Merry Christmas Eve everyone! I’m enjoying time with my cousin and her husband, and one of their Navy friends in Northern Nevada. My body is trying to adjust to the bitter cold (30 degrees) and elevation change, but this is a fun change of scenery and climate.
Yesterday I had quite a long day. My day started with cold, pouring rain in San Francisco, and I got an early start to my day at 7:30am. Right away I headed down to Fisherman’s Wharf and the popular pier nearby. I walked a few miles under my umbrella, checking out the ships and seals. The seals were fun to watch as they barked and fought for the prime spot, only to jump into the water immediately after winning it. Side note, I’d love to live in San Francisco. Weather is diverse, houses are awesome, and they’re on the ocean. It’s wonderful.
After I made my way over to the beautiful Redwoods in the Muir Woods. Originally I was just planning on doing a 10 minute walk because of the weather, but as soon as I walked into the forest in the rain and fog, I felt like it was the way the Redwoods should be experienced. I grabbed coffee and cornbread from the gift shop and started hiking through the woods. I wandered to one of the off-the-beaten-path trails that goes along the hillside next to the giant and ancient trees. Fun fact: Redwoods are the tallest trees in the world, and are around 2000 years old.
My quick walk turned into a 2.5 mile hike. In the rain. In the cold. Weather used to bother me, but now I’ve found it adds to the experience of hiking and exploring. The trees were beautiful, and it made me emotional to learn that there used to be so many more of them until logging nearly destroyed them all. Humans were very close to wiping another amazing species off the earth. I’ve developed a very personal and deep appreciation for the natural places, vegetation, and wildlife of our world. I’m very happy some people realized the worth of them and are working hard to preserve them.
After the Redwoods I started driving to Fallon, Nevada, a drive that should have only taken 4.5 hours. I left around noon, and had a very lovely drive through California. There was a cool abandoned boat on the side of the road, some deer grazing in a field, and lots of farmland absorbing the rain. As I went closer to the mountains, my maps-app started adding time onto my trip because of traffic and weather in the mountain pass. By the time I got to the mountains it had added an hour and a half to the trip, so I would be arriving around 6 instead of 4:30 or 5.
As my car climbed into the mountains the temperature started dropping quickly. The rain soon turned to huge snowflakes, coming down hard. I eventually reached a point where every vehicle was required to stop to put on their chains or show their snow tires. Thankfully my cousin had warned me I may need chains, so I came prepared. I pulled over and spent 20 minutes putting my chains on MYSELF. I cannot stress how awesome that felt because there are guys there who everyone else was paying $30 to put on their chains, and then there’s me, Miss Wisconsin who has never used chains in her life, putting them on herself. I AM WOMAN, HEAR ME ROAR.
When the chains were on and I started rolling, all my anxiety about driving through the pass in a snowstorm melted away (pun intended). My car turned into a freaking tank, and I had no worries driving. Traffic was moving okay, but there were obviously many people who have never seen snow in their life as they were driving 10mph on the very safe interstate roads. My maps-app updated me that there was a faster route cutting through small mountain roads, and since I was driving a tank I accepted the challenge. I had such a great time driving the roads until there was an accident that backed up traffic for a half hour. Eventually I got out of the mountains and snow, took off my chains, and headed to Fallon. Winter driving in the mountains, successful.
Today we were going to go to Lake Tahoe, but decided against it when they got 2 feet of snow overnight. Instead my cousin and I went for a few mile hike at Grimes Point, a hill with caves and petroglyphs, just outside of their town. It was a lovely and cold hike. Immediately after, we checked out the Top Gun naval base her husband works at, getting a close up look at the old planes and jets. Disclaimer, this base became Top Gun after the movie because the base moved locations. BUT I did get to see a Tomcat, hoorah!