By Don Quilici
The wildflowers are now blooming along the Winnemucca Lake Trail near Kit Carson Pass.
If you have never been there, those flowers can be reached by driving south from Carson City for about 40 miles on a combination of U.S. 395, Nevada S.R. 88 and California S.R. 88 to the very top of Kit Carson Pass.
From the U.S. Forest Service paved, fee- parking area ($3 per vehicle) at the pass, you will walking on a hiking trail for a distance of about two miles at an elevation of about 9,000 feet.
Be sure to take it slow and easy and be sure to also carry a hat, sun glasses, sun screen, insect repellent, lunch, drinks, camera, lots of film and a light jacket.
If you're not used to walking at high altitude, it's very easy to run out of air and energy at that elevation. Take it slow with plenty of rest breaks and use the spectacular scenery all around you as a good excuse to catch your breath.
Hike from the U.S.F.S. parking area to the junction of the trail to Frog Lake, a distance of about one mile.
Then as you continue on your hike, just a few hundred yards past that Frog Lake junction, the trail forks again.
The left-hand fork of the trail leads to Ebbett's Pass (22 miles away).
The right-hand fork leads to Winnemucca Lake (about one mile away).
At this location, you'll have the distinctive-looking and well-named Elephant Back on your left, Round Top Mountain (the highest point in the Mokelumne Wilderness Area) directly in front of you and Caples Lake, far below, on your right.
Continue hiking on the Winnemucca Lake Trail to reach the wildflowers. They are located in a large, mountain meadow area, about 400 yards before reaching the lake. You can't miss the flowers. They will be in an area of bright colors: green, white, red, yellow, blue, violet, etc.
You'll see many types including Mule Ear, Indian Paint Brush, Lupine, Buttercup, etc.
Then as a special bonus, when you are done admiring the wildflowers, take the short hike to reach the shores of nearby Winnemucca Lake.
Note: On both Saturdays and Sundays, you can expect to encounter very large numbers of flower lovers, hikers, backpackers, fishermen, etc. on that trail.