Ruby Rendevous

7-14 Jun 2003 - by Allen Tatomer

The Mountain Goats were visible high above the rugged cliffs making up the upper quarter of the adjoining ridges...3,000 feet above us. The impatient herd of day hikers, gathered around the breakfast bench could have cared less. Sipping homemade Turkish Coffee and Java Cairo with crushed cloves and coriander, seemed to awaken deeper urban habits, rather than primal urges to connect with four legged brethren. You can take the people out of the city, but you can't take away their bad urban habits.

The goats ambled, ever so slowly from one grassy tuft to another, looking up only briefly in their solitary and stubborn quest for early spring sustenance. A careful carnivore, clad in camouflage, could have snuck up to within yards of them...foraging in their oblivious bliss. I looked down for an instant and smiled at my counterparts, sixteen of them, laughing, sipping and barely moving far from the Ibruk and French Press. The similarities between species were striking.

The 3rd Annual Ruby Rendezvous harkens back to the early days of Burning Man...brown and dead playa, substituted for shimmering Aspen, dark green Limber Pine and plentiful snow fields on vertical, awe inspiring cliffs, reminiscent of Yosemite side walls, careening up within 50 yards from either side of our group campsite. Add plentiful shade, water and 6,000 feet in elevation and you begin to think of Burning Lungs. The absence of parking fees and the near empty campsite left no doubt that Yosemite this aint. The few extra hours getting there were well spent. A private party for Bay Area hiking enthusiasts packed with all the extras. Each day we picked a different canyon, each adorned with a rushing stream and snow filled, high alpine cirque that beckoned to be conquered. Semi-improved trails, so early in the season, were shared by cascading rivulets, downed sagebrush and late season snow slides that blocked the path. 2K up and down each day for four days...We call our trip "Burning Thighs."

There were three Allen's, two George's, two Bob's a solitary Pete and no Prima Dan's among them. Females included our own Jane, Janet, Diane and Lori. Not forgetting Cathy the famous Western Poet, and a Slavic contingent...Anastasiya, Odessa and Oksana. Not counting the daily contingent of locals who joined us. All intrepid, upbeat, old-world, young at heart, group socialized and considerate, conditioned hikers of all ages... who rose above the stereotypical car camper label and who climbed to the white cliffs above as deftly as Hemming way scaled the Snows of Kilimanjaro. For the entire week, we partied until we dropped, hiked with Forest Rangers, sang along with a Cowgirl Poet, pounded on tribal drums, ate the foods of kings, produced our own private Outdoor concert sharing the good times with 45 locals, (causing the camp hosts to sweat a little), feasted on 9 course Basque food at a local hangout, covered over 14K in elevation in less than 15 miles, came within yards of over 30 waterfalls, laughed, joked and acted much like Californians act in foreign if the entire place was especially made for us. We bid, sad farewells... all promising to meet and do it year. (June 18-25th.)

The Ruby Mountains are located in Northern Nevada. Allen is the founder of the Ruby Alpinists who organize the Ruby Rendezvous event annually. Allen is a trustee with the LMCHD in Pittsburg.

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