An interesting way to make life

Then, lo, the Pass. I got out to walk and observe. The sky was blue. The sound of mountain waters sprung from rivulets of melting snow still covering rocks and evergreens in depths from one to ten feet. The temperature was in the 40’s. But only a jacket was required under the strong sun.

The scenery was nice, but not spellbinding. I’d been in snowy mountains many times before, and you couldn’t see far.

There was no epiphany. No transcendent secret was revealed. And that was ok. I wasn’t expecting one. It was just neat to be here. It might have been neat to be spontaneous and walk beyond the highway into the mountains to get a feel of winter isolation, but no.

Twenty minutes was enough. Time to burn brakes going down the other side.

The trees thin out over a much shorter distance on the east side. The Sierras fall more sharply here, which causes the tree-creating power of orographic lift to fall sharply too. Plus, for the thousandth time, most moisture stays on the west side in the first place.

Before too long I was on US 395. Here it was kinda’ boring. Muddy, grassy hills rolled on for miles and obscured views of better things. Grey, streaky clouds dimmed the sun, making it feel a little like winter here. However, as the road descended in elevation the land became drier, warmer and sunnier. Little towns like Coleville and Topaz along the way depended upon capturing drainage of small endoheric basins by building dams at the most precise point.

These small towns along 395 struck me as an interesting way to make life possible out here in what still feels like the middle of nowhere. No dams. No towns.

Then, I passed into Nevada for a short stretch on 395. Here you’re about ten miles south of Carson City. Then, about 45 minutes later, I was at South Lake Tahoe.