Carson Valley Correspondence – March 2018


On the morning of February 2nd last month, “Punxsutawney Phil,” the legendary weather predicting groundhog saw his shadow.  This, according to folklore, means we’ll have 6 more weeks of winter.  However, here in Carson Valley, my pet guinea pig “Leo” did not see his shadow the morning of February 2nd. To us that means spring is right around the corner!

So my thoughts naturally drifted towards all of the fun ways to really get out and see Carson Valley, as the season begins to change.

Soar with the Eagles

                       Aerial view of Carson Valley (foreground), the Carson Range, Lake Tahoe, and the Sierra Crest on the horizon

Down on the ground here, it is hard to get a good idea of just how big the entire valley really is.  One of the best ways to see it all at one time is to take a glider ride with Soaring NV in Minden.  Just imagine having a bird’s-eye view of everything around you.  And you might even soar with an eagle or two, all with no sound of an airplane engine to ruin the peace while quietly gliding over paradise.

Run with the Horses

                                                            “Shorty” by JT Humphtrey -Wild horses grazing in the Pine Nuts

Once back on terra firma, you’ll be anxious to explore some of the areas you saw from the sky.  You would have glided near the Pine Nut Mountain Range on the east side of Carson Valley where you might have noticed some bands of wild horses.  If you want to get closer to the wildlife there, I know just the man to take you.  JT Humphrey, legendary wildlife photographer and tour guide.  You can book a tour with him into the Pine Nuts to see not only wild horses, but eagles and owls as well.  Humphrey says that he has always been interested in wildlife and the outdoors. Not just viewing them, but protecting them as well. You can also get JT Humphrey’s Tour Itineraries here.

Ride ‘Em Cowboy … and Cowgirl

Now, after you’ve seen the wild horses, you might be in the mood to spend some time with domesticated ones, and even take some lessons to brush up on your riding skills.  Chappell Ranch offers riding classes for children and adults, for one day or the whole weekend.  Kim Chappell has been in the horse business for over 20 years. Chappell says that character building, confidence building and self-esteem are all aspects of the programs that happen naturally when working with horses.

Be Your Own Tour Guide

There’s so much more to see in Carson Valley that you may just want to take off on your own and be your own “tour guide”.  You can take a self-guided tour with the help of a “Discover Carson Valley” map (download), or you can pick one up at the Carson Valley Visitor’s Authority. Sometimes it’s nice to travel at your own pace. Then you can pull over and visit a monument or an historic site to make a random and unexpected discovery. This map will help you do just that.  And since there is so much to see and do here, you’ll probably want to tuck it away in a file to use again for a future visit to Carson Valley.

What Else Is There to Do in Carson Valley?

So now you may ask, “While I’m visiting Carson Valley in March, what events are going on?”   Well of course the Topaz Lodge Fishing Derby at Topaz Lake continues through April 15th. And Topaz Lodge is always a great place for a relaxing and tasty meal, as well as a place to stay over-night … or two.

“Where should we stay if we have an RV or Camper”?  How about the Silver City RV Resort in Minden? They are conveniently located on Hwy 395 in beautiful Carson Valley, and are one of Northern Nevada’s premiere RV campgrounds.

“What is a good choice for a breakfast and/or lunch spot?”  Well, since you are probably considering taking a glider ride, one of the best places to have breakfast or lunch is at the Minden Airport at the Taildragger Café.  It is a personal favorite of mine.  Great food, big plates, colorful characters, and it won’t break your bank! If you’re in a hurry to get back on the road (or back up in the air) they do takeout, too.

I don’t know about you, but I just can’t wait to get out and get going, discovering and re-discovering our legendary place in Nevada’s history.  You are welcome to join me: just put on your jacket and walking shoes, and I’ll meet you out on the trail!

— Kim Harris