Written by Renee Aldrich
We are spending Christmas week in one of our favorite places, the northwestern corner of Nevada, at the base of the Pine Forest Range.
So far, we’ve enjoyed beautiful skies on our drive up, my mom and sister came to spend Christmas Eve and Christmas Day with us, on Christmas Day we all went up to one of our favorite spots—Chicken Creek, and on the day after Christmas we hiked up Bartlett Peak, a peak in the Black Rock Range. It’s now Wednesday morning and there’s still a lot of fun and adventure to be had!
We hope you all had a great Christmas and Holidays!
Merry Christmas, and Happy Holidays! It was so nice to get a bit of snow for the holiday season. We hope you have a great holiday season and are able to get out and play!
by Daniel Montero
I love to walk. For itself, not for exercise, not for a purpose, not even with an end in mind. Just walking. So on the final day of our Southern Nevada/California expedition, with a bit of time on my hands and fresh snow in the Sierra, I decided to go for a walk.
My original intention had been to get all the way home from Bakersfield (the back way) the day before, but then I had gotten tired and stopped in Bridgeport. When I woke up I decided to take the full day off from work (not that I would have made it anyway), and to start the day off with a soak at Buckeye.
With my only object for the day now to get from Bridgeport back to Reno, and with the higher parts of the Sierra clothed in fresh snow, I drove north looking for likely walking places, of which there is no shortage. I took Little Walker Road, a few miles before the turn off for Sonora Pass (which was already closed), and drove as far as I liked in the Prius, to about Obsidian Campground. It was a warm, sunny day, and I had no object, no destination, no end goal other than to wander a bit among the mountain meadows that spread around me.
I followed the road up a little, but then ducked off. There was snow, in patches, but more than less, and the basin I was in was dotted with willow and aspen. As I walked I realized that it has been a while since I’ve done this, that many of our recent hikes have had a purpose, been toward a peak or other mark, and while we are not obsessed with ends rather than means, it still is a different thing to be just wandering with nowhere to go. In this case, even more so than normal, the end is the journey, and it was a pure pleasure to just pick where I was going based on exactly where I wanted to go, not because I was headed somewhere. Of course, avoiding marshes and finding creek crossings was essential, and I did point toward rocky points or winter meadows, and was turned back by a No Trespassing sign near Cow Camp Creek, which I only knew because of a ranch painted sign and because I looked it up for this writing. (Speaking of, now that I have looked, I realized that I spent most of the day along the eloquently and somewhat terrifyingly named Poison Creek.)
I don’t need rules for walking (even the absence of a rule becoming a rule eventually), and probably the next time I got out it will be toward a peak or some petroglyphs, but it was such a nice reminder that sometimes the best destination is no destination at all.
Written by Renee Aldrich (with assistance from Loose Pup Larry)
For the last week or so my (Renee's) social media feeds (pinterest, facebook, instagram) have been filled with tips for hygge. What the heck is hygge, pronounced hoo ga, you might ask, as I certainly did. Hygge is apparently the Scandinavian word for the mood of coziness and comfort. And while I love getting cozy and comfy I kinda thought all the play it was getting was pretty silly. But then, Larry looked over at me and was like "what the heck are you talking about? I aspire to find a high level of coziness every single day, I LOVE getting cozy!" So Larry wanted to share some of his favorite ways he likes to get all comfy and cozy. Below are Larry’s tips for doggy hygge.
Larry's day of hygge:
1) Wake up to a nice, warming tummy rub
2) Play in the snow
3) Hang out with friends who lift you up
4) Snuggle up in a nice cozy blanket
5) Cozy up with your favorite plush friend
6) Warm up in front of the fireplace
7) Enjoy some of your favorite treats!
8) Spend some quality snuggle time with your loved ones
Dan admiring the wildflowers! This was high in the Sierra Mountains at Highland Lakes. It was August, but it felt like spring. There were crazy amounts of wildflowers and snow down to the lake. This was such a fun day and the wildflowers were such a gift.
By Daniel Montero
My next excursion into the black was also my first excursion into the white of 2017. In late September I took a day off from work and ventured out to Stateline Peak, the high point of the Fort Sage Mountains east of 395 around Doyle, California. The mountain is one of the farther ones from Reno that can be seen from places in the Truckee Meadows and of course it has an interesting name and an interesting position on the stateline, but also wedged between the Sierra front toward Susanville and the Virginia Mountains bordering Pyramid Lake. An island of a mountain.
I had climbed up on its flank when I rode to the ranch with Coco a few years back, and had caught it just at dusk before plunging on a dark ride into the Fish Springs Valley and my meeting with Grub, but that is another story altogether. When I passed there, the peak had seemed very close, and thought that the road I had followed out would give me good access, so I drove out along Fish Springs Valley and found my road without any problem.
It had stormed the night before and there had been snow on the summit, which I admired as I drove north on 395 and around on Fish Springs Valley road.
What I hadn’t realized was that this side of the mountain had burned in the summer and then had been heavily rained on, so my access road was more of a wash than a road, especially in the Subaru. I went as far as I could but it was definitely testing the Subaru limits more than I like. The day was threatening as well and the summit was white, if I made it high enough I would be in the snow. Why wouldn’t I make it high enough? Well, I felt like I’d parked OK, but it had been a place that washed, so if it started raining, I was definitely booking it back to the car and getting out!
After that, the climb was straightforward, an old mining road wound up a ways to a cool old mine shaft and then it was just climbing along the ridge. The black had had enough rain that it showed lots of signs of green. The mountain is beautiful granite as well, and the sky show was tremendous, and the darkest of the storm clouds stayed over west, along with a great thunderstorm out over the Smoke Creek Desert.
And then, higher, the first specks of white, and then the world transformed, the wind picked up, and we left the black. The top fringe of the mountain had escaped the fire.
On the way down we detoured by a single juniper adorned with snow like a frosted Christmas Tree. Fire comes, the black is created, I walk through it today, rain and snow come and then green returns, tracks of some critters, shelters among the skeletons of the last fire. Life always returns, the black is only temporary, as total and all-encompassing at it seems to walk through.
This blog is dedicated to stories and ideas from our explorations. We hope you enjoy!
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