A Little Walk, A Lot Of Beauty

So much uncertainty surrounding us these days. More than I can remember in my lifetime (collectively, as mankind). It does my heart and mind infinitely good to get out and be surrounded by CREATION, which reminds me with clarity of the One True God.

View from the trail that runs along the bottom of the mountains at Hidden Valley Regional Park

Scooby and I arrived at the Hidden Valley Regional Park at around 7:20 a.m. The sign says that the park doesn’t open until 8:00 a.m., but the gate and the bathrooms were already open. Thank goodness (coffee drinker)!

Located in South Reno, the chances of seeing wild horses dotting the landscape, and even up close, are pretty good.

I took these two photos of the horses at a previous visit to the park.

There is a dog park that is always full of people and their beloved companions. It really doesn’t matter what time of the day, there are always dogs running around playing in that portion of the park.

My sweet puppy, Scooby, however, does not handle encountering other dogs without extreme excitement. He expresses himself in such a way that people have looked at us with judgment, concern, fear, and pity as they pass by us. Scooby only wants to play, but he can’t contain his hysteria. His yelps sound like there are four or five coyotes carrying on at once. I don’t know how he does it – some sort of vocal trick! He jumps and yanks on the leash and WILL NOT settle down. We’ve tried everything, and it all works a little, at first. Inevitably, he gets too crazy to calm down anyway. He is getting better, but he has a looooong way to go.

Here, he can hear or smell the horses we had seen previously, but disappeared out of sight. I saw them before he did (thankfully) and we promptly turned to a different direction!
He always turns around to check on me when we are out walking.

So thankfully, at this park, there are also trails along and in the surrounding mountains where you can see for miles and miles, literally. When the day is clear you can see nearly the entire valley and the surrounding mountains in the distance. The views are stunning and as a safety net for dog hysteria, we can keep an eye on any potential dog traffic!

A couple times the fog engulfed us and the trail nearly disappeared. You can spot a few horses on the upper left side of the photo.
You can see the Grand Sierra Resort peeking out through the fog where you normally can see all of downtown Reno.

Scooby does best when we are somewhere way out with no other dogs or people and we can let him off his leash. He stays near us and comes back at our calls. I wasn’t going to dare to do that here, though we were just about alone, because I don’t know what he’d do if he encountered the wild horses. I could end up on the news!

The thing to see this morning was the uncharacteristic fog that blanketed our valley. When I set out to head to Hidden Valley with my dog for a morning walk, I didn’t know what a bonus I would get. I had packed my camera because it’s always beautiful up there, but I was extra glad that I did.

I’ve said it before, and I will probably say it many more times; Nevada is beautiful!

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!

A Hike Commemorated

DSC_6446On a lovely, not too hot at all day in June, my youngest son and I finally hiked the Hunter Creek Trail. We had attempted to hike this trail a few years ago, but one of the hikers who came along with us wanted to only go part of the way. We had no idea of what we missed that day.

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The desert portion of the hike (over half) was stunning, with typical Northern Nevada views that cannot disappoint. We didn’t know how lush the rest of the hike was on the way to the falls. There were pocketed portions of the hike that were reminiscent of the forests near the coast in Northern California. The desert-to-forest scenery within just a few short miles is part of what makes Reno so special.

DSC_6427DSC_6418DSC_6411My son and I agreed that our family dog, Sydney who is 14 years old, probably was nearing her hiking days end. We wanted to take her on one last hurrah. She has come on countless hikes with us throughout the years, and it is sad for us to think she won’t always be with us. After this hike with her, we came to an obvious conclusion – Sydney needs to retire from hiking.

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Our Sydney has started to decline in the past year. It’s seemed as if her aging happened fast. A year ago she would have still had that spring in her step, that little jump of delight as she discovers a new thing. Today she barely seemed excited to even get in the car. It was strange to observe this beloved member of our family so changed from the dog she once was.

DSC_6399DSC_6400 She made the whole 6.4 round trip hike, but barely. Some of the terrain is quite wrought with sharp, sliding rocks. She surprised some others on the trail with the shape she’s in for her age. One boy from a family we passed said, “Awe, look at that old dog.” The endearment in his voice matched my affection for her and it touched my heart. I told the boy and his family how old she was and they were impressed.

My overprotective twenty-year-old son hovered over her as if she were a fragile, elderly, venerable, beloved family matriarch. He actually cleared the creek’s floor for her before we crossed so she wouldn’t step on a sharp branch. He carried her over a treacherous pass or two when she was just about done near the end of the walk until she regained her will to carry on. Watching his pained concern for her squeezed my heart. Most of his doting was unnecessary, but he wouldn’t hear of anything less than total comfort for her.

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Yesterday we said goodbye to Sydney’s favorite pastime with her – hiking. We will spoil her rotten and continue take her on short, mild walks in the field by our house (which she still loves) until that becomes too much. We’ll cherish every last minute with her. Hopefully, those minutes will be plentiful.

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Joy and Nature

In December I started a ‘thankful for’ list in one of the shiny new journals I got for Christmas.  I am in the 800s on that list.  It is plain to me that God’s creation is a continual source of joy in my life.  For example, in January, just about every morning, God painted the skies pink!  We were short on snow, but got colorful skies instead.  It seems that when I am searching for things to add to my list, nature is a frequent guest.

Yesterday my husband and I visited the wetlands at Washoe Lake.  Here are some of the pictures I took.  I hope you enjoy the beauty, too.

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Early Bird Sees the Beauty

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There is a park about 10 minutes from my home that offers a combination of desert scape, mountain views, city views, farm land, and trails.  It is called Wedekind.

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DSC_2795  I have taken quite a few of my notorious morning walks here.  The sunrises are sharp and sudden.  The trails are many.  In fact, I have never taken the same route twice.

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Through the years I have taken countless ‘morning walks’.  I have many photos to show for it.  I think that I will create another category on this blog with just such a label.  That way I can share some of the early morning beauty with you.

There is just something about the new day’s air and the sky and the quiet that greets you like a loving friend or a dear grandmother.  In fact, this time of day inspires many memories to warm my heart and be grateful for, and my sweet Granny is often remembered on these walks.

It is also a time of escape for me.  Sometimes (often) I carry the weight of burdens that I seem incapable of laying down.  These walks help me hear peace being spoken to my soul.

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So let this be the first post in my newest category – Morning Walks.  May it be a treat for you to see my attempts to capture my enjoyment of God’s handiwork in the early mornings.