Another Taste of a Nevada Spring – April 23, 2016

25 Apr

We had a good storm last Friday that dumped not only rain here in Carson Valley but up to 12” of new snow in the high country. This was very welcome and, again, no one complained.  We love weather that brings us moisture.

The next day, Jerri and I went to Virginia City (about 30 miles northeast of here), to do some business for the Friends of the Nevada State Museum. It is a gain of about 2000’ in altitude and is sometimes very cold there. We hit a gorgeous, sunny day with some lingering clouds drifting overhead. For those of you not familiar with VC: It is the principle site of the Comstock Mining District in the latter half of the 1800s. Millions of dollars were made here mining silver and gold. It is one reason why Nevada is called the Silver State.  (Don’t forget double click on the photo to enlarge it)

A view of VC from the cemetery. What looks like piles of dirt are tailing...debris from mines

A view of VC from the cemetery. What looks like piles of dirt are tailings (debris from mines) Photo by RD Schmidt, 2013

Upon completing the business, we zipped over to Red’s, our favorite VC ice cream store, and treated ourselves to some very tasty cones.

Wild horses are quite numerous in the VC area and we decided to take the truck route (a bit longer and gentler slope) home in hopes we could see some. Nary a horse did we see, BUT we were treated to spectacular display of high desert flowers. Jerri has been in northern Nevada for almost 29 years and has never seen them so numerous and colorful. We stopped several times to feast our eyes in an up close and personal nature.

The bright yellow of the arrow-leafed balsam-root caught our eyes first. They are so perky as if they are reaching toward the sun with all their might.

The bright yellow of the arrow-leafed balsam-root caught our eyes first. They are so perky as if they are reaching toward the sun with all their might.

Growing in the Virginia Mountains

Growing in the Virginia Mountains

I like the tiny flower of the red-stemmed filaree. But these little posies are really a weed that we used make play scissors out of their spikes. When the spikes dry out, they turn like corkscrews, thus driving the seeds into the ground.

I like the tiny flower of the red-stemmed filaree. But these little posies are really a weed. We used make play scissors out of their spikes. When the spikes dry out, they turn like corkscrews, thus driving the seeds into the ground. Spikes haven’t developed yet on this plant.

The spreading phlox looks as though it’s growing out of some rocks.

The spreading phlox looks as though it’s growing out of some rocks.

Note the silvery aspect of the leaves. This is looking southwest and the snow is on the Sierras

Coleville’s lupine has a sweet smell and makes a pretty spot on the hill.

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Note the silvery aspect on the leaves. This is looking southwest and the bit of snow you can see is on the Sierras.

The only white daisy-type flower I found. A tiny phlox plant is in the low center

The only white daisy-type flower I found. A tiny phlox plant is in the low center

We always called this flower Indian Paintbrush. It must not be PC now to do that and my book put out by the California Academy of Sciences calls it Giant Red Paintbrush or it could be Applegate’s Paintbrush. I’m not sure. At any rate, these plants really stand out in the brush.

We always called this flower Indian Paintbrush. It must not be PC now to do that and my book put out by the California Academy of Sciences calls it Giant Red Paintbrush or it could be Applegate’s Paintbrush. I’m not sure. At any rate, these plants really stand out in the brush.

At first, I thought this lizard was a baby chuckawala but I don’t think they live in our area. For lack of a better term, he’s just a fat, black lizard checking out his world.

At first, I thought this lizard was a baby chuckawala but I don’t think they live in our area. For lack of a better term, he’s just a fat, black lizard checking out his world.

I thought this was a yellow salsify. But another look said no. It might be a hoary buckwheat. Anyway, it's pretty.

I thought this was a yellow salsify. But another look said no. It might be a hoary buckwheat. Anyway, it’s pretty.

There was much evidence of the wild horses all over the area on which I walked. Hoofprints, horse apples, and, sadly, even a skeleton. I only show this because, even in death, the horse provided life to other creatures, and maybe even gave a bit of nutrient to the flowers that were growing through and around it.

There was much evidence of the wild horses all over the area on which I walked. Hoofprints, horse apples, and, sadly, even a skeleton. I only show this because, even in death, the horse provided life to other creatures, and maybe even gave a bit of nutrient to the flowers that were growing through and around it.

 

There are abandoned buildings and mining equipment all over the Virginia Mountains. These are all just off the side of the highway.

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A headframe was used to lift ore out of the mine

A headframe was used to lift ore out of the mine

Old buildings

Old buildings and water tanks

Just a short distance from these abandoned buildings and equipment was this pretty tree/shrub. You can see modern houses and vehicles in the background.

Just a short distance from these abandoned buildings and equipment was this pretty tree/shrub. You can see modern houses and vehicles in the background.

 

Just about a mile and a half west of my home is a good stand of desert peach. It’s in bloom quite a bit in our valley. One doesn’t want to run into it because it has a nice set of long stickers! Boo!!!

The little bit of snow you see in the background is on the Sierras.

The little bit of snow you see in the background is on the Sierras.

I really enjoy being able to get out and see these different plants and come to realize that each has its own area in which to live. There is just so much to see and learn about. Keeps me busy!

 

I should probably put a caveat on this epistle.  Jerri and I went together and found this floral display but I didn’t think to take my camera.  So I went back the next day and redid our trip.  Also, I am fairly sure of the names of the plants but could be wrong.  I used The Laws Field Guide to the Sierra Nevada by John Muir Laws.  How could I go wrong with a name like Muir?

3 Responses to “Another Taste of a Nevada Spring – April 23, 2016”

  1. Connie Raub April 25, 2016 at 8:45 pm #

    Beautiful! A lovely sight for a florist and interesting, as always. Thank you for sharing. You are such a librarian to go back and document your trip! Love, ~Connnie

  2. Samk April 26, 2016 at 2:53 pm #

    Cora…looks you guys had a great trip….I am heading up to VC sometime in the next few weeks.to look around town and visit a couple of rock shops..any recommendations of a restaurant for lunch/dinner….Peace Sam

  3. Nancy Smith May 2, 2016 at 4:05 pm #

    I really enjoy your Buzzard Notes. You have such a delightful way of enjoying your surroundings and experiences. I wish I had known you better when you were in California. Curiosity is a wonderful trait

    Nancy Smith

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