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COURSE DESCRIPTION – The long and short of it!

SHORT DESCRIPTION - For those with attention disorders

The Ruby Mountain Relay begins at the end of beautiful Lamoille Canyon located in Elko County, Nevada, and stretches a 184-mile loop around the world famous Ruby Mountain Range before it ends in Wells, Nevada.  Along the route, teams of 12 runners will run through Lamoille, Spring Creek, Te-Moak South Fork Indian Reservation, the town of Jiggs, over Harrison Pass, and to the Ruby Lake National Wild Life Refuge.  Teams will continue along the back side of the Rubies to Ruby Valley and up through Secret Pass. Teams will run over Dennis Flats, through Starr Valley, make their way to Angel Lake Road, and then to the finish line located at the Wells City Park.  This will be the most beautiful relay race you will ever run!

LONG DESCRIPTION - For those that can't get enough of this kind of stuff

The Ruby Mountain Relay begins with The Cowboys at the Road’s End loop at the end of beautiful Lamoille Canyon located in Elko County, Nevada.  Approximately 12 miles in length, it was extensively sculpted by glaciers in previous ice ages.   Runner 1 is in for a treat as he makes his way down scenic Lamoille Canyon to Thomas Creek Canyon campground (Cowboy Exchange 1). Runner 2 finishes the canyon and ends at the Lamoille Canyon welcome sign (Cowboy Exchange 2).  Runner 3 makes a right turn at State Road 227 and makes her way to The Grove (Cowboy Exchange 3) located in the charming town of Lamoille.  As runner 4 leaves Lamoille, take notice of the famous Little Church of the Cross Roads on the right side of the road. (Cowboy Exchange 4) will take place at the junction where Lower and Upper Lamoille Roads meet as runner 5 travels on to the Rabbit Creek Ranch (Cowboy Exchange 5).  Runner 6 runs easy rolling hills to Spring Creek Marina (WAGON EXCHANGE 1).

The Indians start their segment of the relay.  Runner 7 will run a loop around the marina and then head back out to Lower Lamoille Road (Indian Exchange 1).  Runner 8 will begin at the junction of Lower Lamoille Road and SR 227 and use the paved and gravel path along SR 227 to enjoy an awesome view of Ruby Dome.  (Indian Exchange 2) After an exchange on Palace Parkway, runner 9 travels the residential area and easy rolling hills of the city of Spring Creek.  The next exchange (Indian Exchange 3) will be at the popular Spring Creek Horse Palace where many large rodeos take place and runner 10 finally gets us “out of Dodge” and on our way to the Ruby Mountains via Pleasant Valley Road.  The next exchange (Indian Exchange 4) will be at the Red Barn at 2057 Pleasant Valley Road and runner 11 is in for an Indian reservation adventure as he travels down a narrow dirt road to the Bridge and Creek Crossing (Indian Exchange 5) where runner 12 will bring the Indians home to the Te-Moak South Fork Indian Reservation Community Hall in Lee, Nevada!  The reservation sits on rugged high desert terrain typical of northern Nevada.  It is located just west of the Humboldt National Forest and in the foothills of the Ruby Mountains. (WAGON EXCHANGE 2

The Cowboys are on the trail again with runner 1 who takes the team on a gradual uphill past the Paris Livestock and Willow Creek Ranch (Cowboy Exchange 1). Runner 2 presses forward to yet another Red Barn (Cowboy Exchange 2) to pass off the baton to runner 3 who takes to the hills (Cowboy Exchange 3) in the small town of Jiggs, Nevada.  Hardly more than a wide spot on the road, Jiggs had more than the usual number of real honest-to-goodness outlaws than most towns and gave Nevada two governors.  Jiggs is in five-mile- long Mound Valley and the spectacular Ruby Mountains tower over the many ranches scattered about the landscape.  The next exchange (Cowboy Exchange 4) is in the heart of the Pony Express Trail and runner 5 starts the assent up magnificent Harrison Pass, a popular recreation area in the Ruby Mountains and to the top of Harrison Pass in the heart of the Rubies and the well-known start of the Ruby Crest Trail. A fun descent down Harrison Pass to the Junction below (Cowboy Exchange 5) is the hand off for the last Cowboy runner who finishes at the Ruby Lake Wildlife Refuge.

(WAGON EXCHANGE 3)  This wetland oasis is a pristine marsh, meadows, grasslands, and shrub-steppe upland that proves essential habitat for thousands of nesting and migrating waterfowl, water birds, songbirds, and native wildlife.  The Indians are back on the war path with runner 7 who takes the same road back along Ruby Valley Road to the Ruby Crest Junction (Indian Exchange 1).  Runner 8 is now running along the back side of the Rubies and headed for Ruby Valley’s 7H Ranch via Ruby Valley Road (Indian Exchange 2).  Ruby Valley played an important role in the history of the Great Basin.  Nomadic tribes of the Shoshone Nation used Ruby Valley as a winter home, finding it warmer than nearby locations.  Legend says they were brought to this land by the Coyote. The California Trail, active after the 1840’s, was located just to the north.  The Donner Party passed through the southern end of the valley in 1846, heading for the Overland Pass route across the Ruby Mountains – part of the Hastings Cutoff. The next exchange (Indian Exchange 3) is at the Ruby Valley Rock House.  Runner 9 continues on Ruby Valley Road taking in beautiful views to and yet another red barn located near the Overland Lake Trail Head named after the famous Overland Pass. (Indian Exchange 4).                            

Overland Pass was a site of much activity in the 1860’s.  A transportation route through central Nevada was scouted and surveyed for the U.S. Army in 1859.  A trading post was established at the south end of Ruby Valley and the Pony Express and its successor, the Transcontinental Telegraph, also ran through Overland Pass. The old Pony Express Station was moved and restored, and is now part of a display at the Northeastern Nevada Museum in Elko, Nevada.  In 1863, a controversial Treaty of Ruby Valley was signed by the U.S. Government and the Western Shoshone Indians.  After the Civil War, transport services continued and around 1866, Wells Fargo began the first agriculture in Ruby Valley.  The valley is now sparsely settled, and principally used to raise cattle and to grow alfalfa.    Ruby Valley Community Hall (Indian Exchange 5) is where the last runner heads to the Ruby Valley LDS Church (WAGON EXCHANGE 4).   

The Cowboys are back in the saddle as runner 1 stays the course on Ruby Valley Road to Neff Ranch (Cowboy Exchange 1).  Runner 2 heads to Ruby Guard trail head (Cowboy Exchange 2).  Runner 3 is now running Ruby Valley Road and will have views of the Ruby Mountains on the left and the East Humboldt Range on the right to the Ruby Valley Fire Station (Cowboy Exchange 3). Runner 4 continues on Ruby Valley Road to the Secret Star Trail Head of the East Humboldt Mountain Range (Cowboy Exchange 4).  Runner 5 will continue on the Secret Pass Road to the dirt road leading to Starr Valley (Cowboy Exchange 5). After leaving the army, Lieutenant Augustus Washington Starr bought land in the valley and is credited with being its first settler.  The Dahl Ranch will host the final Wagon Exchange (WAGON EXCHANGE 5).   

As The Indians make their way through Starr Valley, check out the Starr Valley Cemetery on the right.  It was established in 1878 and the chapel at the cemetery was the first school in Starr Valley and had as many as 28 students being taught in this one-room school house.  Some of the children who attended this school are now buried in the cemetery behind the chapel. The Starr Valley Community Hall (Indian Exchange 1) was built in 1903.  The Starr Valley Progressive Club was established in 1913 and still holds meetings in this charming hall making it the oldest club in Elko County.  Approaching the mountains, the Smiley Ranch will be the site of the next exchange (Indian Exchange 2) on the scenic Deeth-Starr Valley Highway.  Runner 2 will stay on this road until she makes a right turn at the Freeway Frontage Road and the tip of the East Humboldt Wilderness and another right turn on what is going to feel like a true trail run due to its very narrow dirt road. The locals simply call this Horse Pasture Road (Indian Exchange 3).  In the spring time you can find wild sheep and goats lambing in this area.  Runners will come out on the Angel Lake Scenic Byway and head for the Winchell Lake trail head (Indian Exchange 4).  Elko Country has two recognized scenic byways. One is the Lamoille Canyon road in the Ruby Mountains and the road to Angel Lake is the other.  The final exchange (Indian Exchange 5) is just at the end of Angel Lake Road and 3 miles from Wells, Nevada.  The site of Wells began as a place called Humboldt Wells along the trail to California but in the late 19th century, Humboldt Wells caught fire.  In a frantic plea for help, a telegraph was sent that simply said, “’Wells’ is burning”. After this, the town was rebuilt and simply referred to as “Wells”.  You may remember a 6.0 earthquake occurred near Wells at 6:16 am on February 21, 2008. Because of its proximity to the epicenter, Wells experienced significant damage.  The last runner is now heading toward Wells City Park and the finish of the Ruby Mountain Relay!

Starting Line – Lamoille Canyon

Indian Exchange 1 – Spring Creek Marina
Cowboy Exchange 2 – (Te-Moak) South Fork Indian Reservation
Indian Exchange 3 -  Ruby Lake Wildlife Refuge
Cowboy Exchange 4 – Ruby Valley
Indian Exchange 5 - Starr Valley
Finish Line – Wells City Park