Flying with the Falcon, Dec. 13, 2017
It’s been a while since I felt like writing about anything travel- or hiking-related, but today I went out with my dogs for a hike at one of my favorite places here in the Carson Valley of Nevada: Jack’s Valley Conservancy. Lately I have taken to hiking in the afternoons because the weather here has been colder since the autumnal equinox, and the afternoon is usually the best time to get a hike in slightly more comfortable conditions because it’s a little warmer. The night time cold has been especially bitter in the last couple of weeks, getting down into the teens and single digits. The Falcon has been surprisingly warm enough, however, since Michael insisted on buying us an oil-filled radiator to get us through the winter without a working furnace. Thus far, the radiator is working well and keeping us toasty, sometimes to the point of sweating at night and having to turn down the heat—a double surprise. Michael also put up skirting around the base of the Falcon to keep the underbelly of the RV warmer, which also seems to help. Anyway, despite the night being so cold, the sun has come out every day and brought about a comfortable afternoon, even if still rather chilly.
For a couple of months I have gone to the conservancy in an effort to relocate a trail we took over the summer when we hiked with a mountaineer friend who lives in the area. She brought us up a trail to the top of the moraine in the conservancy, a rock-studded hill which could be mistaken for a foothill of the larger Sierra Nevada Mountains to the West, which lie just beyond the conservancy. When we hiked this moraine in August, I thought I would easily remember the trail, as I didn’t really recall all the extra off-shoots from the trail when we climbed it the first time, and I didn’t get back to hiking up that moraine again right away. By the time I went back in hopes of climbing up it again, I lost my way and ended up hiking up the wrong trail most of the way up the incline. I felt like a fool when the trail just petered out on the hillside, and even when I went back down the trail to try to find the turn I missed, I couldn’t tell where it branched to go up the correct path.
Needless to say, I’ve hiked up several times lately to see if I can figure out the correct path. After at least a half dozen attempts, I think I may have finally found the right path. Tomorrow I hope Michael and I will have the energy to go up the entire peak, as I have been chomping at the bit to get up there and see the view of the valley again. Even partway up the hillside, the view is rather spectacular. We will have to leave early enough to have time for the whole hike, though, as the sun is setting earlier every day. The last two days I’ve gone there, I find the sun starts setting as I am making my way back to the truck. It’s lovely to be there at sunset, when the sky turns pink and pale blue and orange, a dusty sort of sunset which paints the whole sky some nights as the sun gently drops behind the Sierra Nevadas. Today I was fortunate enough to see the snow-capped peaks lit just at the tips of their majestic height, the very last direct sun of the day shining golden and gorgeous on Job’s Peak, Job’s Sister, and Freel Peak.
I suppose I could have taken a photo of that last moment of sun, but I think I would have missed seeing it if I had spent the time digging my phone out for a photo. By the time I got the camera ready, the sun would have dipped below the farther peaks and the effect would have been gone. We can’t live just for the moments we capture on camera, even though I think we all try these days. Instead, I prefer to enjoy the moment, watch the sunset instead of snapping photos of it, watch the snake slither into the brush, watch the moon rise over the mountains, watch the bird flit from branch to branch, watch the clouds scud across the horizon and let them pass unscathed by my clumsy camera moment. Even if we capture the most beautiful photos from an experience, too often we lose the enjoyment. I am still guilty of snapping photos like a fiend at times, but I do my best to not let it rule my daily life. Some experiences are best being memories we revisit only in our mind’s eye.