I left Reno around 10:30am or so. I blasted out the country music from my new favorite station over the speakers, the AC still only partially working. It was warm out, but not unbearably so. I sped through the desert in a horseless carriage with a name and enjoyed the differing contrast between where I was now and my usual stomping grounds in California.
After leaving the main interstate, I turned onto a smaller, older stretch of highway that would take me to Virginia City. At this time of day, from Reno to the old west town, it was roughly an hour. About twenty or twenty-five minutes into my sojourn, I came across signs indicating a look-out point where one could view the scenery.
Hey, why not? I thought excitedly.
What? Blink blink.
I wasn’t from around here. I wanted to soak up as much as I could. So, I approached the Geiger Lookout Wayside Park with the curiosity of one wondering what their gifts under the Christmas tree might contain.
The parking area was not huge by any means, but it had room for a few cars to pull aside. Hard packed with gravel, it was easy enough to pull off to the side and leave plenty of room for others who might want to stop, and enough safe space between you and the old highway (which also bore the name “Geiger Grade”). It was a stretch of highway winding upwards, back and forth, into the mountains. I think the name is apt. From the overlook, you can see where the original dirt road once was. The current paved road, and the park, were constructed in the late 1930s.
The original Geiger Grade was built in 1862 to haul silver from the Comstock Lode (close to Virginia City- I visited an old silver mine there, but more on that in a couple posts). Geiger gets its name from the man who financed the road. There’s a stone structure a little ways from the parking area that you can climb up and view the Nevada desert, with the Sierra Nevada mountains beyond.
You climb the stairs on the structure and- voila! Beautiful view! There was a plaque on the stone structure dedicated to the man himself, Davison M Geiger.
It was getting fairly hot out, but I still wanted to explore this park. The scrubs and trees didn’t give a whole lot of relief from the sun, but my curiosity got the better of me as I traipsed around the mountainside. There were stone ruins of old buildings, probably cabins, dotting the side of the hill. I mean, they looked like the ruins of SOMETHING. I never found out what, but it was a cool place to walk around. There was also an old, stone outhouse with a broken down door, leaning in. I went as close as I could to it.
I wanted to explore further but I also wanted to get to Virginia City. And it was hot outside. And I hadn’t put on sunscreen; something I now wonder about because I had some right there in my car. Brain fart aside, I trekked back to my car. I was fairly out of breath by the time I climbed inside, so I rested a bit before embarking on the next leg of my day’s adventure.