Sunday, August 31, 2014

3 Months at Washoe Lake State Park

So far I've survived my first 3 months at Washoe Lake! I've done 2 full moon hikes so far, helped with the Dutch Oven cooking class, staffed a booth at the fair, and staffed a booth at a youth event in Carson City. I didn't get a picture...yet...but we have a family of bobcats in the park running around!

View of Washoe Lake from the Mount Rose Highway outside of Reno. We need some water this winter so the lake doesn't dry up! (it has in the past).

The Wetlands Loop is one of our nicest walking trails (in my opinion).
We had a crazy hailstorm earlier in August that turned our sand dunes white!
We hosted a Rattlesnake Avoidance Training for dogs (and their owners) in June. If you look closely, you can see that snake's mouth is muzzled! No snakes or dogs were injured in this program....
It's been a great park to work at so far! It is a lot different from Fort Churchill, so there is still a LOT to learn! Virginia City, is just over the hill from us so I need to explore this area more. Virginia City was built when gold, and later, silver, were discovered in Nevada. Washoe Valley was settled to supply Virginia City with lumber from the Sierra Nevada, crops, and water.


Saturday, June 7, 2014

Sometimes You Have to Leave the Desert...(part 1)

...for the coast!

One of my absolute favorite places to visit, even for a night or two, is Monterey, CA. I've only been there twice, but Dave's been there a lot, and he's glad I like it! Last time we even drove the 17-mile scenic loop around Carmel...and I was brave enough to venture down to the beach alone (Dave didn't want to go) to look in tide pools before the tide came in and I got to see sea anemones for the first time, outside of an aquarium. Last time we were there, we did visit the aquarium, but this time (March 2014) we didn't.  I would have gone, but Dave gets bored fast in those kind of settings, so I kind of thought it would have been a waste of money!

I'm going to have to split this into 2 posts, because there are way too many pictures!

The reason I love it :) I've been reading books by John Steinbeck just because he mentions the place. (and he was a great author!)

Beautiful...There's part of a chapter in Cannery Row that spends a lot of time describing life in a tide pool. Sea anemones, hermit crabs,'s awesome.

Another view

Anemone not covered with water, protected with pieces of sand, rock and shell. I had to look hard to figure out what these were!

Cannery Row in Monterey was full of Sardine canneries.

2nd over from the right, 3rd down, Dave's waving.

Egret looking for fish.

Monday, April 7, 2014

Nature Trail

A few sights along the Nature Trail...

Bullock's Oriole nest...built from twine, horse hair, grass, or any other fibrous material they can find.

Lizard sunning itself. Spring is here!

Woodpecker hole...we have Downy and Hairy Woodpeckers, and Northern Flickers.

The little gnats flying around that are making me CRAZY right now hatch out of these things. They are called "pinecone galls." The midge (gnat) lays an egg on the willow and when the egg hatches, it secrets a chemical that causes the willow to grow a "gall." The larvae spends the winter in these galls and emerges in the spring as a gnat. Head nets will save your sanity out here!!

Red-winged Blackbird.

Guided Tours

I've started doing guided tours of the Fort Churchill ruins, along with adobe brick-making demonstrations. April 19th will be my 2nd one. The first one had about 20 people in bad weather--cold and windy, but they seemed to have a good time! (I had fun...) Plus my boss and his girlfriend came along, along with one of our volunteers.

Trying to stay out of the wind!

At the Mess Hall and Barracks.

Making adobe bricks--stirring up the mud.

Shoveling the mud into the forms...where the bricks will dry in the sun.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Carson River Photos

I live next to the Walker River, and work beside the Carson River. None of the rivers inside the Great Basin flow out to the sea. Most of them evaporate in sinks. The Carson River is no different. It starts up in the Sierra Nevada in Alpine County, CA and 184 miles later ends in the Carson Sink close to Fallon, NV. One place I really want to visit is the Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge. It's not that far away at all, but I've never managed to get there...yet! It's a wetland area branching off from the Carson River, close to where it ends.

I walked around one of the trails at Fort Churchill last night before it got dark and got some pictures of the river...

Railroad bridge above the river...

Just a few months ago the river was completely dry. It didn't start flowing again until the end of October and finally these last few days with rain and snow have added some water!
Looking back toward the Fort from the Carson River Ranches.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Great Horned Owl

This morning before I went out to do the rounds, I happened to grab the park camera, just in case...and it was a good move! As I was driving into Scout Camp, I saw a Great Horned Owl flying low to the ground beside the truck--I wonder if I disturbed a meal or if it was sleeping. I saw where it landed, grabbed the camera and got a couple good shots before I left it alone, going back to cleaning and checking fee tubes...

I've seen it here before, but I don't always (never) have the camera with me!

It didn't look too happy with me so I left it alone...

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Big Bend of the Colorado State Park

Last week I went to our Parks Academy in Laughlin, NV. It was kind of like a giant staff meeting...with field trips! We drove down on Tuesday, and came back on Friday. Wednesday morning I had to give a 1/2 hour talk about interpretation along with other people talking about etiquette, social media, solar panels (cool), budget, more interpretation and getting grants. Our field trip that day was Oatman, AZ. It's a historic mining town like Virginia City but smaller.

Thursday, we had presentations about planning and development and timesheet. Our field trip was Big Bend of the Colorado State Park.

I had to at least dunk my feet in the Colorado River!

They have a really nice park: lots of sand, nice tables and shade shelters, good restrooms and a campground. They are crazy in August when the River Regatta comes through--lots of dehydrated, drunk people rafting down into Arizona!

Bullhead City, AZ is across the river from Big Bend. I heard the "cheapest" house across the way is in the $2.1 million range. The most expensive is around $6 million.

Anyway, it's a very nice park if anyone is ever around Laughlin, NV!