by Daniel Montero
In my last post I introduced my dear readers to the whirlwind that has been the grand ol’ month of me, February. When I last left you, Larry and I had just hiked up into the twisted rock gardens I call The Pillars.
Feathers and a Day with My Mom
The next morning we were due back in Reno, but were in no rush to make the drive back, so we dawdled about in the morning, seeing about helping with clearing old dead willows and junk, but mostly just finding peacock feathers. My mom then came and asked if we would go out and do a little scouting in preview of the upcoming winter gather, so we piled into her truck: my mom, Belle and Sissy on the blanket behind the seat, Barney in her lap, Renee in the middle with Larry alternating between our laps for an excursion up Cherry Creek. My mother is not a person who stops to visit a lot, so this was a really unique opportunity. She has spent her entire adult life (really more even, she was just 20 when she arrived a new bride at the ranch). There is not a piece of this mountain that she has not traversed and most of it has stories: stories of wayward cattle, lost horses, errant children, faithful dogs. So driving the range with her is not only crossing landscape, but also traveling through time. But time does move and we got back to the ranch and packed up for the drive back to Reno.
Larry Gets a Hair Cut
Larry (and, some would argue, Dan) has been in need of a haircut for a while, so it was a super treat to my birthday month that on Monday Renee was able to make him an appointment (same day, no less, lucky for us). We have never really seen him with short hair and it’s been really shaggy this winter, so it was a wonder to see him all cleaned up. You can tell he is happy for the change and is just so adorable and cute that the amount of hygge in our household has gone into super overdrive.
Nighttime walks on Rattlesnake Mountain
This one goes back, really, to Valentines Day, when Renee made a special delicious crock pot meal. Before she got off work we took off from our house and climbed Rattlesnake Mountain in the dark, and then she met us and we did the Huffaker Hills loop before going home to have a great home cooked meal. But throughout the month Larry and I have been going back to walking up there in the dark, three times I think, including tonight, when we visited what I call the Peace Shrine on the northnermost edge of the summit ridge.
An Evening with Willy Vlautin
On Friday a different kind of exploration, to our favorite local bookstore, Sundance Books and Music, to see Reno native author Willy Vlautin read from his new novel, Don’t Skip out on Me and sing songs and just generally put on a really great performance. We were a little late so squeezed up on the staircase, but there wasn’t a bad seat in the house and later we got him to talk with him just a bit about, of things, Robert Laxalt’s boxing days.
Into the hinterlands in the cold and some snow
Some work days and the last weekend of the month was upon us. It has been bitter cold in Reno and while we really wanted to get out and explore, setting up our tent just did not sound fun, so instead we decided to really rough it, on Saturday we called and reserved a room at the Cold Springs Motel in Cold Springs on Highway 50. We had never tried it before and a chance to explore some parts of Nevada that we haven’t. We drove out in the afternoon. In no rush, we just stopped along the way, including a stop at Sand Mountain. Usually a bustling hive of off-roaders, the cold wind had caused a lull and for a short space we had the entire shifting sand to ourselves.
That night, lo and behold, it snowed, we enjoyed dinner at Cold Spring and woke to a white wonderland. We spent the day exploring along Highway 50 and then south along the highway from Middlegate to Gabbs.
It has not been much of a winter in northern Nevada, this week’s bluster notwithstanding. Here’s a few more from our walk last week in the Black Rock Range. Love the play between rock and sky!
The high desert has some of the best sunsets. I can't wait to see what the rest of the year will bring! Get out in the evenings and enjoy some of that natural neon!
by Daniel Montero
It's my birthday month! I turned 44 earlier this month and, while I'm not generally a giant birthday celebrator, there is something about 44 that has really inspired me and it has been a whirlwind month. So much has happened that I want to write about more, but I'm still in media res and so haven't had the time to really focus on one thing above the other! Here are some highlights of the month so far.
This wasn't technically in February, but directly before I had to go to the National Cowboy Poetry Gathering for work I took a day and made it to the top of Purgatory Peak in the Selenites. It awesome but quite a challenge, especially navigating the icy rocks and thick brush at the top with Larry.
The National Cowboy Poetry Gathering
I had to go to this for work, where I watched over a booth selling Basque books and emceed a presentation in which I read from Joan Errea and shared the stage with other Center authors. It was quite an adventure being in Elko for this event and I treasured every moment of it. I also, of course, brought my Surly bike, Reggie, to ride around Elko--No way I was going to a Cowboy Poetry Gathering without my steed!
Through Central Nevada from Elko
On my way back from Elko I decided to avoid the freeway and back road across a little part of central Nevada. So I turned south through the Crescent Valley and to Highway 50 near Austin.
Riding to Black Rock Point
My mom had asked if we could come up and help with some major work, during the next week, so on my actual birthday week I decided I'd try to ride my bike to the ranch to help them out. I drove to Gerlach, packed up with Larry riding in my BoB trailer, and set out, but soon changed my plan (which was pretty malleable anyway) and instead of heading toward Soldier Meadows I turned out toward the Black Rock Point. Despite spending so much time in and around the Black Rock, I'd never been out there and it seemed like a perfect birthday celebration. And it was, such a beautiful ride, then night in the shadow of the Black Rock Point. The next day lollygagged around the springs and riding back to Gerlach, where I then drove to the ranch. Then, of course, I had a flat tire in the Subaru on Jungo Road driving to my family's place, haha, but that was nothing to mar this adventure, which I will definitely write/post more about.
Then it was the ranch, where we helped out with one of the hardest days in a year that is full of hard days, running cows through the chute. Not a lot to say about this one, but we made it through with smiles and not too much in the way of mishaps, so all good!
Closing Gates and a Night Under the Stars
The next day, we worked again, this time taking 4-wheelers up and closing the gates so that the cattle won't drift up into the high country too early. It is sort of our annual job, and we pretty much zipped through it, and then afterward we went out into the desert and spent a wonderful night under the stars before making it home to our warm bed.
Hiking the Cliffs
Looking toward Pine Forest from the southeast face, one of the most striking features is The Cliffs, a landscape of granite cliffs and spires, and on the next weekend, visiting my family again, we snuck off for a hike among them. It is an awe-inspiring face, and it was Renee's first time climbing all the way through them and to the very top. The wind was cold and the day bit into our clothes, but we found a sunny glade out of the wind for our lunch and had a great day!
This is my name for a place that is very special to me, in the Black Rock Range. I have wandered this rock garden many times before, but am always able to make it a new hike. It blew icy, dry snow into our faces all day, and Renee, still fighting a cold, stayes home for this one. I think Larry wouldn't have minded staying home either, he looked like an icicle for a good part of the hike, but it was still a great time.
And beyond! The month is still not over and the explorations are sure to keep coming! With Renee feeling better this week and with some days off maybe we’ll head somewhere south and warm(er) ... it’s definitely chilly in Reno this morning!
I love the atmosphere of cold, crisp, evening air mixed with the steam of a natural, wild hot spring.
Had an impromptu exploration this week, decided to try to ride my bike from Gerlach to the ranch. Quickly deviated and decided to ride to the Black Rock instead. Camped in its shadow. It was my first time visiting the Black Rock and Larrys first overnight tour. I’ll be posting more on this one, but for now just a few images.
Written by Renee Aldrich
Happy Birthday to this awesome fella! I’m so happy we found each other and we get to explore and play together in this crazy, beautiful world of ours.
Have a a great day, I love you so much!
This blog is dedicated to stories and ideas from our explorations. We hope you enjoy!
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