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. 🙂

Symphony at Sunset ~ Washoe Lake State Park, NV

Washoe Lake at sunset

Welcome to Washoe Lake State Park, where the desert days are warm and the deepening shadows give way to stunning hues and a plethora of sounds.  Just prior to the sun bidding farewell, laughter and the pounding of horses’ hooves can be heard as campers enjoy a sunset ride along the lake.  Locusts, crickets, and all matter of creepy-crawly creatures move to the rhythms of the night.  Coyotes circle around, whether to howl at the full moon or to serenade us, who can know?  Their cadence quickens to a piercing cacophony of shrieks and howls (quite eerie).    Most likely they are banding together for the kill, hopefully not one of the shy jackrabbits we see bounding around our camp site.  Such is the symphony at sunset in these parts.

Mesmerizing clouds over the mountains

This is the Nevada desert and it could be Arizona as I admire our 360º view of mountain ranges, enormous billowing clouds and aromatic sagebrush.  Place a grouping of prickly cacti in this picture and I am transported back to our Arizona home.

We lucked upon site #8, a pull-through, facing out over Washoe Lake and the mountains – pretty sweet. The suggestion for this state park came from our RV buddies Nina and Paul of Wheeling It.  Not sure how we would have found our way this past year if not for their fabulous tips (lol).

Desert sky on fire!

Our favorite pastime while here has been to pull up a rocking chair with wineglass in hand (filled with a nice Zin of course) and watch the sky explode into a fireball of oranges and reds as the sun slips below the mountain peaks, only to transform itself a few moments later to cooler shades of pinks and purples.

Terry on Lake Tahoe shore

Lest you think we haven’t peeled ourselves out of our chairs the entire time we have been here, we did run some errands in Reno and take a day trip to Lake Tahoe, which we had never seen (can you believe it?!).  Beyond this, we have been most content to pour a glass of wine; pull up a chair;  point it west; and as the sun dips lower in the sky, marvel at our Creator’s stunning work, the constantly changing colors penetrating the clouds.  Tomorrow we head for the mountains, but for tonight, we await the symphony at sunset.

Inspiration Point ~ Lake Tahoe
Fannette Island on Lake Tahoe

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