Locals around Pyramid Lake, Nev., have wondered for years how explorer John C. Fremont first discovered this body of water in 1842. To test some hypotheses and to publicize the area, the nonprofit Friends of Pyramid Lake is sponsoring a two-part essay contest: Writers are invited to submit essays by Dec. 31 describing how Fremont found the lake. Awards for the most convincing tale range from $100 for first place, $75 for second place and $50 for third place. Then, when spring arrives, the group will hike the route described by the first-place winner. The tour will also include talks on lake history and geology, discussions on the present status of the local Paiute Tribe and a host of photo opportunities. For more information and a list of contest rules, write to the Friends of Pyramid Lake, P.O. Box 8947, Reno, NV 89507.