Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Silver and Gold

Following the White Truck Across Nevada
Roman Nose Lake
Visiting Family
Silver & Gold
Weasels Hiding in the Rocks
All Quiet on the Lake
Except for the Curious GSP
Treeless after Nearly 50 Years
White Truck's First Idaho Adventure
Sniffing the Gold
Ghostly Mist on the Ridge
"Make new friends
 but keep the old.
One is silver
the other is gold."
"Make New Friends" is a scout song that comes to mind as I scan the silver rocks and gold tree leaves of Roman Nose Lake. Silver and gold, silver and gold.

A few weeks back we had dinner and ice cream with old friends, shared laughs about long ago antics and marveled how much silver we are all getting.

We brought back the Mills farm truck from Sandblow Dairy in Fallon, Nevada. My inlaws have retired and gifted us with the truck at a time we could use the gift. The best gift, though was visiting with family and old friends.

We returned and had our first truck adventure. Todd's brother Gee and his wife Kathy drove up from Nevada in our wake and it was a pleasure to share with them our beautiful mountains and valleys.

We laughed about elevations, though. While the mountains are steep here, the valley floors are relatively low. We live at about 2,200 feet above sea level in Elmira. Our mountains go straight up to 5,000 and 7,000 feet in elevation. Stunning.

Yet, if you consider Nevada, the elevation of Fallon sits on a basin already 4,000 feet high. Those Great Basin ranges have mountains as tall as almost 12,000 feet. Many are surprised to realize how mountainous that state is and why it is called a high mountain desert.

No desert here in the Inland Pacific Northwest, though we continue to be unseasonably dry. Clouds and mist have returned but lack rainfall typical of this season. It's warm for October, too. We are concerned for the snow pack which requires lower temperatures, heavier precipitation and a slow spring.

Without it, we are in danger of another bad fire season.

Up on the Roman Nose, the peak itself remains bald of forest. In 1967 the Sundance Fire burned so hot -- a raging firestorm -- that nothing has grown back to replace the timber lost. Two men died up there, dozing a fireline when the fire roared over the peak like a flaming hurricane. A third man, on lookout at the station on the peak, managed to get into rock crevices deep enough to have survived.

When I visit the quiet alpine lake in the treeless bowl, I can't help but think of those who fight fires. Some win. Some do not. I pray for a heavy snowpack.

We met new friends at Laughing Dog Brewery. We always meet the most interesting people there. This young couple, newly married, have a six month old Springer Spaniel. Dogs are welcome in the tasting room. We make many new canine friends, too. The young man, so full of life yet, a college baseball player, new wife, new dog, just visited Costa Rica...he's a fire fighter.

There's something so youthful and courageous about those who fight the flames. He tells us he spent a good month on the fires in the St. Jo region. That's steep terrain. He says he loves to hike and it was nothing. Yet, it is everything he places on the line. His life.

Up there on the Roman Nose the ghosts of fire fighters are silent. Their memory hangs in the mist. And I bid them farewell, until we return next spring, hopeful of moisture and huckleberries. Hopeful of a reprieve from fires.

Linking up with Abracabadra for Wordless Wednesday. All photos (including the drive-by shot) by Charli Mills.


  1. Such a beautiful post, Charli ending your post on hope and making everything surreal yet live able.

    The pictures along with your text gave the reader an exact idea of what you were talking about...
    The weather this side is also craving for rains and rains, cause the dry weather is screaming out loud with the fear of fires.

    Always a pleasure to have you on board, and may you get to visit many cities and capture their essence and translate it to the readers!


  2. Silver and gold...I love your writer's eye and heart and description Charli! You move me as I read your narrative and gaze upon your photos perfectly aligned to the story you tell so eloquently and passionately. You had me thinking about the 'high desert'. The first time I went to Nevada, and took the drive from LA to Vegas through the Mojave desert, I had never experienced anything like it in my life, the sheer vastness of it all, and of course the extreme, dry heat (it was July). It took me a while to get my head around that 'high desert' geography against the size of your magnificent mountain ranges. 'Their memory hangs in the mist.' A beautiful tribute and post <3