Exploring – High Rock Canyon and Verdi Peak

Duke and I have made two back road trips with our new four wheel drive truck recently,

Sunday we drove through High Rock Canyon. To get there from Reno we headed north past Pyramid Lake to Gerlach.  Gerlach has only about 300 residents but it is the largest settlement in an area of about 10,000 square miles according to the Moon Handbook of Nevada. The Moon Handbook also described high Rock Canyon and how to get there.

From Gerlach we headed north on highway 34 which turns to gravel after about 20 miles. After several miles of gravel road we turned off on the 4 wheel drive road. The High Rock Canyon is this amazing canyon with 800 foot walls of rock and a narrow very difficult trail going through it. The trail is part of an intact segment of the original emigrant trail to Oregon. We found one of the carvings on the wall from an original emigrant from Wisconsin who went through the canyon in 1855. The trail was very rocky and remote. We saw only two other people. Our new paint job got scratched up a bit and we had to drive through a couple of  creeks hoping they weren't too deep. It was a beautiful day with beautiful scenery. The icing on the cake was the herd of pronghorn antelope we saw racing across the hill above us as we left the canyon.

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If you would like to see all of our pictures from High Rock Canyon they are available on Flickr here.

Sunday Duke and I decided to drive to the fire lookout on Verdi Peak which is directly west of our house, The road is very rough but the drive is only about 20 miles and the 360 degree views are stupendous. We could see Mount Rose, Boca and Stampede Reservoirs, our house and down town Reno. Wow!

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If you woudl like to see the Verdi Peak pictures on Flickr they are available here.

Financial Advice

I use the Google blog reader to read the blogs I follow and I am way behind. Currently it says have 383 posts unread. I pretty much stay current on my favorites like Ronni Bennett's Time Goes By and Flight Level 390. Of course my favorites also include the blogs of my friends like HD's Soapbox Easier Than Scrapbooking, and Chuqui 3.0. Chuq the author of Chuqui 2.0 also does a great job of using Google reader to share items that he finds of interest and I subscribe to his feed of shared items.

That feed of shared items was one of the things that was contributing to my 383 unread posts. As I was scrolling through the more that 50 unread shared items from Chuq I came across a post on Mark Cuban's Weblog – Blog Maverick, titled How to Get Rich.

Cuban wrote this post back on October 4. What he says is absolutely right. Saving is key, "if you use a credit card you don't want to be rich" and his other advice is not something I always followed but I learned it late in life and I know it works.

I think that the reason that this caught my eye is that with all of the current economic problems I have been thinking a lot about credit and debt lately. It is only in the past 40 years or so that everyone has carried a credit card and assumed that they would always have a mortgage. My Dad still remembers the first time, sometime in the late 60's, when he was traveling on business from his job in Australia and a hotel made him pay for his room every day because he didn't have a credit card. He used to say that paying for things on credit was like paying for a dead horse.

Of course I use credit cards and like the ability they give me to track my spending and there have been times in my life when I didn't pay off my balance every month. But I have to tell you that living debt free is incredibly empowering.

I also think that having a goal of being rich may mean you  want to live rich now which of course is at odds with living debt free.

This is a subject I would love to have a conversation about. As I said I have been thinking a lot about what advice I would give about money and what advice I would have liked to receive. I know that I have some pretty strong  ideas but I haven't figured it all out. If you are reading this I would love to know what your thoughts are. What does it takes to get rich or what does it takes to reach your financial goals?

Knitting

On our road trip I finished a couple of knitting projects that I have been working on forever. I started this sweater at least ten years ago and it is finally finished!!
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I bought the kit for these mittens on October 13, 2002 in New Hampshire. I was visiting Allison while she was in college in Boston. The mittens are lined with fleece by knitting fleece with every sixth stitch. I am not very happy with the way they turned out. They look like oven mits!
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The fun thing is that now I get to start on a new project. I told myself I couldn't buy any new projects until I finished these two. 

My next project is a pair of socks. I've got about four inches of the cuff of the first one done. They are fun to knit so far.
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Lola Montez Lake to Upper Lola Montez Lake to Lily Pond to Buzzards Point with the Sierra Canyon Hiking Group

Thursday six of us fro the Sierra Canyon Hiking Group did an 11 mile hike. We exited interstate 80 at the Soda Springs/Norden exit and parked on the road just north at the Lola Montez trail head.
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The trail to Lower Lola Montez Lake is relatively easy and about three miles long. From there we climbed to Upper Lola Montez Lake. There isn't a trail but someone has put rock cairns along the route and climbing up through the boulders to the lake wasn't too hard.
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From Upper Lola Montez Lake we followed a jeep road and did a bit of cross country to get to Lily Pond. Half the group sat and enjoyed Lily Pond while Duke, Walt and I bushwhacked our way to the top of Buzzards Point. It was a tough slog but the view from the top was phenomenal. By the time we got back down to Lily Pond my pants were covered in thorns.
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If you would like to see all of my pictures from the hike you can see them on Flickr here.

Bear Lake Loop Hike with Sierra Canyon Hiking Group

Duke and I haven't hiked with the Sierra canyon Hiking Group since August 14 before our road  trip. Today we did a great short hikewith the group. The Bear Lake Loop is in the Gold Lakes Basin which is north of Truckee. The hike goes past Big Bear Lake, Little Bear Lake, Cub Lake, Long Lake, Round Lake and Silver Lake. The weather was cold enough for gloves but the sun was shining and I was thrilled be outside enjoying the trees, the mountains, the lakes and the trail.

If you would like to see all the pictures from the hike you can see them on Flickr here.

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A Great New Blog – The Tucson Tamale Company

I've added a new blog to my blog roll – the list on the right titled Blogs I Always Read. The new blog is about the creation of a company called the Tucson Tamale Company. The blog is written by Todd Martin, the founder of the company who also happens to be the guy who hired me at Intuit. Todd left Intuit a few months ago. He used to manage restaurants and is one of the best leaders I have ever worked for. I have great expectations for the Tucson Tamale Company. Following his blog should be fun.

Lots Going On

I haven't posted a lot lately but I have had a lot going on. My daughter and my grandson were here last week. It was really fun to have them here. Aidan is just over two and he talks and laughs a lot. Laughing with a baby is an experience of pure joy. He especially liked our new truck. Every time we turned on to our street or went outside he pointed out Papa's truck.

Friday we took Aidan and Shannon home and then went into San Francisco and joined friend to visit the new Academy of Science. It was very crowded but it is was fascinating. My favorite parts were going up on the living roof and experiencing the show at the planetarium.

We had a good rate on a hotel room at the Hyatt bought through Priceline.  I know that parking in San Francisco is expensive but having to pay $57 to park overnight at the  Hyatt was still a shock. Having to pay for internet at the Hyatt wasn't a shock but it still really bugs me.

Our friends all had dinner with us at a wonderful Basque restaurant in San Francisco. Piperade was the perfect place for us to have a long leisurely dinner with wine and lots of good talk.

On Saturday we took a leisurely drive up to Petaluma including stopping to walk across the Golden Gate Bridge.  Duke's daughter had a crew race on the Petaluma river on Sunday morning. She was in one of the two Saint Mary's boats in her race. They came in first and second. Very cool!!

From Petaluma we headed home to Reno. The very tops of the peaks around Donner Pass had a dusting of the first snow of the year.