at the summit. Another antenna, with a small building and solar panel was passed on the way and it never ceases to amaze me that so many of these peaks now are outfitted with antenna arrays of one kind or another. This ridge had two antenna arrays and two solar panels along with small buildings that must house some of the key equipment. At least there was no antenna on the true summit.
The summit itself was a nice one with a cairn and register in place. The register was a PVC pipe type that you had to whack the end cap with a rock in order to get it to release. The register inside was in good condition and dated back to 1984. It seems that fewer than three or four groups summit this peak every year. Many of the signees were county highpointers with Bob Packard having signed it in 1997 at the age of 61. Greg Slayden, had also signed it back in 1992 when he lived in Philadelphia but I knew Greg from meeting him in Seattle. www.peakbaggers.com is his website.
Dennis and I highfived each other as this was a nice peak to get but the weather had started to look a little iffy with clouds popping out all over the place. One in particular was growing at a rapid rate so we felt it smart to get on down but first, we took the time to admire the 360 degree panorama that this peak provided. Amazing views in all direcitons. Mountain ranges in all directions. We could look south to ArcDome and see that it had a pretty good mantle of snow on it. Another neat view was being able to look right down at Kingston on the east side and the FS guard station on Kingston Creek road on the west side.
Heading down, we met up with a group of Las Vegas Mountaineers and had a nice chat with them. It was really amazing to meet another group on a mountain that sees so few visitors. Dennis and I sidehilled it back to point 9335 where the LV mountaineers had parked their 4WD vehicles. Soon we were back to our vehicle with our minds now thinking about our next peak, 70 miles away near Eureka Nevada, Diamond Peak.
Time: 3 1/4 hours up 2 1/4 hours down
Elevation gain: close to 3000 feet in perhaps 3 1/2 miles
GPS lat long nad 27
Saddle: 39.29296 -117.11760 elev 8663
The saddle where we parked and the 4WD road up to Pt 9335
The tip of Bunker Hill is just barely visible.