Sam Bauman: Checking in on hearing health
May is Better Hearing Month. As part of Better Hearing Month, the American Academy of Audiology is encouraging consumers to be more aware of their hearing health.
Hearing loss currently affects more than 36 million Americans and is the third most-common health problem in the United States. Treating hearing loss can have a positive impact on your social and emotional well-being—and increase your quality of life.
Here are some tips to protect your hearing:
Wear hearing protection when around sounds louder than 85 decibels for a long period of time. There are different types of hearing protection, such as foam earplugs, earmuffs and custom devices.
Turn down the volume when listening to the radio, the TV, MP3 player, or anything through earbuds and headphones.
And, other than hearing protection, do not put anything in your ear!
More on hiking
I recently was contacted by a reader about hiking Jobs Peak, asking about climbing from Carson Valley where he lives. He had found an old article of mine about climbing Jobs Peak from the Hope Valley side in 2004.
I never climbed Jobs from the Carson Valley, instead taking Highway 88 to Hope Valley and turning off on a side road leading to the trailhead for Jobs. It was a success as I made it to the top and had a great view of the Valley. But I didn’t have a compass and had crossed several deep gullies so I was unsure of my way back down. I found a dry creek bed going downhill. So I followed the creek bed until it came out at the road.
The point of all this is a cautionary tale about hiking alone without a compass. I don’t recommend Jobs Peak for seniors who are not in top shape. Instead, I’ll suggest a much more moderate walk at Dead Man’s Creek off Eastlake Boulevard.
While the sign at the trailhead says the hike to the end of the trail and a gazebo is two miles round trip, I figure in hiking time it’s out three miles both ways.
Dead Man’s Creek parking is on Eastlake Boulevard, about seven miles north of Carson City. Take the exit off Highway 395 and follow the road for the entrance of Washoe Lake State Park. About 100 feet before the park entrance on the right is a parking area.
There’s a sign at the trailhead describing the hike as “moderate” and that’s about right. No steep climbs, just a nice trail along the dry creek bed with 280 feet of vertical.
It’s not always dry. Often the spring that feeds the creek spouts enough water to keep things green. If you think a moderate hike may be a little much, look to your left as you start up the trail. There’s a path there that runs alongside the highway. It’s mostly flat and ends at the Washoe Lake Ranger Station, which when open offers information about the lake and Dead Man’s Creek.
Back on the creek trail you may see some reptiles; I’ve never seen a rattlesnake but the rangers say some are there along with a couple of lizard species. As the trail follows the creek you’ll see a trail branching off to the right. That’s the end of the original trail which the rangers no longer maintain as it intrudes into the wildlife refuge around the spring. Lots of native and nonnative plants line the trail. The Sutro fire of 1998 changed the vegetation. But still growing are rabbitbrush, desert peach, currant, monkeyflower, watercress and Indian ricegrass. Stay alert for stinging nettles along the creek bed. The nettles are tall, long-leafed plants and if you brush against them you will feel the sting.
Halfway to the gazebo and end of the trail, things go to the right. Left track takes you to a wildlife viewing area. Right track at the V takes an uphill slant. There are benches along the way for rest and water and a nice view. There’s usually a nice breeze coming over the lake at the gazebo (destroyed in 1998 but rebuilt by the park rangers and Boy Scouts). It’s a great place for a snack or lunch.
Going back you can take the same trail, but if you’re adventurous you can go left at the gazebo and pick up the old trail. It’s not maintained and can be steep but you get some nice views.
Dead Man’s Creek is a moderate exertion hike with great views of the lake and Slide Mountain. We’ll take a step back to an easier hike at Carson’s River Park and the Mexican Ditch next time.
And don’t forget your hiking stick!