Another chance for one 'last' ski weekend

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Squaw Valley (see below) will close Monday and switch over to summer schedule, which includes running the cable car, the spa and pool and other summer activities, including concerts and full moon hikes.

Meanwhile, a mid-winter storm hit the Sierra Nevada last Monday, dumping up to a foot of snow at Alpine Meadows and about the same at Squaw Valley. So Alpine is going out in fine style, closing Sunday afternoon. Alpine has 10 feet of snow still at mid-mountain level. Anyone for one more time?

Kayak time

The Sporting Rage is sponsoring another outing, this time to Lake Lahontan Sunday, meeting at the store at 9 a.m.. Price is $69.95 and includes use of a kayak, gear and guide with coffee and pastries in the morning and lunch at the lake. Reservations are a must, call (775) 885-7773 not later than 5 p.m. Saturday. Beginners are welcome!

The endless season

It just keeps rolling on and on.

The great outdoors that awaits us all, that is. Every weekend has been the "last for skiing," but it just keeps on going. Last weekend was a perfect example of how the Sierra Nevada takes care of our needs.

Friday three of us from the Nevada Appeal, Karl Horeis, Jeremy Evans and myself were joined by retired Associated Press foreign correspondent Rod Angove for a run at Squaw Valley. The spa and pool are open so we took bathing gear.

The snowsporting was simply as good as midwinter, with Shirley Lake runs in fine fettle. Granite Chief was superb early in the morning -- bumps and groomed -- but softened early in the afternoon in the hot sun.

The pool was nicely heated, the beer was tasty and the hot tub, well, hot. A most satisfactory way to end the ski season.

We stopped on the way back for a wine tasting at the Reno Hilton -- there must have been at least 20 varieties on hand.

Saturday Rod and I hiked the Deadman's Creek trail off East Lake Boulevard about 5 miles in. This is a short hike, about a mile round trip rated as moderately difficult. From the rocky crags overlooking Washoe Lake you could easily hike another mile up to the next escarpment. The view from there is awesome, with Washoe Lake blue, the sand dunes which run along the eastern edge of the lake long white fingers in the green. Right now the wildflowers are in wild profusion, blots of yellow and purple and white everywhere. Even the mule ears are already out, thrusting clumsy leaves around yellow blooms.

Most who drive by on Highway 395 never realize that such sand dunes border the lake, created by westerly winds. The dunes are in Lake Washoe State Park, an oasis of green bordering the lake for about a mile. Plenty of picnic facilities along the lake, unisex bathrooms spread out. It's $3 to enter the park, worth it even if you just want to drive through it.

Saturday people were flying inflated wings like kites, rising off the ground now and then when the wings caught a gust. We took a side road heading back to Carson City and wound up high overlooking souther 395 at the McClellan facility. The place is jam-packed with antenna and mirowave receivers and transmitters. It isn't a road for the average sedan. We saw two stone pits en route, one of solid black rocks, the other brilliant red rocks.

Sunday we fulfilled a long-standing desire to check the road angling down Highway 50 from the top of Spooner Pass. No. 1451. This apparently is the old transcontinental Route 40. We parked our car down 50 at Glenbrook village, then drove back up 50. This is a long, roughly paved road with debris from the high-tension line above and paralleling it scattered about.

To the left is a deep canyon with occasional deep pools of water, although the stream is not visible from the road. Across the canyon is Highway 50 traffic. Until hiking this route one can hardly be aware of the amount of vertical shoring needed to keep 50 from sliding into the canyon. The metal supports at time are 30 or 40 feet high.

About a mile and a half down the road one comes to a wide metal fence with warnings that hikers and bikers are not allowed to proceed, lest they disturb the sacred gated community of Glenbrook or the golfers there.

So it was turn around and retrace back to the car. We noticed several fine crags that would make excellent rock climbing challenges. So maybe next time you can skip Lovers' Leap and head for 1451.

This is a fine, easy hike that most visitors could handle, except for the uphill return.

Yep, one more weekend in paradise.

Sam Bauman is the Nevada Appeal Diversions Editor.


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