The first big outdoor adventure weekend of the summer

The Memorial Day holiday is this weekend and for countless folks in this area, it will be their first big outdoor adventure for the 2008 summer season.

So, where to go?

Well, for starters, be advised that just about anywhere and everywhere you go, you will encounter huge crowds of vacationers.

That's a fact, so be prepared.

With that said, here are some last minute suggestions, ranging from staying home to traveling to Davis Lake, Calif. Pick one and enjoy the first big outdoor weekend of the summer.

Stay at home:

Have a nice quiet barbecue in your backyard with family, close relatives and selected friends.

Set up a table in the shade in your backyard and enjoy each others company with lots of pleasant conversation and laughter. It doesn't get much better that that!

When everyone is ready to eat, I would suggest a menu of barbecued steak, baked potato with all the trimmings, ear corn and tossed salad. Top that off with strawberry shortcake, fresh strawberries and oodles of whipped cream.

Stay in Carson City:

Travel a short distance to Mills Park, find a shady spot, spread a blanket, turn on your favorite tunes (not too loud) and enjoy a lazy day in the outdoors.

For your picnic, how about cold fried chicken, macaroni or potato salad, deviled eggs, sliced cantaloupe and lots of ice cold lemonade. Later, have some apple pie.

Nearby hike or bike ride:

If you don't want to go anywhere too far away, then you could opt to either hike or bike ride on the old King's Canyon Road, just west of Carson City. It was the old stage coach road between Carson City and Spooner Summit on U.S. 50 near Lake Tahoe.

Take a slow, easy hike or a leisurely bike ride (it will be uphill and steep at times!) from the end of the pavement on the Carson City end (just follow King Street until you run out of pavement).

This road offers great views of Carson City, Carson Valley and the Sierra Nevada Mountains, with a chance to see wildlife such as mule deer, coyote or even black bear.

Go to Washoe Valley:

How about Davis Creek Regional Park in Washoe Valley, just north of Bowers Mansion?

You have a choice of picnicking, overnight camping, a group use area, hiking and even fishing.

The campground (if it is not yet full) offers a total of 62 camping sites, including 19 pull-through trailer sites (with no hook ups). All sites are on a first-come, first served basis.

This campground is one of a very few in this area that offers hot showers. Yep, hot showers. How's that for "roughing it."

For information, call Jerry Buzzard, the Davis Creek park ranger, at 849-0684.

Travel south on U.S. 395:

The Topaz Lake area along U.S. 395, about 35 miles south of Carson City, offers lots of choices for having a weekend of fun.

For example, at Topaz Lake, you will find a Douglas County campground and boat launch, motel rooms, restaurant, casino, marina with boat rentals, plus some pretty darn good rainbow trout fishing if you like to fish either from shore or from a boat.

However, be advised that if you do fish from a boat, you will have lots of company from other fishermen, plus lots and lots of speed boats, water skiers, and jet skis. You won't be alone. I guarantee it!

Visit Alpine County:

Just follow U.S. 395, Nev. S.R. 88 and Calif. S.R. 88 for about 25 miles south to Woodfords for the start of your adventure.

If you would like to fish the West Carson River, stop in at the Woodfords General Store and ask owner Dave Kirby, where he recommends to go for some nice rainbows.

If you would like to fish the East Carson River, travel to the Carson River Resort, just past Markleeville, and ask the owner Todd Sodaro, where he recommends to go for some nice rainbows.

And, as a special hint, waters in Alpine County will have been heavily planted with rainbows for the holiday weekend. You should have little trouble in catching fish.

If you like to camp, there are all kinds of campgrounds in that general area. Pick one that (Hopefully!) is not full, and settle down to enjoy the long weekend.

Catch a big fish:

Davis Lake, Calif. is about an 80 mile drive from Carson City, via U.S. 395 north to Hallelujah Junction north of Rno, S.R. 70 to Grizzly Road and then a short drive on Grizzly Road to the lake.

The Davis Lake area offers camping in a number of U.S.F.S. campgrounds, boat ramps and superb fishing, plus it is only about 10 miles from Portola, if you forgot something or would like to eat out for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Calif. Fish and Game has been heavily stocking Davis Lake with thousands of rainbow trout, some of which will go up to 13 pounds!

Wow! How would you like to bring one of those 13-pounders home as a souvenir of your weekend in the Great Outdoors?

Finally:

No matter what you do, who you do it with, or where you go, have a fun-filled Memorial Day weekend. And, remember, if you drive, don't drink. Save the drinking for when you get to your final destination.

• Bet Your Favorite Pigeon

Bet your favorite pigeon that he can't tell you what we are going to be doing this weekend.

If he grins and says, "Don and Elaine are going to be relaxing at their cabin with appetizers, cocktails, barbecued Ribeye steaks with all the fixings, followed by 1 or 2 great DVD movies," he could be their closest cabin neighbors (from Romania), who have been invited for barbecued pork ribs.

• Don Quilici is the Outdoors editor for the Nevada Appeal

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