Sunday, May 26, 2013

Truckee River Legacy Trail

We leave Coyote Bluff with friends Don and Margaret for a hike along the Truckee River.  Hard to leave the property with a morning vista like this, but I have a hankering for moving water and so we drive down the mountain to Truckee and look for the start of the Truckee River Legacy Trail.

Immediately, we are rewarded with startling wildflowers in bloom amidst the dry sage and pine needle duff.

The first half of the trail is nicely paved for bikes, roller blades, skateboards, strollers and walkers.  Not much traffic for a holiday weekend.

Near the end of the paved portion of the trail, we pass the site of the old ice works, where the Truckee River was fed into freezing basins along the river bottom, then cut up into chunks several feet thick with big hand powered ice saws, and hoisted across the river in this trolley to the ice warehouse near the train tracks.  There, the ice would last up to three years before being put into service cooling rail cars full of California produce bound for eastern markets.

A more intimate section of the trail along the river.  Here we saw swallows, ducks, red wind blackbirds, and during lunch a group of Western Tanagers chasing bugs in a nearby tree. 

All along the river fisherman were trying their luck in the pools and eddies. See the fisherman on the right side of this image?

This magnificent animal is 100% Western Yellowstone wolf and is named "Foxy". She was rescued from a poacher 3 years ago a year after she was plucked with her entire brood of siblings from the wolf's den in the park. I did not cozy up to her, but her mannerisms were definitely not that of a typical dog being walked along the path. The amber eyes I was told are a sign of 100% wolf blood.

Saturday, May 25, 2013

Hike To Martis Creek Lake

We parked at the end of The Strand just a mile from the house and hiked through the Land Trust's Waddell Ranch Preserve to get to the Martis Creek Wildlife Area.  While we ate some great sandwiches, we were able to watch white pelicans, and Osprey fishing in the lake. Next time I'll need to bring the long lens   Across the lake you can see mountain bikers below the still snowy Sierra crest.  The white bird flying low across the water on the left is a white pelican.

We hiked with Jim, Don and Margaret.  Here everyone was involved to try to photograph the snow flowers that were blooming in dappled light.  Jim held the reflector to fill the shadows, while Margaret and I snapped a few exposers.

Lake Ella Shoreline.  The lake is teeming with birdlife now.  While we stood and watched, two families of canadian geese swam by with chicks in tow.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Coyote Bluff - 2nd week

Well, the boxes are mostly put away, and we are starting to have some spare time to explore around the property. I've started to build a perimeter trail, but mostly I'm looking for birds, and looking for fossils in the rock piles.  The bird feeders have attracted lots of new visitors, and from the scat I can see there are deer and coyotes about.

I ran out after dinner when I saw this purple lenticular cloud forming over the Carson range.  Wow, it seems like forever since I had the camera out, and these grainy images reflect my rustiness.  This is a view looking east from the property just at the edge of hill as it drops off towards Lake Ella.

Mule's Ear is proliferating on the hillside, with Indian Paintbrush as well. The Lupin is just a week behind and it seems we may have big fields of them on the way.

With the garage cleaned up, and almost organized, we could get the vehicles out of the way. The dirt driveway and turn around seem very rustic and homey now, but I wonder what it will be like to keep the way drivable in the snows of winter.