Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Layover by the Lake

Between Carson City and Reno there is a body of water named Washoe Lake. It is a natural lake, once a gathering place for the Washoe Indians, and and now a Nevada State Park. We have camped here in past trips, once in the middle of winter with several inches of snow on the ground. It is a convenient and varied place.

Located only 20 miles from Reno gave us an opportunity to spend Tuesday doing laundry and shopping at the Sierra Trading Post Outlet and Trader Joe’s (our kind of shopping). As with all Nevada State Parks, this campground has clean and warm showers. There were only a few RV’s parked around us, and we were the only tent.

Another great feature of the campground is an unsecured wireless network, which allowed us to access the Internet while tucked in our sleeping bags. The curious thing is that there were no houses within range that could send the signal. The only thing we could conclude was the Park office near the entrance was providing us with this connection. We were so jazzed about it we decided to stay an extra day!

Thunderstorms were building during our entire day in Reno – big black clouds and lightning brought rain to our drive back. It rained heavily during the evening and into the night. Wednesday morning was spectacular – just a few puffy clouds, and it warmed up nicely during the day to dry the tent and provide brightness for our solar panel to recharge the computer batteries depleted by all that surfing.

The setting provides panoramic views of the Sierras to the west, which are capped with snow. On the south side of the lake is a constructed wetlands area. Before the extension of Highway 395 between Carson City and Reno, there were numerous natural wetlands. The current wetlands were constructed as mitigation for the wetlands eliminated by the highway. There is a wildlife viewing area with a boardwalk and raised platform that gives a great vantage point for observing birds.

We have only casually tried to identify birds in the past, but here were all kinds of new birds we have never seen. Thanks to a fellow traveler with birding experience, we learned the names of many – Cinnamon Teal, Northern Shoveler, Bufflehead, White-faced Ibis, Black-necked Stilt, American Avocet, Marsh Wren, Northern Pintail, Yellow-headed Blackbird, among others.

What a great place to rest, discover, and explore.
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Anonymous said...

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