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…

Fall Comes

The trees are beginning to turn…
The trees are beginning to turn…

There are so many images I want to share. My Resistance is making time to upload a few images at a time, write something that relates to the images, and then scheduling the post. I’m uncertain just why I find this so intimidating.

One afternoon a few days ago, the Girl and I left the hotel room to walk a bit. I needed time away from the computer and the project (paying, yay!) I’m working on. She just wants to be outside and have the opportunity to chase squirrels. So we headed off to the old orphanage at Stewart and Fifth Streets. It’s a couple of blocks from the hotel, although I feel like I’m taking my life in my hands every time I cross Stewart Street at the unregulated crossing near the fire station.

With Stewart crossed, safely, we walked a few more steps and then I released her from the leash. Although Carson City has a leash law, there are places where it is unenforced (so long as the dogs aren’t aggressive). We often meet other four-legged friends at this park and the Girl has an opportunity for a romp. It is good for both of us.

This particular afternoon, though, we were alone. We walked a circuit around the area, me enjoying the early fall weather and the Girl checking every… known… squirrel… hole… I suppose hope springs eternal and she sees (and chases) one of the California ground squirrels often enough to keep her drive up. I really don’t care if she chases them, so long as she returns on command.

I love how she returns, trotting, head and tail up, with that open-mouth doggie grin, satisfied that she chased yet another bushytail to the den. She makes me laugh.

As we walked back west toward yet another opportunity to be hit by an inattentive motorist, I noticed the light shining through this tree. The colors are just beginning to show. I need to get up to Hope Valley to see if the aspens are shining. Perhaps I’ll take an afternoon off next week and drive up that way.

I have a meeting in South Lake Tahoe Wednesday. I think I’ll drive through Meyers and then through Hope Valley. There’s a little park there where the Girl can get out for a run. I could even pack a bite of supper and enjoy the evening air before we return to Carson. I just might do that before the snow flies…


I love the blend of texture and color. When such images present themselves, I pray I'm aware enough to capture them.
I love the blend of texture and color. When such images present themselves, I pray I’m aware enough to capture them.

It turned cooler last night. I woke to a sub-40F morning… the first I can remember in a while. It was brisk and refreshing to be outdoors, even if only in the city. I also woke sore from a couple of pretty hard days. Monday the Girl and I walked a quick four miles before heading to the dentist’s office for what I hope is the last adjustment to my new bridge.

The bite was good, but I kept biting the inside of my cheek and that is not pleasant. So, he adjusted the outside of the bridges (both upper and lower) to open up the bite just a bit and knock down some of the sharpness on the upper bridge. That was so much better.

It’s so good to have a full set of teeth again. Now I just need a few weeks for the support teet to settle into their new role of carrying the bridge.

Tuesday morning we met a friend for a nice hike in the Indian Hills/Jacks Valley Wildlife Management Area. As written so many (too many) times, that’s one of my favorite places to hike. The morning was cloudy and cool with hints of rain all around us. But the Girl was ready to go and so were we. I stuffed my hoodie and a poncho into my pack, donned the pack, grabbed my walking stick, and off we went.

We moved pretty quickly that morning. The first climb up to the ridgeline is a good challenge for this old man. The first 200 yards are pretty steep, then the grade moderates a little, but there’s still a good climbout left. That got me warmed up and put some pressure on my legs.

The Girl was super-happy, sniffing, peeing, and running between the clots of brush. The cooler weather suits her. She tires quickly in the heat and is usually ready to quit by the time we return to the rig. Tuesday, however, she was all go until the very end of the hike.

We got five miles in Tuesday morning. On the way off the ridge near Jacks Valley Road I double-timed down the trail. It’s all DG and soft, so it’s easy on my knees. It’s fun running after the Girl, whooping and laughing on the way down and grabbing a bit of ass when I catch her. We were both laughing and I suspect my friend, who followed at a bit slower pace, was laughing at both of us.

It was a good day.

This morning, the Girl and I walked over by the abandoned Nevada orphanage. It’s a great place for dogs and old men. She has a blast checking all the squirrel holes (they are everywhere over there and uncontrolled). Sometimes she gets to chase one, but they’re cagey about staying low whenever anyone is around.

I noticed the image above while we were walking there. The light was beautiful in the crisp morning air. The interplay of light, color, and texture captured my attention. So, I framed the shot and made the capture. The feel of fall is here, although I suspect we’ll warm up a bit before it truly changes.

It’s a good today, too. I’m deeply thankful for my time here in Carson City. The time spent walking and hiking is so good for me. I am also enjoying going to church again. I hope to have my own space again soon as well.

As a favorite YouTuber says, “Life is good.”

Going Somewhere

I should be able to understand this. I do not.
I should be able to understand this. I do not.

I woke fairly early this morning, dreaming. It was not a troubled dream, but the recollection of it left me troubled. I rolled around on the bed a few minutes, then turned on the light and picked up my book. I decided that reading for a few minutes might settle my mind and permit sleep to return.

The few minutes I spent reading helped. It cleared my mind and after an hour or so I turned off the light and returned to sleep.

I pulled this image from my recent shots a few minutes ago. My first thought was “Going Nowhere”. But, as I reflected on the capture, a David Wilcox song came to mind and the line was “you were going somewhere” from the chorus of the song. I am not yet certain whether the intuition is for me or for someone else. Perhaps the walk this morning will provide some clarity.

I am not in the mindset to be going somewhere at the moment. I desire to be settled for a bit — to have some time to process my things and decide the minimum set that I want to keep and dispose of the remainder. I want some settled time to read, to think, to write, to work, and to make art.

My application for a position with BLM was not referred. I was a little shocked by that as my qualifications as a hydraulic modeler are excellent. Yet, I don’t know the BLM software (not a big deal, really). Regardless, it is what it is. The occurrence unsettled me a bit, but my mind settled back down after a couple of hours and I realized that I have enough work lined up to pay my bills. I realize I am old enough that I might not be hired for a full-time position again. The nature of things is that companies desire the young (energetic, enthusiastic, naive, and cheap) for many positions. Experience, perseverance, and a low bullshit tolerance are not desired (and come with age).

I am of a mind to be settled for a bit. After a year of wandering, I’d like to be somewhere for a bit.

When I woke this morning, a few thoughts came on the nature of legalism and faith. I attended a church here in Carson City last Sunday. I expect to attend again this morning. A few visits are required for me to develop a sense of what a church is like.

But I was particularly stricken by the talk of one of the elders after the meeting. At first, I felt like an outsider witnessing the airing of dirty laundry, but it was an open meeting and non-members were not discharged before he read a statement and then expanded what on what he read.

The gist of it is that one of the elders became concerned that the new pastor’s teaching on the salvation process was incorrect. The pastor’s order of events in salvation was incorrect. After a few meetings, the elder left and the congregation split (to make a long story shorter). Worse, calls began to members who stayed in which they were solicited to leave the church with the intent to destroy it by attrition. The elder standing in front of us was deeply hurt by this, as were the remaining members of the board.

As I reflected on my own experience with a church division my empathy rose for this small group of Christians. The struggle and hurt associated with an event like this are great. Some will struggle with their faith as a result. The onlooking world will sit in judgment (if they even care). It’s a terrible testimony when church division strikes.

I shake my head as I think about it. Yes, there are fundamentals of the faith that I think are immutable. Those are things that deal with the God’s holiness, human depravity, and the work of Jesus in redemption. Perhaps there are a few others.

But to divide a church over the order of salvation? I struggle with that thought and it leads me to think about legalism. Legalism and judgment go together and are a poisonous pair. I think they stem from pride and a need to be superior. Whether or not that is the case for this little church, I don’t know. In a sense, it’s none of my business.

But, I plan to attend again this morning and will eventually have to decide whether I will stay on for awhile or look somewhere else. I’m OK with that.

Yeah, the pastor is fairly young and inexperienced. His teaching seems solid and he bespeaks himself well. He seems scholarly as I would expect. I know nothing of his pastoral gifts and probably won’t for some time. But, I’ll give him some time.

A lot of grace is required between members of a church. Patience, forbearance, an unwillingness to be offended, and love are needed. They are the gifts and fruit of the Spirit. Legalism, pride, arrogance, and judgment are the antithesis of grace. They are deadly to the person who hoards them and their poison is easily spread, especially by leadership.

[Shrug…] So, after that wandering rumination, my intent is to stay here awhile. I like Carson City. I like northern Nevada winters. I like the Carson Range. I love walking with the Girl in the sagelands. And, I think I’ll visit this little church a few more times. I wasn’t an invisible man, although I received only a few greetings. I resonate with their current struggle, having a similar experience in my past. I want to see what the young pastor has to say and what he will do.

I think I’m not going somewhere… I’m staying here.

P.S. Oh yes, I remember what day it is. I still remember that morning with clarity. I will not forget.

The Miner

The tribute to Nevada miners on the Capitol Quad is one of the very cool statues there.
The tribute to Nevada miners on the Capitol Quad is one of the very cool statues there.

While I’m staying in Carson City, I walk the loop around the Nevada Capitol nearly every day. Part of the reason is to give both the Girl and me some exercise. Part of the reason is to collect some items for Pokémon Go.

When we walk through the quadrangle, I’m impressed by the serenity there. Even during the big initial rush of Pokémon Go players, the place has a sense of reverence. There are a number of statues there that I think would be excellent subjects for some evening photography and lightpainting. I might just have to do some of that.

This morning we passed by the Capitol Quad again on our morning walk. The morning was gorgeous, cool, calm, peaceful, and quiet. The construction on Carson Street continues, but the noise seemed abated this morning.

The Girl was engaged and calm.

We paused for a few minutes at the Nevada Miner Memorial, reflecting on the importance of mining to this state. I made a few captures in the morning mixed light. And then we moved on.

It’s a good day.

Dawn on the Mountains

Walking along Carson River is such a blessing early in the morning. I'm blessed to see such sights and appreciate the time with the Girl.
Walking along Carson River is such a blessing early in the morning. I’m blessed to see such sights and appreciate the time with the Girl.

When we’re walking early by the Carson River, I’m sometimes startled by the light on the Prison Hill ridge. On this morning, the puffy white clouds provided a counterpoint to the warm sunlight on the mountains. It was enough to capture my eyes and my heart.

I’m truly thankful for such sights as these. I’ll never tire of seeing the sunrise on the mountains.