Beer at the Top of Mount Rose – 8th Annual Silver Peak Brewery Mount Rose Hike

On a different subject – If you read to the end of my last post you might win a prize.

Now to today’s post.

On the last few Sierra Canyon Hiking Group hikes we have been hearing all about how doing the beer hike to the top of Mount Rose is something you have to do if you are a hiker living in Reno. Well today was the day. Some of the people from Silver Peak Restaurant and Brewery carry kegs of beer to the top of Mount Rose and then sell glasses of beer to hikers who get to the top. All of the proceeds goto the Nevada Land Conservancy.

Rose Peak is a challenging hike. Round trip is 11.9 miles. Elevation gain is 1,976 feet. The top of the mountain is 10,776 feet. Today to make it even more challenging the weather was clear and cool and extremely windy.

Seven of us from the Sierra Canyon hiking group met at the Sierra Canyon Lodge at 7:30. We car pooled to Mount Rose and started hiking at 8:30. In the early part of the hike I was wearing a light weight shirt, pants and cap, but at the top I had on gloves, stocking cap, pants, shirt, light weight fleece, heavy weight fleece jacket and my rain jacket and I was very glad I had every one of them. The last couple of miles of the trail are above the tree line and are on the ridge of the mountain and the wind was blowing like I have never experienced it. I leaned 45 degrees into the wind. I thought I might be blown over. I couldn’t stand up. I literally crawled up parts of the trail. We agreed that the wind had to be blowing 70 miles per hour. The wind chill made it very cold. Three of our seven hikers decided that the wind was just too much and waited for us back down in the trees. But Walt, Linda, Duke and I made it. At the very top there was shelter and the beer tasted REALLY good especially with Duke’s famous oatmeal chocolate chip cookies.  The views were fantastic. We could see Mount Lassen, Reno, Truckee, Lake Tahoe and and lots more. Making it to the top was a thrill. I am so glad I did it.

Here are a few pictures. The rest can be seen here on Flickr.

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Lincoln: The Presidential Archives.

Blogging leads to serendipity. I had to look up the word serendipity to make sure I had the usage right. According to my Merriam-Webster Dictionary serendipity is the gift of finding valuable or agreeable things not sought for. In my case the agreeable thing not sought for was a free book.

A couple of weeks ago I received an email from Carroll an Assistant Manager of Online Marketing at DK Publishing offering me a review copy of a new book, Lincoln: The Presidential Archives. The book arrived the first of this week and I have been reading it ever since. I am enjoying it. If you have ever read any of the DK Eyewitness Travel Guides you will remember the wonderful pictures, illustrations and maps that make them such sumptuous books. Lincoln: The Presidential Archives does for history what the DK travel guides do for travel. The book contains many wonderful pictures but even better are the eight pockets containing reproduced, removable documents. Being able to hold and read even a reproduction of the Emancipation Proclamation or a letter from Mary Todd Lincoln immeasurably adds to the impact of this book.

The author, Chuck Wills, has written a very readable summary of Lincoln’s life. This is the third book I’ve read about Lincoln this year and it has substantially augmented what I knew and/or remembered about Lincoln and his life. I especially like the background chapters about Lincoln’s pre-presidential years.

I recommend Lincoln: The Presidential Archives. Even for someone who is not as enthralled by Presidential history as I am it is a fascinating book. I think its appeal for me is how real it makes Lincoln and his life.

As I said at the beginning of this post I received my copy of  Lincoln: The Presidential Archives from the DK Publishing. In her email Carroll also offered to give me a second copy of the book  to use for a give away contest on my blog. So, to the first person who comments on this blog entry and emails their address to me I will send you a free copy of Lincoln: The Presidential Archives. How’s that for serendipity!

Caveat: I guess it wouldn’t be fair for any member of my family to win the book. If they want a copy they will have to put it on their Christmas list. 

Thursday Hike with Sierra Canyon Hiking Group

I went on another beautiful hike yesterday. Seven of us from the Del Webb Sierra Canyon Hiking Group did the Marlette Lake Trail. According to the guide book it is a 9 mile round trip hike. It was a relatively easy hike. The trail starts at Spooner Lake which is one mile north of highway 50 on highway 28, the highway that goes around the east side of Lake Tahoe. There were lots of Aspen trees along the trail. They were just beginning to turn yellow. A few more weeks and they should be stunning. It was a beautiful day and a great day to be in the mountains.

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A Great House in Union City – For Sale in a Buyer’s Market

We picked a really bad time to try to sell our house. Sales of existing homes fell 4.3% nationwide in August and
San Francisco Bay Area house and condominium sales fell 25% to the lowest for an August in 15 years. I think our house is a great examples of the slump. We have priced it very competitively at more than 10% less than what similar houses were selling for a year ago but our agent says that nobody is even looking right now. It sure seems like a great time for someone to get a great deal. I am not worried because I know that in the long run it will sell and even at these lower prices we will still make a nice profit but still…..

You can see pictures of the house on our listing. We were down in the bay area Tuesday to see family
and do some yard work at the house.

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I planted some more flowers. It was a picture perfect bay area day to be working in the garden.
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Del Webb, Sierra Canyon, Reno Hiking Group Monday Hike

Today was the best Monday hike we have done so far with the Sierra Canyon Hiking Group. We parked on the Mount Rose Highway and hiked south on the Tahoe Rim Trail up Chickadee Ridge. It was a beautiful day but cold when we started out. There was quite a bit of ice on the trail. I loved it though. The scenery of the forest, mountains, and Lake Tahoe was stunning. The crisp mountain air made the day all the more glorious. We must have seen 20 different bicyclists on the trail but a only a couple of other hikers.

Here is the Flickr link to the pictures of the hike.

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Kilimanjara after White Mountain

I had a nice email exchange a few days ago with Bob Coomber AKA 4WheelBob, the guy who recently climbed White Mountain and was the first person to do it in a wheel chair. I talked about him in my blog here and here.

There is a great YouTube video of his ascent of White Mountain posted by Rick at besthikes.com

In our email exchange I commented that one of the nice things about blogging is the people you ‘meet’ as a result. On of the things Bob said in his email to me is….

"I’m not a real publicity hound by nature, so my challenge the rest of the year is to assert myself to Corporate America, hoping some businesses find some PR value in sponsoring my planned Kilimanjaro summit next summer."

So if you know anyone who would like to sponsor him let him know.

Trip to LA, Fort Churchill and The Ancient Bristlecone Pines

Last weekend Duke and I drove to LA on Friday and back on Monday. We took interesting detours both coming and going to do some site seeing. On the way down we stopped at Fort Churchill State Historic Park. It is located on the Carson River about 50 miles south east of Reno. Fort Churchill was built in 1860 and abandoned in 1869. It was on the pony express route and guarded the route west against Indians. The adobe buildings of the fort are in ruins but it is still very interesting to see what is there and to visit the museum.

On the way home we detoured to The Ancient Bristlecone Pine Forest in the White Mountains east of highway 395 at Bishop. The views from the road and the visitor center which is at about 10,000 feet are stupendous. The bristlecone pines are amazing and fascinating. Many of the trees are more than 4000 years old and still living. They are the oldest living things on earth. Some of the dead trees on the ground can be dated back 10,000 years.

What I found particularly fascinating is that they have been able to use the wood from bristlecone pines  which can be precisely dated using tree rings to calibrate radiocarbon dating. This all happened in the 1960’s and as a result of the recalibration many archaeological dates have been corrected. Many artifacts found in Europe were actually much older than originally thought. As a result scientists have reinterpreted their theories of cultural diffusion. This also means that the dates we learned in school in the 60’s were wrong.

From the bristlecone pine visitor center a dirt road heads north to the trailhead for climbing White Mountain. Duke and I are thinking that climbing White Mountain is something we might like to do next year. Here are my pictures of the bristlecone pines, the interpretive trail and our car on the road to White Mountain.

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Thomas Jefferson by R. B. Bernstein

I just finished reading Thomas Jefferson by R.B. Bernstein. As you may remember I also recently read His Excellency – George Washington by Joseph J. Ellis  and John Adams by David McCullough. Jefferson was American president number three, Adams was number two and of course Washington was number one. The Jefferson book was considerably shorter and also much more of an overview than the other two books. I found it engaging and interesting although I missed a lot of the in depth stories and quotations that the longer books included.

I have started a project to read at least one book about each of our presidents. When I was looking at reviews to help me decide which Jefferson book to read there were a lot of  comments about what a complex person Jefferson was. Before reading this book I really knew very little other than the basics about Jefferson. Bernstein’s book gave me a very balanced non judgmental perspective. I like it that in the epilogue Bernstein discusses the different historical stages that Jefferson’s reputation has gone through. Apparently over the years historians have had problems with how Jefferson’s actions often differed from his words and how he often said different things to different people about an issue. Examples of this include the fact that Jefferson hated slavery but owned slaves, Jefferson believed that the federal government only had the powers explicitly granted in the constitution but yet he purchased the Louisiana purchase, and he believed strongly in equality but yet was strongly against women in government. Jefferson was a consummate politician in the best sense of the word. I have always liked people who are able to see two sides of an issue and who are able to work with a diverse group of people. It seems to me that this is what makes Jefferson very likable to me.

I am finding that reading biographies is a great way to learn about history. Instead of reading about events I am reading about people’s reactions to the events and in fact am often reading more than one perspective. In essence it allows me to triangulate history.

Now I am on to President number four, Madison. If you have any suggestions for future books I should read let me know.