Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Lake Tahoe; Pacific Crest Trail; Through-Hikers; Winnemucca, Nevada; McCall, Idaho; A New Moose!


Our summer tour continued with a week long stay in Lake Tahoe. We celebrated our 23rd anniversary with dinner at Edgewood Resort, on the shores of Lake Tahoe. Fabulous food and wine and a lovely setting. And of course, beautiful company! (Am I lucky or what?) 













While on a day hike on the Pacific Crest Trail near Tahoe, My Lovely Bride (MLB) was happy to see snow up at higher elevations. We had been warned about snow on the PCT, and turned around just past this snowbank... we didn't have ice axes or crampons like the serious hikers carry up here. (Not much use for them in Florida or South Carolina!)











On another hike, we met two PCT through-hikers from Canada, Mary from Ottawa and Mary from Montreal. They had just started on their 2,650 mile hike that day, deciding because of heavy snowfall to hike south from Tahoe to the border with Mexico, then return north to do the Tahoe to Canada part after the record snowpack has melted. As they turned to continue their hike, MLB said, sotto voce, "Ty, they are headed south... we are headed north..."  She is such a comedienne...















That afternoon, we met another through-hiker on the PCT. Alex, who had already hiked from the Mexican border to Tahoe, about 1,200 miles, was meeting his girlfriend here for a few days of R&R. We gave him a lift into town, and learned that his trail name was "Lisa"... since hikers' trail names are usually assigned by other hikers, we asked, "Why 'Lisa'?" Alex laughed and said that for the first few weeks on the trail, he was accompanied by his dog, Mona. Alex/Lisa also showed us a photo of him and his girlfriend just before the start of his hike... He had made a vow to not cut his hair or shave until he finished the hike.  Is that the same guy???














Suzanne flew to Virginia to teach a weekend course at The Monroe Institute, so I stayed behind with Rudy and Gretchen, but I also got in more hiking on the PCT and other trails. This magnificent coastal redwood (Sequoia sempervirens) was just off the trail in the Desolation Wilderness. It's hard to describe the majesty of these trees and the humility one feels up in these mountains...















The PCT runs through some of the wildest country in the US, and it indeed follows the crest of the Sierras and Cascades whenever possible. One of Alex/Lisa's regrets was that the trail doesn't pass through the Giant Sequoia groves in Sequoia National Park, which he wanted to visit. That's also why in heavy snow years like this one, through-hikers have to carry ice and snow equipment or wait until July for the snows to melt along the crest where they are traveling.










On Independence Day, we packed up our gear and headed northeast to Winnemucca, Nevada, where we spent two nights. A 4th of July festival was being held nearby, so we walked over and looked at the food booths and some local entertainment. An exercise instructor was demonstrating pole dancing, and I suggested to MLB that we could put in a pole for her at the house to work out on. (Husbands: when you get stony silence to a perfectly good suggestion to your bride, move on quickly....) 


















... maybe to a non-controversial subject, like sheepdogs. Those competing in agility trials were on a break, but we still admired their obvious intelligence, enthusiasm and stylish appearance.




While on a hike in Winnemucca, we saw this White Admiral butterfly (Limenitis arthemis). They feed on the leaves of aspen, poplar, willow and birch, which are widely distributed here, but adults will also eat fruit and nectar from white flowers. These butterflies are in constant motion, almost always remaining within three feet of the ground. They also have an interesting mating process in which many females "double mate"... but this being a G-rated blog, we won't go into that behavior...







From Winnemucca, Nevada, we sped north through southeastern Oregon - if you haven't been here, the view out of the driver's window says it all... there's a whole lot of nuthin' for a hundred miles or so. This region is  part of the Great Basin Desert, marked by sagebrush flats, dry lakes and salt basins. This part of Oregon is virtually uninhabited. One feature of the basin is that all rivers flow inward, ending in salty lakes or salt pans... not a drop of water here reaches the sea. Good thing we had fueled up in Nevada, because there was only one place on the road that sold diesel.




Our next call was McCall, Idaho, one of our favorite destinations. McCall is a resort town on Payette Lake with lots of hiking, mountain biking and kayaking available. In the past we stayed at Ponderosa State Park, but it was all booked up, so we stayed in an RV resort that was quite comfortable, with lots of places to walk Rudy and Gretchen and bike trails from the campground. And, the beautiful Payette River was just below our campsite!








One of our hikes was along this beautiful stream. The creeks and rivers here in the mountains are mostly fed by snowmelt, and run fast and cold in Spring and early summer. By the end of August, they will be much smaller and tamer. Here is MLB next to a good-looking trout stream; but I didn't bring my fishing gear, so the trout are safe... 












Finally, a happy shopping story... Suzanne was in a shop in McCall looking for something, and the puppies and I were waiting outside. She stuck her head out the door and said, "Ty, this shop is dog friendly; come on in!" So we browse around looking at wood carvings and things while Suzanne checks out. As we pick up her package, our little Rudy grabs a stuffed moose off a shelf just below the register where customers pay. (What a great marketing ploy!) Anyway, what kind of Scrooge would take it from his mouth and deny such a gift to their 14 year old Dachshund? Here is our boy Rudy walking down the street with his new chew toy... Life is Good!






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