Went on a quick hike tonight. Remember, Nevada is ugly. Don’t come here. If you do come here, just go to the casinos… because the rest of Nevada is ugly.
Summer is tough around here. Drunk people on rafts clog the river, the hiking trails are overrun by groups of soccer moms in day-glo spandex, the city streets are closed for events ranging from classic car shows to art festivals to motorcycle rallies. I don’t enjoy going out during the summer. I prefer the cooler months when I can find solitude. That said I still manage to get some time in the boonies, mostly to maintain my sanity. Here is a recap of the past several weeks.
I took Travis on his first “real” backpacking trip. Up to now he’s done car camping with me or stayed in a pop-up trailer with his mom and stepfather. I do not consider this camping and it was time he got to experience what camping is supposed to be. We only went a mile or so out of town but it was far enough that it felt isolated.
We pitched camp. Travis had the hammock and I slept under my tarp. We are in the middle of a drought and fires are restricted, so s’mores had to come out of a foil package. Travis didn’t seem to mind.
I tried out my new pack from Frost River. It’s definitely heavier than more modern packs but makes up for it by being tough as nails (waxed canvas and leather.) This is something I think I’ll be able to pass down to Travis someday. I might write a review on the pack once I’ve used it a few more months.
The night was colder than expected. Travis had a down bag and had no problems. I went with the “travel light, freeze at night” philosophy and got to fully experience the “freeze at night” part.
Dawn warmth was extremely welcome.
We went for a short hike to warm the blood and headed home.
This is certainly not an epic adventure by most standards, but I feel it is more important than many of the trips I have been on. I passed down some outdoor traditions and continued to stoke a love of the outdoors in my son. There is no greater adventure than that.
A few weeks later it was my birthday. Kory bought me a new tattoo at Lucky Seven Tattoo in King’s Beach, Lake Tahoe. I’d been wanting something to represent my love of fly fishing and the outdoors for a while and decided a Royal Wulff fly would fit the bill perfectly.
The Royal Wulff was the first fly I ever received, the first fly I caught a fish on, the first dry fly I learned how to tie and the first fly I personally tied and caught a fish on. Some history there to say the least.
Russell, one of the owners and a fishing guide, did the work. It was nice to go in and know that the man doing the art would know exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier with the finished piece.
Other than that not a lot of news. Just some day hikes and morning fishing trips trying to avoid civilization and, unfortunately, often finding it anyway. Pray for an early snow.
I set out to return to a meadow that I hadn’t been to since my youth. It is about three miles in from the edge of town. There are no special memories there for me, it played no formative role in my life, but for some reason I feel drawn to it. It is strange how some places can grab your soul and not let go. This place has no name so I call it Deer Meadow for no other reason than I saw deer there the first time I found it. The forest service has added some logs beside the fire road but otherwise it remains unchanged from fifteen years ago. I hope it stays unchanged so my son discover it for himself one day.
This is the view about half a mile in. If you enlarge the picture you can just make out the meadow toward the right.
Saw the deer tracks get thicker and thicker as I made my way up the mountain.
Some cat tracks as well.
The final hill up to the meadow was a skating rink. I had to bushwhack for a bit to get around it.
I finally crested the hill and was rewarded with my goal.
The next day I decided to take a walk along the river. Found a week-old lion kill, not much else in the way of wildlife (which, depending on the wildlife, might have been a blessing.)
The rest of the week was spent working and dealing with the mundane broken up by time with Kory and the boys. I hope your week was as fulfilling as mine.
I spent this weekend close to home. Sometimes it just isn’t possible to get out into the backcountry. I like to keep a supply of wood on hand for the fireplace. I enjoy the fire but it also doubles as a backup plan in case the power goes out when the snow arrives. I have been bringing in pieces of a sequoia from our woodlot and got around to splitting them on Friday.
By the time winter hits the whole patio should be filled with wood. I’ll probably go through about half of it leaving me ahead for next winter. There is more than just the practical value of heating with wood. The hard work of felling, bucking, transporting, splitting and stacking is good for the soul and, I think, takes me back to a simpler time. It allows me to be closer to nature, and there is a satisfaction in knowing I’m doing the same work that my ancestors did before me.
On Sunday my son and I went for a walk down by the river. We were never out of sight of a road or a house but to him it felt wild and unspoiled
.I often get frustrated that there are fewer and fewer wild places. I am lucky to live in a place where I can drive a short distance and be in nature, but to get to a truly unspoiled area takes an hour or more. Travis taught me an important lesson today: the woods are where you find them. We can’t always get to the place we want to be, but if we look at where we are through the right eyes, we can make it a wild place.