Sam Bauman: Cooling down now, so head for the hiking trails



With temperatures easing down a bit it may be time for seniors to consider hiking again.

Weekly group hikes are fine as they come with trained guides. Those are group hikes that can be fun, but ones with just you and friends may be your choice. I’ll suggest a couple that I have enjoyed.

Easiest is just walking around the Capitol Grounds. Flowers and plenty of benches for sitting. No crowds and you’ll probably learn something about Nevada history along the way.

Equally moderate in hiking is the Riverview Park, which is at the Korean War Memorial at the east end of Fifth Street. The memorial offers picnic tables, grills and restrooms and is a good place to begin.

Riverview Park has lots of flat trails leading to the Carson River. Along the river bed are benches and occasional wildlife enjoying the area. Tree trunks are encircled by rings of mud, showing how high flood waters rise.

Hikers can connect with the Mexican Ditch at the Silver Saddle Ranch for an extra bit of easy going.

A fine hiking area is at Washoe Lake Park off Eastlake Boulevard. Yes, there’s an entrance fee, $7 for out of non-residents, $5 for Nevada residents.

This year the lake has pulled off a vanishing trick and a sign that reads “trail to beach” leads to a clump of brush. But the trails are varied and a map is handed out at the entrance.

My favorite trail leads to the sand dunes, built up over the years by sand blown off nearby Slide Mountain lands by the lake. You’ll find seashells at the Dunes, reminders that once this was all under a prehistory sea.

The Dunes hike is about a flat mile and never crowded.

The Lakeside Trail is normally adjacent to the lake but with no lake the best thing is the unobstructed view of Slide Mountain.

For seniors in good hiking shape, nearby Dead Man’s Creek offers a moderate walk of about a mile with perhaps 200 feet of vertical rise. The trailhead is just 100 feet before the park entrance with a small parking area.

This is a well-maintained trial tended by park rangers.

Metal markers along the trail identify plants and small animal areas, with a warning about the stinging nettles, most of which are gone now.

Not long after scrambling to the beginning of the trail is a seemingly branch trail off to the right. This is an old, abandoned trail not maintained, steeper than the current trail with some high steps along the way. The rangers would prefer you stick to the new trail.

About halfway up the trail divides, one leg going on to a wildlife viewing site, but the right one takes you slowly but steadily up to the end of the trail, a nice gazebo looking out over the Washoe Valley and the dry lake bed. The gazebo is a neat spot to enjoy lunch before back going down.

Of course, you always take adequate water with you. Even small hikes can lead to dehydration. And almost always I carry my hiking stick. It’s an old piece from a dead tree that helps me to walk erect.

If you want to know more about Washoe Lake area, the ranger station is just a half-mile past the Creek parking area.

Computer update

My old laptop was so old that it could not be updated so I checked with my son Nick about a replacement. First I went to Apple store at the Summit plaza and found what I wanted, a MacBook Air.

But the price was $1,200. A bit steep, but Nick — he’s a software engineer —suggested I buy a rebuilt MacBook Air for $675. He got it to me and I took it to the Apple store to transfer everything from the ancient laptop to the new one.

Took almost two hours, one hour to download the old one to a portable hard drive and 10 minutes to upload it all to the new.

Techie Ben also updated all my settings and as usual at the Apple store technical help is free. Still had to connect to my router to get on the Internet, but that was easy once I realized the password on stamped on the router.

So poorer but equipped, I’m back at work. I may make it to the 21st-century technology yet!

Sam Bauman writes about senior affairs, among other things, for the Nevada Appeal.


Use the comment form below to begin a discussion about this content.

Sign in to comment