We’ve created an “Event List” page that will list all the upcoming events that are submitted for Washoe Valley. See the tab at the upper right of the page.
WASHOE VALLEY, Nev. – Discover the wonders of star and planet gazing. Astronomy experts Jay Lawson and Adam Kremers will set up high powered telescopes to view the moons of Jupiter, the Milky Way galaxy and many other fascinating objects in the night sky.
WHAT: Stargaze Program
WHEN: Saturday, May 11 from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m.
WHERE: Participants will meet at the overflow boat area.Washoe Lake State Park is 18 miles south ofReno and 5 miles north ofCarson City. Travel on U.S. 395, take the East Lake Boulevard exit 44 and travel approximately 3 ½ miles on East Lake Blvd. to park entrance.]
WHO: The event is open to the public.
COST: There is no charge for the program, but there is a $ 700 per vehicle entry fee. Nevada residents receive a $ 2.00 discount.
CONTACT: Contact park staff at 775-687-4319 or at washoelake@hdissnet for further information.
MORE: This program may be cancelled if skies are overcast. Spring evenings can be cool so a jacket is recommended.
WHAT: Spring Wildflower Walk
WHEN: Saturday, May 4 from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m.
WHERE: Participants will meet at the main boat ramp. Washoe Lake State Park is 18 miles south of Reno and 5 miles north of Carson City. Travel on U.S. 395, take the East Lake Boulevard exit 44 and travel approximately 3 ½ miles to the park’s entrance.
WHO: The event is open to the public.
COST: There is no charge for the program, but there is a $7.00 per vehicle entry fee. Nevada residents receive a $2.00 discount.
CONTACT: Contact park staff at 775-687-4319 or at firstname.lastname@example.org for further information.
Hi Gardeners -
What an incredible spring we’re having. Enjoy those weeds and seeds!
NEWS: At Amy Casey’s suggestion last Wednesday, the Garden Group decided on having an area-wide Garage Sale weekend. We talked about several dates, but Amy and Bob could not make those and so the date she is organizing for is **May 18 & 19th.** She has offered to compile a MAP of our area and put the garage sales on that. It would be advertised on Craig’s list so with many of us setting up for garage sales, we could expect a goodly number of folks to drive out from Reno or Carson City.
To get on the list for the map, please contact Amy at email@example.com (best method) or if not available, 775-530-3748.
A Garden Group member has items from their garden they are willing to share:
Betty and Ron Hicks have iris available for taking and three Bantam chickens. Rooster and two hens, I believe. Please contact Betty for either. 849-3344
Some of you may already know, but Washoe Lake State Park is applying for a grant to install approximately 8 trail trial obstacles on the equestrian trails and installing interpretive kiosks throughout the park.The grant also includes improvements to Deadman’s Creek trail, specifically expanding the parking area, fixing the gazebo, making the trail a loop trail, and installing a shade structure and picnic table at the top.
If you are a user of the park and agree with the above improvements, I would love to have your support when I present the grant to the committee. The meeting is on Wednesday, May 8 at 11:20 a.m. at 901 S. Stewart St. 5th floor in Carson City. I know that it is right in the middle of the work day and for some of you it might be hard to make it.
I am also looking for pictures of people utilizing our equestrian trails, participating in trail trials, or hiking Deadman’s Creek to add to my powerpoint program.
If you have any questions, please contact me. Feel free to share this email as well.
Thank you so much for your support and for being a visitor to Washoe Lake State Park!
775-687-4319 775-684-8053 firstname.lastname@example.org
Winters Ranch History (editors note: scroll up to find later chapters as they become available)
By: Rick Cooper
Chapter 1: Early Days
On the northwest corner of Washoe Valley, in the shadow of our new super highway is a unique home that looks like it is from another era. It was completed in 1863 and was a grand mansion for it’s time. Mark Twain visited in 1864 and filed a newspaper dispatch describing the home. Both Twain and Winters knew each other well as they were among the handful of prominent men in the Washoe Valley/Virginia City area at the time. But first, some background info.
Theodore Winters immigrated from Illinois in 1849 and joined his father and brothers in various commercial endeavors in California during the Gold Rush. Similar to others caught up in the Gold Rush like Levi and Studebaker, they apparently realized it would be more profitable to sell things to the gold seekers than to actually mine. They engaged in freighting, cattle raising and mine speculating. Their operations led them to be familiar with the early settlements in western Nevada. In 1853 his wife, Sarah and a young daughter perished in a boat accident in the Sacramento Delta while a young son survived having been thrown ashore by Sarah.
In 1857, the Mormon settlers of Washoe Valley were called back to Utah by their church and had to abandon their ranches that they had diligently spent 10 years developing. Winters acquired a square mile tract of prime pastureland in the north end of the valley for a song. One prominent Mormon, Orson Hyde, who was forced to sell his fine sawmill for an old wagon and a yoke of oxen laid a famous curse upon Washoe Valley and it’s people (but that’s another story-ed.).
Soon after, the fabulous silver strike was discovered in Virginia City and the exodus was on from California to the new sensation known as “Washoe”. Winters brother happened to invest in a stretch of dirt that turned out the be the fabulous “Ophir” claim in the heart of the strike and the two rode the crest of the riches produced in the Comstock Lode. Theodore was now involved with mine operations and supervision and was even a state legislator in 1862. Now, a ranch and creek in Washoe Valley are named for him, a street in Reno and a town in California!
According to Twain, Winters engaged a Washoe City architect and builder and built a mansion commensurate with his new found position as a mining magnate and rancher. The first floor was occupied by the kitchen and a huge pantry, bathroom, dining room and bedchambers for the servants. This floor was fully plumbed and fed by the pure snow waters of Winters Creek fresh from the Carson Range to the west. On the next floor are two large drawing rooms with adjoining luxurious bedrooms outfitted with the most luxurious furnishings. On the top floor are six bedrooms and a billiard room to accommodate Theos large family. Mark described the house from his memory of attending a party there were, even though his companion and he got lost in the dark, they eventually made it to the ranch to enjoy several hours of the festivities. He makes note of the distinctive “Gothic” style windows that make the homes appearance so unique. The house rivaled the luxury and conspicuous consumption of the Sandy Bowers Mansion further south. From the photo of the current home it is hard to imagine all the rooms Mark described fitting within but was Mark ever know for exaggeration?
In addition to the acres of pastures and hay fields, he built gardens, a pool and a quarter mile horse race track. He and his brothers were greatly interested in “the sport of kings” horse racing and their horses grace the histories of the sport on both coasts at the time. Later, a 2 huge barns were erected, one that was a landmark until the 1960s. At one point, Theodore recognized that the roofless, stone buildings of the abandoned Ophir Quartz mill were being wasted to time. He built new roofs and established there a dairy to produce world class cheese, importing a herd of exceptional dairy cows. A Swiss cheese maker was brought in and Washoe Valley cheese became famous and much prized throughout the west coast. A last remaining wall of the mill can still be seen to the immediate east of Highway 395 in the valley. Eventually, the Winters ranch would extend to nine square miles in 1888. At the time there were about 16 ranches in the valley supplying produce, hay and wood to the Comstock.
Winters had a large breeding farm along the banks of the Sacramento River in Yolo County where bred champions Emporer of Norfolk and Maid Marion. In 1870, Winters sold his farm in Yolo County, California to make the commitment to Washoe Valley where he believed the altitude, climate and verdant valley would raise the best racehorses the world had known. Among the most famous of his horses were Maid Marion, her colts, El Rio Rey and Yo Tambien; and Mollie McCarthy. Two American Derby winners were Emperer of Norfolk and CH Todd. El Rio Ray is said to have held the records at all the great tracks in America and was considered an “equine wonder” in the 1880s. Mr. Winters had a custom railroad car for transporting his prize horses to events around the country. For more history on the horses, see their Wikipedia entries.
At various times Winters owned the Bower’s Mansion property, the townsite of Ophir and the Smoke Creek Ranch in Northern Washoe County.
Next: Chapter 2: Family Matters
(editors note: scroll up to find later chapters)
We recently discovered a new trail to explore in the valley and would like to share it with your readers. This trail appears to be a “new” fire road that connects the northwest side of the valley with the Mount Rose Highway just downhill of the old Reindeer Lodge. While the road is now gated, it may be open to vehicles in the summer. It offers outstanding views of the valley, Washoe City and Pleasant Valley. Along the route one can also see all the “fuels reduction’ work that has gone on recently to reduce fire danger in our beautiful forests on the west side. It looks like most if not all of this trail is on Forest Service property.
Directions: The trailhead is .7 miles north of the entrance to Davis Creek Park on the west side access road to I-580 just past the NDOT maintenance yard. There is a locked gate on the road but there is also a sign that says “Foot Traffic Welcome”. How they imagined we are supposed to do that is up to your imagination. There is no access around the gate which connects barb-wire fencing on either side. Access to the trail is gained by clamoring over the gate and you can see that the gate has suffered already. We have seen other trailheads that employ a kind of “jog-entry” that accommodates horses, hikers and bicycles but not vehicles. Hopefully they will add this feature but for now access is limited to the limber with a dog small enough to lift over or squeeze through the gate bars.
Trail Description: The trail winds upward through open country for about a mile before entering a treed bench area. Since the forest has been cleared of excessive trees and underbrush (ladder fuels, in defensible space lingo) the appearance is quite “park-like” and pleasant. In the long view, there are stunning views southward across the valley of our verdant pastures and shimmering lake. To the west is the foothills and mountains of the Carson Range in a new, dramatic relief. Off to the north can be seen a bird’s eye view of historic Washoe City and Pleasant Valley in the distance. We stopped at the two mile mark but the road continues on for several more miles before connection with the Mount Rose Highway. This would be a great loop trail for mountain bikers and a point-to-point trail for hikers and equestrians when the gates are open. As with most hikes in our area, plan on packing water for dogs as it is dry.