[view from the top of Mt. Rose, NV]
One of the best parts about hiking every single day for field work (aka literally bush-whacking through steep high elevation backcountry wilderness) is that you are pre-conditioned to tackle whatever gorgeous mountain you choose on days off.
Our first big hike adventure was Mt. Rose on the Nevada side between the lake and Reno.
The elevation at the top is 10,700-something feet, the third tallest mountain in the basin, but you start at 8,000-something feet so the total elevation gain isn't too extreme. Actually most of the trail is a pretty gradual incline until you get near the very top, where it is tight switchbacks that pretty much go straight up the rocks and you feel like your leg muscles are being ripped off your body and you can't possibly make it one more step even though the peak is still out of sight, but hey. That part is easily forgotten for views like these.
The only trees that can survive on these steep rocky slopes are scraggly twisted lodgepole pines. I always wondered why the latin name for lodgepole is Pinus contorta, since they usually grow straight, tall and the opposite of contorted like, well, lodgepoles, but then we saw them in their high altitude habitat.
Oh and in CA there are gazillions of super fit old people. I saw more old people out running and hiking than young people. Like, a super tan and ripped 70 year old man wearing spandex zoomed past us, trail running UP Mt. Rose. It is over 11 miles round trip. Psycho.
So basically, hike Mt. Rose if you get a chance.
Not until July though because there is tons of snow on the trail before then (although it is very fun to slide down).