Who’s in charge here?
There are experiences of world class, mind-boggling natural beauty going on right this very second, easily accessible to any of us with a working car and working legs. I, your humble columnist, feel a duty to remind you that this reality, one that can eradicate the blues and blahs in the space of one epic afternoon, does, in fact, exist. If you want it, it’s yours.
This past winter is currently yielding big, big, big goodness along the fabulously scenic highway that is 395. I’m talking specifically about the stretch from the Nevada border to the town of Lone Pine. Big Momma Nature is positively bursting with water as a result of this extraordinary year, and that means she’s hot, wet, crazy, and dripping with the astounding. All the little burgs on the road are buzzing, as well, with burgers, diptops, hollyhocks, and general smiley-face commotion. Everybody’s makin’ hay, the welcome mats are out, the good times are on, and that Gershwin-esque summertime groove is locked and loaded.
Consider and behold Topaz Lake, which is now filled to the brim and then some. The lake has never looked better or bigger. Whereas last summer, it was beginning to take on the feel of a wan mudhole, now, it’s all swole up with enough water to where many of the big cottonwoods on the beaches just off the highway are now in the lake.
Then, there’s the Walker River and its canyon, just south of the town of Walker. The river is rockin’ about as much as it can without being a menace, churning, raging and racing its way down to Topaz and beyond. If Walker Lake doesn’t get any significant water this year, something is horribly wrong with our allotment system, because there are tons and tons of water pounding on down from its high perches in the hills. One can only hope that the rapidly fading Lake will get at least a token amount of the liquid love that is so abundant this summer.
And then, there’s the jewel of jewels. The blazing diamond in the grand diadem of the Sierra Nevada—Yosemite. We’re so freakin’ close to this amazing place. The awesome back door to one of the great parks on Earth, marked by the slaphappy little town of Lee Vining, is only 140 miles from Reno via 395. Which makes it borderline insane for the thousands of us in Northern Nevada to not make the eentsy, teentsy minimal effort required to partake in one of the grand visual parties being thrown by our planet this remarkable summer.
In fact, you can consider the superb scenery of the season as your reward for slogging through that so-called spring we just slogged through. Momma N obviously feels guilty for that mess, and she’s paying us back right now. With interest. One of the world’s great Sunday drives … or Thursday drives … awaits.