A Vanishing Act ~ Washoe Lake State Park, NV

It seemed that we were finally leaving behind the cold, wintry weather of the Eastern Sierras as we continued our journey, but unfortunately not the rain. As we pulled into Washoe Lake State Park, with raindrops falling, at least the weather did not chill us to the bone, and we had two fair-sized cities within reach for restocking supplies, Carson City and Reno.

Something that did warm us even before heading to Washoe was receiving an email from a couple we had recently met, letting us know where they were headed, and saying “but you are probably many days behind us”. My reply, “just one day”, and before we knew it we were reconnecting with Life’s Little Adventures Jim and Gayle at the park. Seems we had both decided that Washoe was a quiet destination for avoiding the crowds over the Memorial Day weekend.

Jim & Terry watching yet another storm roll in before dashing back to the campground
Jim & Terry watching yet another storm roll in before dashing back to the campground

During our last visit Washoe Lake was a mere shadow of itself, but this time it had managed a complete vanishing act, bone-dry due to the drought conditions in the west. Its reliance on snowpack and its normal 12’ depth has rendered it dry several times since the ‘70’s. Someday I would love to see it as an actual body of water, with pelicans bobbing on the surface and herons feeding on the shoreline.

Dry Washoe Lake today
Dry Washoe Lake today
Washoe Lake in its heyday, photo credit wunderground.com

Even without a drop of lake water, we still feel this is a great little find. The Carson and Virginia Mountain Ranges surround the campground, making for dramatic photos of mountaintops crowned with billowy clouds. Taking a walk through the desert right outside your door will reward you with sand dunes to explore, jackrabbits to watch racing across the sage-dotted landscape, and quail scurrying through the brush. Your cozy site will be large, level, and well paved, each with its own cabana, table, and fire ring.

The hillside trail where we finally managed a hike .
The hillside trail where we finally managed a hike
.

After three days of rain, with some short breaks for walks through the park, only to dash back to the warmth of our rigs when the rain fell again, the four of us finally awoke to a sunny day filled with birdsong. We quickly decided that a hike in the surrounding hills was in order to rid ourselves of the cabin fever that had cast its spell over us.

L-R:  Terry, Jim & Gayle clowning around
L-R: Terry, Jim & Gayle clowning around

Nights were reserved for getting to know each other better and for our ongoing lessons in craft brews from two of the “beer sommeliers” we had originally met at Jojoba Hills.

Heading home after a successful day of hiking
Heading home after a successful day of hiking

I felt a bit heavy-hearted as we left Washoe Lake State Park, sad to be saying goodbye to a couple who we knew that we wanted to get to know better. Before we left we were already contemplating our next rendezvous, such is the beauty of this lifestyle. And Jim sent us off with a list of craft beers that awaited us at the wine store in Reno. 🙂

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37 thoughts on “A Vanishing Act ~ Washoe Lake State Park, NV

  • You guys definitely brightened our days at Washoe Lake. And now whenever we’re feeling blue, all we have to do is look at that photo of Terry goofing around with Jim’s hat and we just have to laugh!

  • Love that header shot. Too bad Texas can’t send Washoe Lake some water. It’s always fun running into like minded folks. Enjoy the journey 🙂

    • I would love to see the lake when it is full. Who knows when or if that will happen in the future. Safe travels to you Ingrid. 🙂

    • You know, I should do a better job of photographing our site. So many do campground reviews that I have never bothered. I will try to do better in the future.

  • Gayl and I are folllowing your journey closely and enjoying your postings. It is quite evident that the two of you are having a most enjoyable, happy and adventurous time as you amble on towards Alaska. If you stop to say hello to Bill and Lisa, say hi for us as well…………………………………………..Rog & Gayl

    • We are hoping to see Bill and Lisa when we get to WA. If we get in touch we will certainly say hello for the two of you. Take care!

  • Spectacular cloud captures, LuAnn! It reminded me that when we were touring the Lake Powell, we were told that the water is 20 inches lower than 1990s.

  • Glad you got to meet Jim & Gayle. They are such nice people. And boy does Jim know his beers. Safe travels.

  • Love your header!! So glad you were able to spent some more time with Jim and Gayle. It was so nice of the weather to give you one day to explore:) How sad to see what the lake is suppose to look like. It was beautiful when full. Very cute guy at the end:) Love that close up of its face. Have fun in Lassen!!

    • Thanks Pam. I am sitting in a pullout right now responding to some emails as there is no cell service nor internet service in Lassen where we are. It looks like it might be the same where we are heading next. I will have lots of catching up to do when we get to Ashland.

  • Luann it sounds like a very special time with your friends. Good byes can be hard when one feels so connected.
    Seeing the effect of the drought is quite shocking. We were on Lake Mead on the weekend and it is remarkably low.

    • It seems all the lakes in the western part of the country are low, which is very concerning. Goodbyes are always difficult for me but hubby always reminds me that in the RVing world we tend to meet up again.

  • Isn’t it interesting how the lack of water changes the “flavor” of a lake but doesn’t necessarily detract from its beauty?! We encountered that at San Angelo State Park in TX, though will all the rain recently we’ve heard that it now has some water in it.

    • You are right Lisa. The expansive views in the west, with brilliant blue skies and billowy clouds against the mountain backdrops make all the difference. Hope that Washoe Lake is flowing again one day.

  • It’s a beautiful landscape, although it makes me sad to see the lake without water. Your photos of the cloud formations are gorgeous. How fun that you met up again with Jim and Gayle. Looks like you guys had a wonderful time together. 🙂

  • At least the drought didn’t feel like such because of some rain. When I was in California I often thought of and hope for rain. Someone might gonna be a beer sommelier, or a drunkard. 😀 I kid, I kid.

    • With all the craft beer out there right now and the increased alcohol content of them, someone could be on their way to becoming a drunkard (haha)! 😉

  • It’s a shame about the lack of lake but I’m glad it didn’t dampen your spirits, ha! I love that your lifestyle allows you to catch up with people further down the road, literally. That’;s some beautiful cloud cover you have there as well.

    • This summer is an experiment with the truck camper for our trip to Alaska. We are trying to see if it is feasible to live in it for so many months. We have now been in it for a month and no problems at all. I do miss some of my kitchen “stuff” and more clothes, but I am pleasantly surprised. The places we can get into are making it worthwhile.

  • LuAnn I am amazed that you find time to meet and foster relationships on your RV lifestyle! Glad the absence of the lake did not diminish your enjoyment. Alaska in a camper sounds awesome! 🙂

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