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New Gazebo

A new steel gazebo has been constructed at the overlook on the Dead Man’s Creek trail complex at the State Park. This replaces the weathered wood one. This is a great replacement and a tip of the hat to those that made it possible. We saw some wild horses while were up there today too.

Not a Rattlesnake

Took a drive to the Mt. Davidson summit east of Washoe Valley and saw this little guy along the route. He looked suspicious sunning himself in the road but proved to be just a 24″ Nevada Gopher Snake and harmless. Not the right markings on the back, wrong shape head and no rattles so not a rattlesnake. I hear some rattlesnakes don’t have rattles so you can’t always be sure with that one. He didn’t seem too alarmed at me either and he took his time slithering off into the sage. We’ve seen lots of snakes out this spring so be careful. I’ve seen people use a shovel out in front of them to alert snakes when they are roaming the sage rockhounding or looking for artifacts. Seems like a good idea.

Solve a Mystery!

The only natural wildflower we have in the yard is this one. I have been through my 6 Sierra wildflower books and haven’t found it. It is a ground hugging plant that sends out short streamers with fern -like leaves and lavender flowers. It likes bare, sandy areas like the driveway, unfortunately for it. A variety of cinquefoil maybe? Any ideas?

That was quick! Thanks to Walt and Dan for identifying it as “Storksbill” from the geranium family. Here’s a link to a site that describes it: DesertUSA

Snake Season!

We almost stepped on this little guy before he started heading for the nearest bush for cover. We were hiking up in the hills behind New Washoe City and this 8″ baby rattler was sunning himself in the road. Just a reminder that the rattlesnakes are out and to be aware of your surroundings when you and your animals are out in the backcountry and your yard. I found one hanging out by the pool at my inlaws house one morning in Arizona!

Kids Birding at Washoe Lake Need Volunteers

Please volunteer at least one morning if you can – it’s great fun and an opportunity to learn more about goings on in the valley!

Thank you, Susan Juetten,  Washoe Valley Alliance

“Washoe Valley Alliance is cooperating with the Lahontan Audubon Society (LAS) this year to help them with their field trips to Washoe Lake for schoolkids grades 1 through 7. LAS needs volunteers to help take kids to watch birds, look at water critters under a microscope, maybe try to build a bird nest, or learn about the local plants. No experience needed! Come once and you’ll learn everything you need to know (a lot of it is really just crowd control). We supply all the equipment and materials, you supply your time and enthusiasm.

The trips take place at the group picnic area at Washoe Lake State Park, from 10:00am to noon April-June. To participate choose one or more of the dates on the attached schedule and contact Alan Gubanich at renopopop@pyramid.net (or 857-0191) or Susan Juetten from Washoe Valley Alliance at artemesiaacres@gmail.com.”

Headed For Water


State Park Needs Your Help!

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!

Jennifer Dawson
775-687-4319 775-684-8053 jdawson@hdiss.net

Winters Ranch Overlook Hike

By Ron.

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.

Discarded Ashes Cause of Two Recent Fires

The Lyon fire in New Washoe City last week burned 10 acres and two outbuildings. We were lucky that, even though there were strong winds, the fire angled across mostly open ground and was stopped by a quick response by local responders before it reached homes. A “hat-tip” to our local fire crews!  Living With Fire has issued these tips for handling stove and fireplace ashes:

Please be careful when discarding your fireplace ashes. Some tips:
Store ash in a metal can with an air tight seal. After adding ash to the bucket, pour water in the bucket to extinguish any hot coals. Place lid on pail tightly.
Store ash bucket in a safe location away from flammable materials, just in case stray cinders escape.


The scene of last weeks fire near the popular Dead Man’s Trail at the south end of the lake in the state park.