Reflections

While on walkies one afternoon, the Girl and I came across this inscription in the concrete at the old Nevada Children's Home.
While on walkies one afternoon, the Girl and I came across this inscription in the concrete at the old Nevada Children’s Home.
A couple of weeks ago, the Girl and I were out for a late afternoon walk. A favorite place is the old Nevada Children’s Home (Nevada State Orphanage), which is now relegated to what appears to be state storage and a great place for dog owners to gather with their fur-friends. I had not noticed this inscription before, but the late sun caught the texture of the concrete just right and it caught my eye.

We are entering the portion of the year when I like to stop and reflect. The ending of the year and the beginning of a new year is a great time to review what is done and look ahead to what might be done. I like that.

I woke really early Sunday morning, dreaming of Wife. She was not happy and was telling me about it in no uncertain terms. As I shook off the dream, I wondered “What was that all about?” I’m uncertain yet what it might be. But I trust my intuition and I’ll know if/when I need to know. Regardless, being awake, I rose, emptied my bladder (always a good idea), and decided to make a cup of tea. Tea is good for the soul, I think, and the process/ritual is also good.

I really didn’t want to sit at the computer too long, so I wrote a short weblog post and turned off the machine. With my tea finished, I took up a book I was reading, The Peaceful Warrior, which I picked up on my travels last summer. I decided to finish the book. I don’t have to be anyplace most days, so if I want to read a bit and sleep a little late, I can.

(Although the truth is I live a very regular life. It’s not regimented — in that I get upset if I don’t keep my regimen — but it’s orderly. I like that.)

I finished my book and the Girl wanted to go out. It was not raining, so we went outside in the morning dark. She took care of her business, scratching the ground furiously after relieving herself (and grinning at me in the process), and was ready to go back to bed. I snuggled up close, loving her smell, her heat, her small sounds of contentment, and I fell asleep too.

I rolled out a bit late, but not really late, made some coffee, and sat down to wake. Before long she asked for her morning routine.

Laughing, I dressed us, collected my things, and peeked outside. There was a little sun shining and not much wind. So, out we went.

As we walked toward the usual place, the Girl danced around me, looked over her shoulder, grinning, and pranced about. She makes me smile and laugh, so we started trotting toward the park, both of us laughing and playing. We met up with another pair, an old man and his dog, who get it. He’s seen a lot of life, is retired, and enjoying his time. His girl knows what’s doing on. She’s intuitive, engaged, and social. She and the Girl get along very well, despite the disparity in physical size.

We walked a bit while watching the weather blow over the hill (much like yesterday morning). There are good relationship to be had between men. I’m learning something of that these days. We talked about the weather and our experience with life. Then the sky darkened with the increasing wind and a few drops of rain fell. The Girl began to shiver a little, although it was not too cold, but the vanishing of the sun took away that warmth and the wind was cool.

“We’d better go. She’s cold and there is rain coming. She’s fine with snow; but she hates being in the rain and being wet.”

Life is good. I am happy, regardless of whether a full-time gig comes or not. I am confident that God provides what I need and that there will be plenty of work in 2017. I’m expecting my apartment to be ready soon and will have a place to live, work, and process my durable goods. It will be good to have my own space again.

I think the path for the next few months is starting to come clear. What I thought I should do and what I’m going to do were not aligned. I think they are aligning with the passing of each week. I’m beginning to see the path and that’s good for me. It isn’t necessary that I see, but it is comforting to have a plan, even if it’s only for a few weeks or months.

Truckee River Charlie, thanks for your inscription. You gave me an interesting photograph and a nice wonder about who you might be.

I am thankful. Whatever I have, it will be enough. Life is good.

Fall is Fallen

On walkies one morning, I noticed the light on the street sign at Eighth and Fall. The irony amused me.
On walkies one morning, I noticed the light on the street sign at Eighth and Fall. The irony amused me.
The Girl and I returned from our trip to Denver about a week ago. The weekend and first few days of the week were filled (for me) with work. A client needed help with a critical phase of her project and I was able to help her. I returned with a Winder$ box that needed some work (a failed hard drive for starters and additional upgrades) and spent a couple of days working through its issues before it was stabilized.

But, even with being busy, part of every day is spent outdoors with the Girl. She needs outside time and interaction with me. I need outside time and interaction with her and our circle of doggie-friends. Even on cold mornings (and we’ve had a few already) we get out at least once and usually twice. With the shortening days it’s more difficult to get in two walks a day, but we’re managing.

One cold morning I noticed the light on the street sign near the hotel where we stay. The irony of “fall” made me chuckle as I paused for a capture. The Girl, impatient as she can be in the morning (“gotta poo!”) pushed her energy at me (“let’s go… now!”) and so I made the hasty capture and off we went for morning walkies.

I’m settling back into my routine after the odd days of travel. It looks like the Grand Junction engagement is not going to happen. I’m completely OK with that — if they don’t offer me the position then I don’t have to decide.

That is my approach these days. I can make a living (I think and God willing) without a full-time gig. I’ll have less money. I’m OK with that. I’ll have more time. I’m OK with that too. So, whether or not a full-time (or part-time) gig materializes, I’m OK with it. God provides what I need and I have an abundance already. I do not need more.

So, back here in Carson City I’m happy. I like it here. I like the climate. I like the outdoors. I like the mountains. I can go to the coast if I want to (and if I want to spend time in PRK). I’ll have time this winter to work on some projects I want done. In the spring we’ll spend more time outdoors as the days lengthen again into summer.

I have more captures and more thoughts rattling around in my head. For the next few days, though, I’m going to spend some time reflecting on thankfulness. I do that as a kind of tradition. But it’s more than a tradition; it’s real. I am thankful.

I also have a little work to do. Work is good, too.

It’s good to be back in Nevada. This place feels like home to me.

Happy Birthday, Wife

Wife and Pier at Crissy Field Today, Wife would have been 64-years old. She’s been gone for three years and change. Rarely does a day pass when her memory does not arise, often in the context of an event I think she would have like, a sight she would have enjoyed, or a song we shared.

I still miss her and think I always will. As I wander my way back toward Nevada, there are times when I think “Wife would have enjoyed that…” in the context of something I see or hear. The thought occurred to me yesterday when I was driving through Glenwood Canyon on my way to Grand Junction, Colorado. The light played on the rocks in the afternoon fall sun. The way the rocks were illuminated was interesting and we would have shared that sight.

Birthday celebrations are supposed to be happy affairs. I think when I settle in for the evening, I’ll raise a glass of wine to the east and salute Wife, her life, and her love. Happy Birthday, Wife!

The Progression of Fall

The Girl and I have enjoyed our fall walks along the Carson River Trail. The colors this fall were wonderful!
The Girl and I have enjoyed our fall walks along the Carson River Trail. The colors this fall were wonderful!

The Girl and I got out this morning to walk and play a bit before I returned to my report. I have a draft report due today and it is my focus for the week. So, we did not take a long walk for the last few days, preferring to stay a little closer to the room.

This morning we visited with human/doggie friends at the usual place. Just as we arrived, the wind came up, signaling a change in the weather. I looked outside a few minutes ago, intending to go walk, but it is raining. So, my walk will have to wait.

The draft report was emailed to the prime contractor a few minutes ago. I have the afternoon to think about other things.

The signal of new weather is normal for this time of year. I expect it to turn cooler over the next few weeks. Soon we will see a hard freeze and the resulting loss of the remaining leaves. The trees will release their leaves and don their winter clothing. I will miss the color but also will enjoy the dormant season with the skeletal images that come with winter outdoors.

I will be here a few more days, then will head for Denver for a few days. I have a job interview there and will see my kids. Then I expect to return to Carson City to work while I wait on the results of the interview.

I am looking forward to the trip to Colorado. I will take my favorite route. There will be a little pressure to get there, but I think there will still be time to play along the way. If the weather is good, the Girl and I will hike some. There will be photographs to make as well, I am certain.

I think I will hit my storage unit before I go. I want to retrieve my winter hat (if I can find it) and maybe a couple of lenses to go with me. I have some things I can leave in my unit and lighten the load for this short trip.

I think that when I return I will finally be able to begin the process of dealing with my storage units. I will either be moving into a place locally or will be moving remotely. But, either way, I will be able to begin the process of purging those things I no longer want/need and putting the remainder to work for me.

This is good.

Fall is Here

I think I'll never tire of walking out to Mexican Dam, especially now that the Carson River flows are increasing.
I think I’ll never tire of walking out to Mexican Dam, especially now that the Carson River flows are increasing.

The night before last was a blustery fall night. It rained off and on as the westerly winds blew moisture over the Carson Range and into the valleys east of the Sierra Nevada. The fan in my room’s HVAC unit mitigated the normal affect wind might have on my sleep — restless — which was good. So I slept fairly well even with the wind and rain.

When we left the room, there was a bit of sun for a cool fall morning. So we walked over to the old orphanage, interacted with some friends and acquaintances, and played with the ball a bit. We then returned to the room so I could feed us and take care of my Saturday-morning chores.

But I soon became restless. I wanted some outside time, even if the wind was up. So the Girl and I headed out to Silver Saddle Ranch for a walk and a look at the Carson River. We took a slightly different route than recently to add a little variety. But ultimately if one wants to walk to the Mexican Dam, there is the Mexican Ditch maintenance road to walk. The slope west from the ditch to a little rough to walk.

It can be done and we’ve done it, but the footing is treacherous in places and it’s not worth the risk of a serious spill. So I walk the road.

The wind did not yet take the leaves. Some of the old cottonwoods still cling to their green as well. They will be the holdouts, waiting until the last moment to shed for the winter. For me, that means a few more days of fall color opportunity before the winter colors arrive. I’m carrying my compact camera in-hand more and need to download those images for processing.

I could hear the Carson River flow over Mexican Dam before we reached the site. Even with the white noise of wind in the trees I could hear the water’s pitch. Glimpses of white air entrainment were visible through gaps in the trees as we approached.

Sure enough, more flow is crossing Mexican Dam. It isn’t a lot more, but it’s noticeable and I suspect measurable. There was enough rain in the watershed to boost the discharge slightly.

The Girl and I walked out onto the weir. She tried to drink and managed a few sips before a whitecap smacked her nose, causing her to jump back. Nonplussed, she tried a couple more times as we puttered along the west bank of the river. There’s plenty of dry driftwood for me to make a fire if I need to. I realize that I should carry my folding saw in my pack as well as the tiny saw on my multitool. “Two is one and one is none…” If I needed to make a small fire, I’d better have some additional tools in the kit.

I have a tarp (cover) and cordage for my pack as well. I think I’ll spend a little time this week to assemble those items and get them into my pack. They should be part of my EDC system anyway.

We turned away to walk back to the rig and return home. Clouds darkened the western sky as the continued winds blew more energy and moisture over the Carson Range. I knew we’d see more rain that afternoon. Even if it was only a couple of miles back to the rig, those could be pretty miserable miles in the wet without cover.

I’m so thankful that I can get out like this. I love being outside, walking, listening to the world about me. The Girl adds a unique element to the experience with her completely different perception of the world. Sharing that with her is good and I’ve grown because of it.

Back at our room, tired and ready for food, I cleaned up while the Girl napped. Her breathing and soft energy was too tempting and so I rolled up in my blanket next to her for a nap and a snuggle. There is something about having another living being in my life that expands my perception. That we share much experience from our totally different perspectives fascinates and astounds me.

Sure enough, I woke to a blustery light rain. That’s typical fall weather in western Nevada. There will be snow in the mountains and that’s a good thing for it is water for next year. Soon we’ll have colder days and harder light. With another layer of clothing and perhaps a jacket for the Girl, we’ll be good to go and be out and about on cold winter mornings, enjoying life outdoors.

I’m thankful. Life is good…

Flow Over the Mexican Dam

Over the last few days, I noticed the flow in Carson River increased. Irrigation season is ended and flows are being restored to the Carson River.
Over the last few days, I noticed the flow in Carson River increased. Irrigation season is ended and flows are being restored to the Carson River.

This was a difficult shot, technically. The dynamic range from the darkest shadow to the brightest highlight was too much for the sensor in my iPhone 6S. I made the shot anyway, knowing the technical problem. I used an application that captures data directly from the sensor in TIF encoding. I then post-processed the image on my MacBook Pro, but not using anything too fancy… just the Preview application and the simple tools it provides. The end result is not stellar, but it conveys the mood of the time of the shot.

The Girl and I are enjoying our daily outings along the Carson River. The trail from the staging area (River Park) to the Mexican Dam is almost flat and is about a mile and a half one way. There are wonderful views of the riparian area and the sagelands adjacent to them. Silver Saddle Ranch is west from the river/trail and it is still a working ranch. So it changes with the season too.

With the end of irrigation season (about the first of October), pressure on Carson River flows eases and the river begins its winter recovery. Reduced demand for water permits flows from the uplands to propagate downstream and recharge of the alluvial aquifer (bank storage) begins. As the alluvial aquifer moves toward equilibrium, more flow stays in the river and reaches Mexican Dam (and other parts downstream).

In the couple of weeks since irrigation ceased, I observed an increase in flow at Mexican Dam. In September I noticed where irrigators placed a few sandbags to direct the meager flow to the headgate of Mexican Ditch. Flow in Carson River was through Mexican Dam and its abutments or through Mexican Ditch to be returned downstream.

Now there is flow over Mexican Dam. It isn’t much, but it is there and it is measurably greater than two weeks ago. If the rain we are promised occurs this weekend, then I’m betting next week there will be more flow in the river. If so, I’ll notice it.

One might ask, “So what?”

There is something in me that observes. I am driven to just look at the world around me as I pass through it. I notice things, particularly when I pass by them multiple times. Change, in particular, captures my attention. Because I remain fascinated by water and its motion, I am particularly sensitive to changes in water dynamics when I see them.

Sometimes, those observations are interesting enough to capture with a camera. This fall I wish I was skilled with videography and had a drone. I think that an interesting short film could be produced of the Carson River corridor where I walk almost every day. But, I am neither skilled with videography nor do I have a drone. So, that is not happening.

Instead, I find myself capturing still images of the beauty of the Carson River corridor and posting them here along with my ruminations of what I observed. This is interesting, to me at least.

As the seasons change, my observations of the river will continue. I expect they will also change. In part that will be attributable to the changing season, but also I will change. I also expect that my range will increase as I find new trails to work with the Girl.

I’m actually looking forward to winter. I love walking in the cold, crisp air (with warm clothing). The hardness of winter light fascinates me. The bit of snow we’ll have here in the valleys of Nevada will add a touch of interest to the landscape. There will be fewer people out walking the trails as well. The heat and taste of coffee or tea after the walk is such a pleasant experience.

Yes, the seasons change and I welcome the change. The river flows on, caught in the changes humans enforce upon it, but also hinting that it is also the same, following its cycle through the seasons. I’m ready for the winter season. Life is good…

Hope Valley

On the way home from South Lake Tahoe yesterday, the Girl and I stopped for a walk along the West Carson River.
On the way home from South Lake Tahoe yesterday, the Girl and I stopped for a walk along the West Carson River.

My meeting in South Lake Tahoe went well yesterday. On the way home, I elected to drive over Luther Pass (California SH 89) and into Hope Valley. My hope (pun intended) was that I might see the aspens before the winds take their leaves. My hope (again pun intended) was that the light would be good enough to make a few captures of the fall color.

Alas, the sky was too hazy for the light to be good. But the leaves are still there (perhaps until the winds this weekend) and the view was breathtaking. That was good.

We stopped at the little roadside park just west from the SH88/89 intersection. The lot was crowded with passersby (as always), but there was a place to park the rig. So, I retrieved my X-T1 from the back, got the Girl off her perch, and locked the rig. We walked the few dozen yards to West Fork Carson River. We encountered only a couple other walkers.

The river burbled along the channel, pushing against the rocks in its path. The Girl hunted squirrels and lizards (but found none). I enjoyed the cool air, the sound of the breeze in the pines, the sound of the river moving along, and the sounds the Girl makes as she snuffles about.

Some yards away I heard an older couple playing with their retriever in the water. The calls of the man and the splashing of the dog added a pleasant counterpoint to the susurrations of wind and water.

The Girl, of course, noticed none of these things… or at least did not acknowledge them as important to her world. Her world comprises the world of sight and scent, which is a completely alien worldview to my own. Yet, these seem complementary as we enjoy many of the same things and enjoy them together. The worlds of man and dog intersect along our boundary of life and energy and we share much.

What would my life be without this Girl in it? I am not completely sure, but I am sure that it would be poorer without her. As I said long ago (and will likely repeat), I think we rescued each other — we are both rescue animals, each from a different place, a different species, a different tribe, but rescues nonetheless.

We wrapped up our respective reveries as we headed back to the rig to travel down the hill and to our (temporary) home. She curled up in the seatpan (bun warmer on) and I drove us down the valley back into Nevada.

I am thankful for these things. Life is good…

Mexican Dam Sunset

A couple of evenings ago, the Girl and I saw this beautiful sunset at Mexican Dam on the Carson River.
A couple of evenings ago, the Girl and I saw this beautiful sunset at Mexican Dam on the Carson River.

Every now and again western Nevada offers an absolutely stunning sunset. The conditions have to be right, with a few clouds and little haze. There are many sunsets here that are beautiful, but simple, with the sun setting behind the Carson Range, leaving the day in a blaze of beautiful red but with no clouds to share in that color.

Then again, we have those evenings when we are blessed with a few clouds to share in the parting of the day. When those special evenings occur, they can be stunning.

So, when the Girl and I were on evening walkies along the Carson River Trail a few evenings ago, we were in for a double treat. With the end of irrigation season, there is a little more water in the Carson River. Flows are just enough that water is flowing over Mexican Dam again… just a little. But, it’s enough that there is a small pond behind the weir. Ducks, geese, and a blue heron are often seen here.

I laugh when we jump ducks from the Mexican Ditch on the way to the Mexican Dam. They burst from the ditch and cover, beating the water and brush with the wings, quacking their duck-curses upon us. The Girl gives chase for a few steps, then realizes she will not catch the swift flyers. This particular evening was no different.

At the dam, the light was turning special. There was enough water to provide a reflection of the sunset. So we stayed a few minutes to take it in. I made a few captures with my iPhone and my compact camera and drank a little water while the Girl snuffled about.

Then it was off for the rig to beat the dusk. I knew I pushed it a little, not really wanting to hike back to the rig in the dark. I carry a small light (enough) and think I’ll put a headlight in my pack for those evenings when we just don’t get back to the rig before dark.

On the way back to the rig, the Great Horned Owls began their evening calls. I heard three of them, announcing their presence to each other, preparing the the evening hunts. I called back as I hiked, looking for their telltale shapes on the darkening branches of the cottonwoods. None revealed themselves that evening, and I was left with the sounds of their calls, the crunching of the sand under my boots, the burbling of the Carson River over its riffles, and the snuffling of the Girl as we humped it back to the rig.

We flushed no ducks on the way back. We did encounter one other pair of hikers working their way toward Mexican Dam. I think they were too late for the sunset, but perhaps that was not their objective.

Back at the rig in the gathering dusk, the Girl hopped in and waited for me to close the door. I shucked my pack, stowed it, and closed her door. Then it was off to our room for supper and to relax from the hike.

As my favorite gun-vlogger says, “Life is good…”

Carson River Sunset

On walkies with the Girl, we were treated with a gorgeous Carson River sunset.
On walkies with the Girl, we were treated with a gorgeous Carson River sunset.

Yesterday evening the Girl and I got away from the hotel a bit later than I intended. Yet, I wanted to get to the staging area when the light was good. The Carson River cottonwoods are beginning to look really pretty. It’s likely that the color will last only a few days. The weather is supposed to change later this week and the wind might very well take the leaves and leave us (pun intended) with the cottonwood’s winter color.

We’ve been blessed with beautiful fall weather the last few days. Walking late in the afternoon is warm but not hot. The beauty of the afternoon light compensates for the sweaty back I get from carrying a pack along with me. I took my compact camera along with me yesterday afternoon and will download the frames later today. In the meantime, I’ll share this one from the trip back from Mexican Dam.

As we walked along we met a few other hikers, mostly folks quite a bit younger than me. That’s OK so long as their fur-friends are well-mannered. We met one other dominant bitch, but the Girl and the other bitch knocked off their kerfuffle before it was serious and no harm was done. No harm; no foul…

The sun quickly dropped behind Prison Hill, so named for the rock mined for the prison and other government buildings in Carson City. In the shadow of the hills, the owls began their evening calls. I heard at least three of them, but never spotted one. Nonetheless, I smiled and thanked God for sharing that experience with me.

The view at Mexican Dam was stunning. The Carson River waters are rising with the end of irrigation season. Water now flows over the weir whereas a few days ago it did not. The sound provided a counterpoint to the reflected light on the surface of the small impoundment as I paused to make a few images before we headed back to the rig.

On the way back to the rig, we were treated to the illumination of this wave cloud as the sun drifted lower behind the Carson Range. The sight gave me pause to pray a bit, thanking God (again) for this beautiful evening as I listened to the crunch of the coarse sand beneath my boots, the huffing and snuffling of the Girl, and the hooting of owls in the distance.

It was a happy closing to a good day — a day I gave myself off from the project before me. I’ll pick up the thread again today and get the work done because it’s time to get it done. But I have the memory of that gorgeous walk last night and the captures in my camera to reflect on.

There will be more walks and more photographs, I think. This is good.

Color Along the Carson River

Over the last few days, the Girl and I have been making walkies later in the day. Part of the reason is that it's warmer in the afternoon.
Over the last few days, the Girl and I have been making walkies later in the day. Part of the reason is that it’s warmer in the afternoon.

Mornings are much cooler these days. Fall arrived in Carson City, Nevada a week or so ago. Even with the cool weather, some mornings the Girl and I get out early anyway. With a light base layer, I’m plenty warm. (She only gets cold if she’s still. But I’ll get her a jacket soon anyway.) But my preference on cooler days is to walk in the afternoon when the light is pretty.

The cottonwoods along the Carson River are showing their fall colors. That makes a beautiful hike even better. So we’re taking advantage of the warm afternoons and beautiful fall colors to make the ending of the day special.

Soon the leaves will all be gone and the shorter, colder days will arrive. The seasons turn, a reminder of the cycle of life. Life is good…