Here's a Don Q Outdoor tip: The beautiful wildflowers are now blooming along the Winnemucca Lake Trail.
HOW TO GET THERE
If you have never been there, drive south from Carson City for a40 miles on a combination of U.S. 395, Nev. S.R. 88 and Calif. S.R. 88 to the very top of Kit Carson Pass.
From the U.S. Forest Service fee-parking area ($3 per vehicle) at the pass, you will walk on a hiking trail for a distance of about two miles at an elevation of about 9,000 feet.
If you're not used to walking at high altitude, it's very easy to run out of air and energy at that high elevation. Take it slow with plenty of rest breaks. Use the spectacular scenery all around you as a good excuse to catch your breath.
Be sure to also carry a hat, sunglasses, sunscreen, insect repellent, lunch, drinks, camera, film and a light jacket or poncho in case there is a sudden summer rain shower.
Hike from the U.S.F.S. parking area to the junction of the trail to Frog Lake (this will be 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). Don't go that way!
The right-hand fork leads to Winnemucca Lake (about one mile away). That's where you want to go.
At this location, you'll have distinctive-looking Elephant Back on your left, Round Top Mountain directly in front of you and Caples Lake, far below, on your right.
This is the place for lots of great "Photo Ops" for the camera buff.
Continue hiking on the Winnemucca Lake Trail to reach the wildflowers. They are located in a large 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.
On Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays, you can expect to encounter very large numbers of flower lovers, hikers, backpackers, fishermen, etc. on that trail. Be forewarned, you won't be lonely!
SOME BASIC RULES
To enjoy the wildflowers, follow these basic rules of common sense:
1. Stay on the well-marked trail. Don't take shortcuts.
2. Be considerate of other hikers. Don't walk two abreast.
3. If you're a member of a large group, step aside and let smaller groups pass.
4. Step out of the way of the occasional heavily-loaded backpacker plodding down the trail.
5. Do not block the trail, while admiring the flowers, when other hikers are trying to pass.
6. Don't set up your camera in the middle of the trail.
7. Don't trample other flowers, while trying to get that one perfect camera angle.
8. Keep your pet home. If your dog is with you, keep it on a leash.
9. Don't litter.
10. Last and most importantly, enjoy Mother Nature's most beatful offerings.
As a bonus, when you are done admiring the flowers, take a short hike of about 400 yards to reach the shores of nearby, scenic Winnemucca Lake. It is a great location for enjoying a picnic lunch.
Winnemucca Lake lies at the base of Round Top Mountain, the highest point in all of the Mokelumne Wilderness Area.
The lake contains Eastern brook and Kamloop trout. The Brookies run up to 13-14 inches and the Kamloops run up to 17-18 inches.
If you're a fisherman, fish the back-side of the lake ((behind the islands) for the best results.
However, be advised that shore fishing success is normally very poor at best! Your best chance of success will normally be with an inflatable raft or a float tube.
At this time of the year, this area offers something for everyone: Gorgeous high-mountain scenery, cool weather, colorful wildflowers, trout fishing, rafting, float tubing, swimming (if you're brave enough!), day-hiking, picnicking, backpacking, camping, photography and even mountain climbing.
Geez, how can you go wrong!
So, if you would like a memorable experience, hike on the Winnemucca Lake Trail in the near future, but don't delay too long.
Do it this weekend!
• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you the name of the next lake, just past Winnemucca Lake.
If he grins and says, "Round Top Lake is just over the next ridge," he has huffed and puffed up that steep trail and you better have the money to cover your loss.