Truckee & Lake Tahoe

We caught an Amtrak train from Emeryville (just outside San Francisco) for a beautiful ride back into the Sierra Nevada to visit a dear friend and inspiration from college days.  She lives in Truckee, next to Lake Tahoe.

The train was 6 hours each way:  slow, swaying, hypnotic and the scenery stunning.  We ate dinner in the dining car over Amtrak wine with two fellows fresh from a week of winery tours.  (They drank water.) 

Our two short days in Truckee were a bustle of catching up.  Truckee seems a sweet, old-fashioned seeming town where our friend teaches poetry and writing at a private college.  Beautiful setting, beautiful days - everything blooming and bright.  We walked with a charming dog through grand open landscapes near town and then visited  the deep huge blue Lake Tahoe.

to Bishop, to Berkeley

Bishop is north of Death Valley,  long drive through a rural and sparsely populated California.  Berkeley is almost due west, but these drives took us through different worlds.  Gradually the desert gave way to open farming country grateful for recent relief from drought.  This rose up into to snowy mountains studded with bright blue lakes.  We detoured around one just-closed pass; then dropped back into farm country east of San Francisco.  

Gradually flowers in the desert gave way to willows and flowers in fields, and finally to the beautiful gardens of Berkeley.  Even our short visit with family and friends allowed me to photograph the hundreds of flowers growing on the hillsides around the neighborhood. Most were new to me so you, dear reader, get to look them up.

Berkeley Garden flower at dusk

Berkeley Garden flower at dusk

 

 

From Death Valley

Death Valley is too diverse to describe here. The link below gets you the Wikipedia page.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Death_Valley#Biota   Highlights: 

 
  • elevation from – 282 ft. to +11043 ft., 
  • size - 3000 sq. mi.
  • any rain produces thousands of flower

We explored the eastern and southern parts of the park for two days – amazing vistas, towering water carved mountains, flowers and occasional lizards. Day three we moved from Amargosa Opera House (an amazing place about which more later)  to Stove-pipe Wells, inside the park where we had access to some of the western and northern sections.

Coyote

Coyote

Burros

Burros

Flower from sand

Flower from sand

Death Valley -  Road West

Death Valley -  Road West

Zion to Death Valley

Big Horned Sheep, Zion

Zabrinskie Point, Death Valley, California.  (Aydelette is a small blue dot.)

 

Amazing sightings of both animals and, yes, rocks.  Not my usual subjects, rocks.

Tom Isgar