Dry drainages

My journey to the top of the ditch watershed turned out to be more of a hike than a walk; the mini-mountains on the map were larger than they appeared. It was a nice hike though, on an uncharacteristically warm January afternoon, through dramatic scenery.

The drainage was dry, all of the way to the top. Light patches of snow remained along the western side, below the ridgetop. The east side of the drainage was not as thickly vegetated – has a fire burned here? The plants on the hills were brown and crunchy, thirsty for an absent dose of winter moisture. Long shadows began to dip down from the ridge.

A dry Mormon tea bush and a dry drainage.
Dry: A Mormon tea bush and the ditch creek drainage, January 16, 2014.

It was my last week of winter break before returning to school, and I hadn’t sat down yet. I had, however, spent Christmas with Brian’s family in CA, skiied, spent an excellent New Years in Reno, finished reading two books, visited friends and family in New York, purchased a wedding dress, applied for a job, celebrated with a bachelorette in Las Vegas, and painted a bathroom. And started a blog, which I have not actually told anyone about. Had I completely forgotten how to relax? I pondered this question as I hiked; Yes, I concluded, and felt okay with that. There’s a lot of living to do.

The ditch drainage splits as you ascend, into two dry creek beds. Near the top, I saw a few mountain bikers, and at the very top of the drainage, far from anything – a sign that read “congested area”. Only in Nevada. I looked down over the brown, brown valley of Reno and gave it a long look. I admit, I still miss being near the river.

On the way down, I found a cactus – the first cactus I’ve seen in the Reno area. I plucked a piece off and brought it home for identification (and maybe, someday, to plant in the yard for Josie, our desert tortoise).

Likeable thing #4: The upstream end of the ditch is wild and beautiful.