A Stunning Afterthought

I had spent the entire morning walking along the incomparable Lake Tahoe on the East Shore Trail. I used up several hours on the bliss of heavenly views that would boost my mood for days, and I could have gone home then with immense contentment. But I didn’t want to return quite yet. I felt like the small child at a playground who cannot be convinced it’s time to leave all the fun.

So I headed south on HWY 28 until I was almost to the HWY 50 junction. I still didn’t know what the rest of my day would look like, but when I passed Spooner Lake on my left I knew what I would do. I could see through the trees that the lake was frozen! I have been to Spooner Lake a number of times, but never in the winter. How on earth did I not know that it froze in the cold months? I turned around at the first opportunity and headed to the icy lake.

After paying my $10 parking fee (worth it for such beauty and good restrooms, if you ask me!) I parked my car and switched out my walking shoes for the snow boots I had brought along just in case I ended up in snow somewhere that day.

As soon as I got out to the lake (only about 300 yards from the parking lot), I couldn’t believe what my eyes were telling me…there were two people walking/standing on the lake next to what looked like a chair they’d brought with them. They were likely ice fishing. I looked it up when I got home, and yes, people ice-fish on Spooner! Who knew (probably everyone but me)?

Spooner is a man-made lake constructed to store irrigation water. There is a trail around the lake that is only 2.1 miles, and it’s not difficult. We have been on this trail in the fall when its many aspen trees are in their full golden splendor. It’s a beautiful trail to walk in autumn to be sure. I have been drawn to the bare aspens as well. They are slender and straight, existing in pattern-like bunches. Their bark and branches are silvery white, many of which bear the marks of initials carved by sweethearts throughout the years. I find it doesn’t matter the location, aspens all seem to beckon the name carvers.

During this visit I found that it was a controlled burn day all around the lake. There were smoldering fires everywhere, filling the cold, breezy, winter air with that mountain cabin chimney smell. It added even more to the experience. There were plentiful firefighters on duty to monitor the conditions that made for beautiful scenes along the path.

Spooner is also a popular location for cross country skiing. I crossed paths with a couple of skiers who asked me if the lake was good to travel over. I told them that I am from around here and I never even knew that Spooner freezes! I was definitely not the one to ask. Other than these two and the firefighters I didn’t encounter any others on the trail. I tried hard to see some wildlife but no luck there this time.

I feel so fortunate to live so close to countless destinations such as this one. Nature is such a gift from God.

Almost Dog Time

The meteorologist on the local news I often watch in the mornings is a great help in suggesting new ideas for walks and hikes around the area. Some of the ideas are new to me, ones I haven’t known of before seeing his pictures. More than once I have taken out my cell phone and jotted down his recommendations so that I won’t forget to go.

That’s how I heard about Kings Waterfall in Carson City. The trail is in North Carson City, tucked back in an area I didn’t know existed. It’s rural and farm-like, filled with cozy homesteads of warm beauty.

The hike (loop) is only 2 or 3 miles (I had to turn back at one point due to ice and impossibly slippery portions of the trail, so I don’t know the exact distance). The falls are right there at the start of the hike, maybe a quarter mile away from the parking area.

They are pretty and worth seeing. The surrounding views are worth the trek and the drive – even without the falls, I would say.

The only other person I saw the whole time I was there was a young woman and her huge, fluffy, happy dog. This dog was in the process of training and he ran to lovingly greet me against his master’s commands to come. He was adorable!

Our Sydney is 15 years old this winter. She is still healthy and happy, though not young and fit enough to take on all those hikes on which she used to accompany me. I miss her when I’m out and about and I notice more and more that I am in the minority walking without a furry friend to keep me company.

Sydney loves people, loves, loves them. When she could still hear she would squeeze her eyes closed in pleasure and feel your loving words as strokes on her belly. She is compassionate and kind and her thoughts run deep (sometimes you just know, okay?) She has always been afraid of other dogs, even my sister’s tiny little dogs. She runs away from them and will never stand her ground. In her day she would chase coyotes and rabbits and the occasional cat, but dogs terrify her.

We would have gotten a young dog for her in her old age. She could have helped us train and teach the new pup the rules and maybe even rub some of her personality onto the newcomer. We just don’t want her to be afraid in her last years. What if she never got used to a new dog and was always running away for dear life? How sad that would be. If there comes a possibility for a new furry member to join our family, we would need to try the living situation out before we committed to adopting, but it is getting closer and closer to getting a new dog time.

Sydney would have loved this trail! It probably would have been fine for her too as it was low on difficulty.

There are a few signs that indicate deer commonly occupy the area. I tried hard to spy some, and…I did! A bunch of them caught my eye on the way back down the trail.

A lovely little trail that I will visit again.

A Morning Walk in My Nevada

I have bragged on my Nevada a number of times on this blog. Today I’ll do it again!

Hidden Beach

Winters aren’t typically my favorite, at least as I get older. Feeling cold in my bones, not so much either. The short days and limited sunlight can wear me down. Usually, come February, I am ready to pack up and move to Texas – I am quite serious.

In light of that, I am determined to get out and explore more this winter than in the past. The landscapes aren’t as green and lush, but the skies are pink and charcoal and downright haunting at times. The worse the weather, the more fascinating the skies.

In the winter, somehow the air is visible. I’m not referring to smog. The cold is visible if you pay attention.

Views of snow-capped mountains could grow commonplace for those who forget to pay attention to their majesty. My Nevada shows off with her plentiful mountain views. Bless her for that (wink).

I happen to live within an hour or less of one of the most beautiful lakes in all the world – Lake Tahoe. Many people from all over globe love Lake Tahoe, making for some crowded conditions during the summer months, especially.

Your best bet in visiting Lake Tahoe is to get an early start to your day(s). I left my house before 7 a.m. and almost had the place to myself for the first hour or so after arriving at around 8 a.m.

Yes, it is January, and yes, I did go early on a chilly, Wednesday morning. By the time I wrapped up my hike and sight-seeing the trail had plenty of foot traffic and some bicycle traffic. Not a lot, but it was still only lunch time. Had I waited any longer I wouldn’t have had the magical solitude of the morning on my side.

There is a new walking/biking trail in Incline Village, NV (my destination this blustery Wednesday in January). From the Tunnel Creek parking lot it is a 3 mile paved walk to the famous Sand Harbor Beach. There are shuttles that run if you don’t want to walk all the way back. I didn’t check the schedules for them. I preferred to foot it.

Along the way there are named and labeled locations accessed by narrow dirt paths that take you right down to the shore. Each path is beautiful and unique as is its destination.

Sand Harbor

My favorite spot along the way is Hidden Beach. It’s the first marked trail after walking through the tunnel (taking you underneath the highway right to the lakeside) which sides are covered in awesome colorful murals.

The weather man said it would be quite windy and maybe rain. Knowing that bad weather makes for worthwhile photos, I wasn’t daunted.

Hidden Beach
Hidden Beach

I wrapped up my morning walk back at the parking lot. At the beginning of the trail sits the Tunnel Creek Station Cafe. Such a cozy little cabin-like place that makes amazing coffee. I sipped on one of those coffees and ate my packed lunch while writing this blog with a pen and paper I brought along from home.

I wasn’t ready to head back home and headed up the road to Spooner. I will share that soon in a coming blog…

Best part of the hike was the rainbow that followed me almost the whole way!