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Tag Archives: wildflowers

On our recent road trip, the girls and I spent a week in eastern Nevada. It was all new to us. I had never really contemplated what the phrase ‘basin and range’ meant. I thought it was mostly flat and desert-like with mountains here and there. That’s not the case at all. It has broad flat valleys that start at 5000′ elevation and are surrounded by high mountains, many going over 10,000′! As we drove through these valleys and over high passes, I was constantly amazed at the rugged snow-capped mountain ranges. Since it was May, the temperatures were cool and sometimes freezing overnight. I imagine it is brutal during the hot summer months. We saw familiar wildflowers but they were all short and seemed to be putting out all their energy before summer arrives. It must be a very short growing season.

Our friends from Montana joined us for a few days. Luna and Sky were surprised that Junie is almost grown up at nine months old. Gus was skeptical. We tried to get a four dog portrait but it never really worked. While Junie looks grown up, she is still a big puppy! Next time! We did a day trip to Great Basin National Park. The road to the high point was not open to cars due to snow so we walked on it instead. I’d like to go back and see the bristlecone pine trees and enjoy the night sky at over 10,000′!

Nevada is full of tiny towns, some on the brink of disappearing into history. Some are having a kind of renaissance, improving on historical features and counting on the great natural beauty to bring a few tourists to their communities. I wanted to say, be careful what you wish for. Don’t become Utah.

August has been warm and sunny and we have been out on some terrific hikes. Sometimes the girls do not get to go. Too much sun and dry conditions are hard on Luna. I don’t know how to tell her that one day, I will be taking Sky and not her. How do you handle leaving the older dog behind? It’s kind of heartbreaking. Some days and trails are ok for her and I do carry water for her to drink but she seldom drinks much of it. She’d rather have a cool mountain stream or a muddy puddle! She really likes to cool her belly in a creek or even better, on a patch of snow. Snow patches are getting few and far between this late in the summer.

The wildflowers have been glorious this year. We have seen lots of pikas, marmots and ground squirrels too. We have enjoyed blue skies and sunshine and endless mountain views. I have had no work this summer so I am very happy to spend my time in the mountains. If we have to be socially distanced, this is a pretty good place to do it.

The girls and I had a floriferous hike last week. The wildflowers were magnificent and the sky was the bluest blue. We saw and heard pikas, hoary marmots and ground squirrels. Did you know that pikas make hay piles in the summer? They let the ‘hay’ dry out and then haul it under the rocks so they can eat it all winter. Pikas are the smallest rabbit species and they do not hibernate.

I know, this is a lot of images for one post but really, you need to see the beauty of the mountains right now.

My husband wrote a song called Climb to the Top of the World and I thought of that when we reached this mountaintop on Tuesday.

It was a chilly day and the wind was blowing pretty hard at home and I almost didn’t go. Then I remembered that Luna does much better on hikes when the weather is not the best in my mind. She just doesn’t tolerate the heat well anymore. So off we went with a rain jacket for me and carrying extra water for the dogs. It was 48 at the 6560′ trailhead and I was glad to have a warmer jacket too. The dogs thought it was perfect.

The trail goes steeply through a burned forest and then into high meadows before going straight up through the rocky mountainside. Just before the last big ascent, there is a rock that holds any water from recent precipitation and I don’t know if Luna remembers it or if she can smell it but long before I got there, she was slurping up the remnants of the dirty puddle. I gave her clean water too and used some of that to replenish the puddle.

The views at the 8245′ summit just can’t be beat. Mountains everywhere. The flowers are just beginning. In a week or two, they will be glorious.

The weather here remains unsettled. The wind frequently howls, clouds come and go, the temperature doesn’t go much above 70 and there are occasional thunderstorms. It’s June and feels very cold. But why should we let that stop us? I woke Ken up yesterday and told him we needed to go for a hike. There are lots of projects around here to do and he continues to work from home and now he has to travel again so there’s no time like now.

It was a LONG bumpety bump drive to get to the trailhead at 6800 feet elevation and given that it had rained hard at home the previous night, we should not have been surprised to see new snow. Not a lot but I imagine that the folks camped up there were not real happy about it. Along the trail little and big rivulets and small streams were running joyfully down the mountainside. Flowers bloomed in snow and standing water. Anemones were everywhere. Water dripped from evergreens as the snow melted.

Ken fished for brook trout while the girls and I explored a bit around the lake and Sky took great joy in swimming for sticks despite the cold water. She shivered when she sat still.

It was a lovely short hike despite the long bumpety bump drive.

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