Kuma Bear supervised setting up lunch in the John C. Fremont picnic area. We brought Lysol wipes and wiped the table down before setting out the food. The insulated cooler from the days when my employer had a different name and the basket that Jo Van Ekeren gave Lisa and me on our trip to Tonopah when we were at a particularly low point in our bidding for Westercon 74 both came in quite handy.
Here's the layout for lunch: Toasted cheese sandwiches, smoked salmon on baguette crisps, deviled eggs, with pumpkin pie for dessert.
This was the view from our picnic table. We had the park almost entirely to ourselves.
It was an excellent lunch, although slightly chilly whenever the sun went behind a cloud. After we ate, cleaned up our trash, and put things away in the van, we knew we needed to go for a walk because we were both very full. Fortunately, Fort Churchill is a good place to go walking.
First we walked down to the Carson River, or at least where the Carson River is supposed to be.
The river is almost completely dry.
In this photo, I'm standing on the bed of the main channel of the river. Not some side channel or high ground, but the place where the river typically flows. There is no upstream storage for the Carson River, and it has run completely dry.
A few isolated pools are all that is left. This one was alive with tadpoles, but it wasn't a very big pool.
Climbing out of the dry river bed, we walked up toward Fort Churchill's ruins (visible in the distance in this photo). Because the weather has turned colder a little sooner than it did last year, there was much less wildlife. There were no lizards at all, fewer birds, and only a couple of jack rabbits (the long-eared ones, not the short-eared smaller bunnies that live near our house in Fernley).
With the river dry, the irrigation canal that is fed by the river was of course also dry.
A few of the desert bushes were still in bloom, but they won't be for much longer.
We walked up to the trail that loops around the Fort Churchill ruins, but there were some other people on the trail coming the other way, so we reversed course and headed around a different trail, the Buckland Loop, which eventually leads back to the Railroad Trail and then the Nature Trail that runs back to the picnic area. By my pedometer, we must have hiked around 5 km or so, which was good, but we felt it in our legs.
It was certainly time to go when we got back to the van, as I don't like driving the highway from Silver Springs to Fernley at night. We got home just before sunset, tired but happy enough with our half-day vacation. It doesn't mean we don't want to go places and see things, but it will have to wait until we feel safer doing so.