Before beginning Section 4 of the NVT, there are several ways to access the town of Austin. While Stacey and Bernie had walked in, I had decided to wait until crossing an upcoming road, Hwy 396, where I hitched in.
After having breakfast with them at the International Café, I resupplied at the post office, visited the community pool, and a few hours later was back at the crossing, but now a half a day ahead of them.
Under afternoon cloud-shade, I made a swift crossing of Big Smoky Valley then reached the third hot spring area of the NVT, Spencer.
Spencer Hot Springs is undoubtedly one of the most scenic soaking spots on the entire HST and is no secret among the hot spring community. But for as many people who have been here, almost no one has ever walked to it. Needless to say the magic here is powerful.
After an evening of soaking and gazing at the Toyiabe Crest, I headed out the next morning for a trail-less crossing of the Toquima Range. This lead to another highlight of the trail, the geographic center of Nevada. After proper celebrations, I continued over the next few days across the Monitor Range.
Once into the Antelope Valley, the first and only hot spring resort of the NVT is encountered. Before the trip, I had contacted the owner and secured permission to visit and was not disappointed. This spring truly has some of the best tasting water on the entire HST and is also a basecamp for backcountry ski trips in the winter.
With enough water to reach the town of Eureka in my bottles, I headed out of Hot Springs Ranch feeling on top of the world.
Already in Nevada, I've had more encounters with wild horses than on any other hike I had done, and on this evening, I had a small herd sharing my camp with me.
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