Nevada Correspondence – November 2016

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In this edition:

Baker, Ely, Las Vegas, Lincoln County, Mesquite, South Lake Tahoe

 

Baker

A beautiful view from Baker in November
                                                                               A beautiful view from Baker in November

November is a rather quiet month for the Baker area. Many of the local businesses close or reduce hours, but the Border Inn on Highway 6 & 50 at the state line remains open 24 hours a day. The Whispering Elms RV Park, Motel and Bar is also staying open through November. Just because it’s darker earlier and colder doesn’t mean you should stay home. The Harvest Festival at Baker Hall on Friday, November 18 consists of a potluck dinner and an auction to raise money for the local schools. Spirited bidding and unusual items make this a fun event.

Turkey ShootThe annual Turkey Shoot has been resurrected and will be held Saturday, November 19, with signups starting at 8:30 am. A variety of events are held, including pistol, rifle and archery at different distances. Categories for men, women and children are held. Each event costs $5 to enter, with a minimum of five people for an event to be run. The proceeds benefit the local Snake Valley Volunteer Fire Department. The winner of each event takes home a turkey! And bragging rights.

Lehman Caves tours at Great Basin National Park are reduced to just one tour a day during weekdays, at 11 am. On weekends, additional tours may be added. The cave is closed on Thanksgiving Day, but open the rest of the weekend and is usually a busier period. The Wheeler Peak Scenic Drive is usually open just to Upper Lehman Creek Campground. Hikes are still available up the Upper Lehman Creek trail, a variety of Baker Creek trails and Snake Creek trails. The lower Great Basin Visitor Center is closed for the winter, but the Lehman Caves Visitor Center remains open all winter long. The Lower Lehman Creek Campground is open year-round, but in the winter you might be camping on snow!

The Craft Fair at the Border Inn
                                                    The Craft Fair at the Border Inn

Check out the local artists on Saturday, November 26 at the Border Inn from 1-5 p.m. Vendors typically include carved wooden objects, baked goods, decorated signs, crocheted items, photography, and a variety of crafts. It’s also a great social activity, as people are glad to get out of the house and visit!

November is a quieter time to visit the Baker area, but it’s still beautiful and even more uncrowded than usual. The dark night skies are a little longer, allowing for great astronomy viewing early in the evening,  with time still to get a good night’s sleep!

— Gretchen Baker

 

Ely

Ely Celebrates the Christmas Holiday

tree-lighting-Elaine-NOV '16The small hometown of Ely begins the holiday season Thanksgiving weekend and then offers a variety of events through the end of the year.

The Polar Express train begins November 19 and then runs November 25 and 26. December train rides are December 2-3, 9-11, 16-19, 21-23, and 26-28. Information can be found at nnry.com — or call 775-289-2085.

The White Pine Chamber of Commerce will kick off the holiday season with the annual lighting of the Community Christmas tree on Friday, November 25 in the Ely Sculpture Park in the 600 block of Aultman Street.

The event will begin at 4:00 pm with entertainment and Treasure maps being handed out. Match the number on your Treasure map to the door prize at each participating business and you may win.

The tree lights will be turned on at 5:00 p.m. New decorations have been added this year to the tree.  Call for more information at the White Pine Chamber, 775-289-8877.

The Ely Art Bank will celebrate its 3rd Anniversary on November 25 beginning at 4 pm.

New art work will be on display. The artists will also be on hand to showcase their work. This is a great time to begin shopping for those special items.

The Ely Annual Fashion Show will be on Saturday, November 26, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Bristlecone Convention Center, 150 6th Street. This is a chance to get that new outfit for the holiday season. All the stores in town who carry clothing will show outfits.

The Polar Express of Ely brings the story to life
                       The Polar Express of Ely brings the story to life

Call for more information at 775-289-3720 or 775-289-8877. Proceeds benefit the Citizens Against Child Hunger program to provide back pack lunches.

The Sights, Sounds and Smells of Christmas will take place November 25 through December 3 at the Bristlecone Convention Center. Decorated trees, wreaths, and holiday decorations will be on display and then auctioned off on Friday, December 2 at the Festival of Trees auction. Proceeds go to holiday decorations for the community. Call for more information at 775-289-3720.

The Crafters Festival is held on Saturday, December 3 at the Bristlecone Convention Center, from 8 to 4 p.m. Handmade items will be available.  This is a great time to shop while enjoying the decorations. Call for more information at 775-289-3720.

The Christmas Parade takes place on Saturday, December 3 at 6 p.m. in downtown Ely. The parade is sponsored by the Great Basin Service Club, and the floats are decorated with lights.

The year ends with the Annual Volunteer Fire Department’s New Year’s Eve Party featuring music to ring in the new year. Proceeds benefit the Fire Department.

Plan to visit Ely and enjoy celebrating the holidays in a small, hometown atmosphere, with Christmas lights in every block!

— Elaine Clark

 

Las Vegas

Visit Suburban Las Vegas in November

Turkey Trot-6 Tunnels TrailWhat should you do on Thanksgiving before getting tremendously overstuffed on that bird with all the fixings? Do the Las Vegas Turkey Trot – Six Tunnels to Hoover Dam marathon 1, 5 or 12k race. The races have staggered start times, beginning at 8 a.m. In my case, I will probably walk the 1 mile stroll which begins at 8:10 a.m. just for the exercise; but, you can run, run, run through the beautiful scenery of Lake Mead National Recreation Area. They are using the old railroad track as the path through the six train tunnels, which you will go through twice. This is an event for which you must register in advance, since there is no race day registration. Also, Hoover Dam Lodge has special runner rates if you need a place to stay close to the action. You must mention Turkey Trot to get the special rate. Now, this sounds like a fun and interesting event to attend and one that is definitely better to do before feasting!

gilcrease-pumpkinIt’s pumpkin picking time at Gilcrease Orchard on North Tenaya Way north of Farm Road. Gilcrease has been a Las Vegas staple for over 85 years, growing to a 1500 acre farm and gradually reducing the property to preserve 60 acres. Customers can hand pick their vegetables and fruit in the fields. Pumpkin picking is limited to three days each week on Tuesday, Thursday or Saturday from 7 a.m. until 2 p.m. every week. You can pick your pumpkins and squash, devour their cider donuts, caramel apples and kettle corn and wander for various other vegetables if you choose. They do have a parking lot; however, with the crowds that they get later in the a.m. you will see lots of cars parked on the sides of Tenaya Way. If you are truly going for the get-in-get-out pumpkin pick, rather than the atmosphere of the orchard, your best bet is to get there early, before 8 a.m.

Four of scores of "Tater-Tot creations": clockwise from top left, Bacon Cheese Tots, Sweet Potato Tots, Italian Tots, & Zucchini Tots.
Four of scores of “Tater-Tot creations”  — clockwise from top left, Bacon Cheese Tots, Sweet Potato Tots, Italian Tots, & Zucchini Tots.

Now, I’m not sure if tater tots go with beer, but you can find out by attending the Tater Tots & Beer Festival at the Henderson Pavilion on Saturday, November 12th. This is a new event and time will tell if it is worth the hype. There are limited tickets available for either of the two sessions that are being held from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. and 3 until 6 p.m. This is an outdoor event at the Henderson Pavilion at 200 S. Green Valley Pkwy. However, it is an over 21 event, so, no babies or strollers, and only service dogs allowed. They will have live music along with tater tot food creations to eat and craft beers for imbibing. They typically make over 20,000 tot samples per event!

This event is almost sold out so check this out fast if you are interested. All tickets are sold ONLINE ONLY. No tickets available at the gates! General admission and VIP tickets are $40 and $75 (which comes to $90.43 with tax & fees), respectively. You receive the beer passport and unlimited tater tot food items for both, but, the VIP gives you the VIP Bar & VIP Tot Line. This is one event for which I would try to go early, since they have advertised more than once that they could have limited samples for the later session.

Indian roperThe 41st annual Indian National Finals Rodeo will be held at the Southpoint Hotel Equestrian Center Arena from Tuesday, November 8, through Saturday, November 12. Cowboys and cowgirls will be completing in the finals in several categories including calf roping, bull riding, ladies barrel racing, team roping and bareback riding. Tickets Tuesday through Thursday for the 1 p.m. events are $15 for those ages 7 and up and $20 for the 7 p.m. events. For Friday and Saturday at 1 p.m. the price is $20 and the 7 p.m. events both nights are $25.

Since Thanksgiving is the official start of the holiday season and you want something different to do during that long holiday weekend, add a little sparkle to your eyes by heading over to the Glittering Lights at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway. Every year their display gets bigger and better, with November 11th through January 7th being the event dates this holiday season. They normally have two and a half miles of displays and lights for Christmas that light up at dusk. And dusk will be earlier, at 5:30 p.m., with the time change on November 6 so you do not have to wait until 10 p.m. to see the lights! Monday through Thursday tickets are $20 each per vehicle, per entry. “Anyday” tickets are $30 per vehicle, per entry. A season pass is $70 for 2 vehicles for the entire season (based on license plate numbers), and you can go through as many times as you like in one day; however, you cannot have the two vehicles follow each other through at one time, because only one vehicle will have the pass. You will be driving through slowly with your windows down and cannot get out of your vehicle. They do have a concession area where you drive through to place your order and then pick up your order down the road.

There is also a Santa Tram running from Exotics Racing for $35 per person (not vehicle), since they will be doing the driving. This includes the ride, hot cocoa, kettle corn, photos with Santa, and games. The tickets for this portion of the event must be purchased in advance and online because they might not be running it every day.

— Pauline Cimoch

 

Seasons Market, Exotics Racing and Celine Dion

seasons-marketDiamond Jack eats out a lot. But I also enjoy staying home preparing meals for me and Mrs. Diamond Jack. So when a new grocery store opens, especially one in MonteLago Village at Lake Las Vegas, that master planned resort community on the way to Lake Mead, I’m there walking the aisles discovering many new products. Tourists needing to stock their RVs will find fresh produce, meat and fish, artisan bread and pastries from Flemming’s Bakery in Henderson, gourmet cheese, Peet’s Coffee, fine wines, Red Button Ice Cream, JinJu Gourmet Chocolates, JoJo’s Jerky, newspapers, and gift items. It’s perfect for the Nevada Traveler. Seasons Market is open daily from 7 a.m. – 9 p.m. 702-898-0145.

A Lamborghini Gallardo (photo credit: William Hoiles)
                                                               A Lamborghini Gallardo (photo credit: William Hoiles)

As much as I enjoy making a delicious mushroom risotto, my true adrenaline rush comes when I climb inside a Ferrari 458 Italia, Lamborghini Gallardo Superleggera LP570, Porsche Turbo S, or Aston Martin Vantages S and take a few laps at Exotics Racing. Located at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway, approximately 20 minutes north of the Strip, this driving experience is a rare opportunity to drive some of the coolest supercars in the world. 702-802-5662.

Céline Dion shared a milestone for some 4,300 guests last month when she performed for the 1,000th time at The Colosseum at Caesars Palace. The performance closed with a breathtaking finale of bronze and silver confetti and balloons raining down in celebration. It took forever to get the confetti out of my hair and tuxedo Celinejacket.

Céline’s first residency at Caesars Palace was a groundbreaking production that played 717 performances from March 25, 2003 through Dec. 15, 2007. After a three year break, she made a triumphant return on March 15, 2011 with a glamorous new show.

“When I first began performing in this newly built theatre,” recalled Celine, “little did I know I would reach such an incredible number of shows. Thank you to the four million fans who made this possible by choosing music as their international language.”

Celine continues her always sold-out show on specific nights through June 3, 2017. Tickets at 866-320-9763 or thecolosseum.com.

— Diamond Jack Bulavsky

 

Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto Debuts Restaurant at MGM Grand

Among the tantalizing appetizers at Iron Chef Morimoto is Toro Tartare -- Wasabi, Nori Paste, Sour Cream, Sturgeon, and Caviar
Among the tantalizing appetizers at Iron Chef Morimoto is Toro Tartare — Wasabi, Nori Paste, Sour Cream, Sturgeon, and Caviar

Masaharu Morimoto, famed Japanese chef and star of Food Network’s “Iron Chef America,” made his official Las Vegas debut opening Morimoto Las Vegas at the MGM Grand. The Iron Chef star hosted Kagami Biraki, a traditional Japanese sake ceremony where the lid of a new sake barrel is broken open. The rice wine is then served to guests to bless the venue with harmony and good fortune. The restaurant opens daily at 5 p.m. and offers three distinct dining experiences: sushi bar, main dining room and Teppan tables. It is also introducing the first and only iron griddle menu Morimoto offers in his renowned restaurant portfolio.

The ambiance reflects a modern and chic dining environment offset with Japanese artwork. Diverse spaces are punctuated with compelling design elements, such as the cherry blossom wall behind the bar and exquisite photographs by glamorous president and representative director Yasumichi Morita, above the Teppan tables. Additional artistic features include: the Morimoto Rope Statue; the Glass Carving Room and the Sushi Wall.

Suncoast Hosts “Dixie’s Tupperware Party”

Dixie Longate Tupperware PartyDixie Longate, a hilarious Southern belle known for her uninhibited style and side-splitting wit, will stir up some outrageous fun in “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” at the Suncoast Showroom on Nov. 18-19. Showtime is at 8:30 p.m. Tickets start at $30.

Starring writer, actor and real-life Tupperware sales representative, Kris Andersson, Dixie is a Tupperware associate for the Orlando-based Tupperware Brands Corp. After packing her bags and leaving her children in an Alabama trailer park, Dixie’s character now travels the country throwing Tupperware parties filled with funny tales, free giveaways and the most up-to-date products available for purchase.

Andersson debuted “Dixie’s Tupperware Party” at the 2004 New York International Fringe Festival. Following the show’s debut, he teamed up with playwright Elizabeth Meriwether and director Alex Timbers to create an off-Broadway version of the production. The show received a 2007-08 Drama Desk Award nomination for Outstanding Solo Performance. Dixie has performed more than 1,000 times worldwide and is the #1 personal seller of Tupperware in both the U.S. and Canada.

Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace Debuts Caviar Room

Caviar Room at Caesar'sAward-winning French Restaurant Guy Savoy at Caesars Palace, which is the famous chef’s only restaurant in the United States, is introducing a new Caviar Room in the restaurant’s elegant lounge. The Caviar Room will offer an exclusive menu of caviar dishes. To personally launch the new experience, Chef Guy Savoy will be in the restaurant from Nov. 2-6.

— Jackie Brett

 

Lincoln County

Forfeit gives Pahranagat football 100th win

Pahranagat Valley on defense against Tonopah in a recent game
                                                          Pahranagat Valley on defense against Tonopah in a recent game

Allow us to crow a little bit again. Only two schools in the over-a-century long history of high school football in the United States have ever had 100 consecutive wins or more, De LaSalle, (Concord, CA) 151, 1992-2003, and Independence (Charlotte, North Carolina) 109, 2000-2007. Both are large schools playing 11-man football.

Now, Pahranagat Valley in Alamo, Nevada has become the third,  and the first team playing 8-man football to do it. In 8-man ball, most players go both ways, making the record all the more incredible, and they have had 22 shutouts during that time as well. People in all of Lincoln County can feel just a little bit prouder than they have already felt during the long winning streak, which is the longest active streak in the nation. The state of Nevada can be proud too, if they want to be — maybe even you.

However, the Panthers didn’t get to win this most special game on the field. It  was a bit anti-climactic, as they claimed a forfeit victory over Indian Springs, who entered the week 0-4 and coming off a lopsided loss September 30 to the same team Pahranagat Valley beat 56-0 on October 7.

Probably a good call by both sides, but it was not the way the Southern Nevada powerhouse pictured consecutive win No. 100.  Officially, it goes down in the books as a 2-0 score.

The teams did play a game, but it was more of a non-counting scrimmage. Pahranagat did not play their varsity starters or seniors, going instead with underclassmen and second stringers.

What has made the Panthers the team they are all the past 10-12 years has been a combination of talent, coaching and performance. Mostly it is coaching, as led for the past 17 years by Dr. Ken Higbee and his staff. Opposing coaches have said, more than once, “Alamo may not have the best players on the field, but they execute everything so very well.” That goes back to coaching and fundamentals. Higbee often says, “When you do the little things right, good things happen.”  And so they have now, 100 times in a row.

Offensive coordinator Brian Higbee gives a play to quarterback Tabor Maxwell
                                                  Offensive coordinator Brian Higbee gives a play to quarterback Tabor Maxwell

Indian Springs and Pahranagat Valley have been in the same league for many years. The Panthers had a 12-year winning streak against the Thunderbirds, always by wide margins, and Indian Springs was win-less on the season. It is the second forfeit for them this year.

Therefore, looking ahead, Pahranagat Valley finished out the regular season in October, and the NIAA state playoffs are in November, with the finals slated for somewhere in Las Vegas on November 19.

Another state title for the Panthers would be a record ninth consecutive, and record 20th championship — one more than the 19 titles by Reno High between 1924-2003. Pahranagat’s titles have all come since 1978.

The 2016 team is shaping up to be one of the more dominant editions. PVHS (7-0, 5-0 1A Southern) is averaging 47.6 points per game, while allowing just 5.6.

Even if the team does not win the state championship this year, they do have the memory, pride and joy of now being on the same shelf with some pretty special national company, and the first 8-man team ever to do it.

Pahranagat Valley Win Streak – By The Numbers

202 — Combined points in 128-74 win over Coleville (Calif.) in 2008. Win No. 11 of the streak. Also a national record for highest score by one team in a single game, regardless of classification.
47 — Wins by 50 points or more during the streak, including 17 of 19 gamesin 2010-11.
45 — Games scoring 60 points or more, including nine during the 2011 season.
22 — Defensive shutouts, including three this season.
19 — All-time state championships won by Pahranagat Valley; tied with Reno High.
8 — Consecutive state championships won during streak; state record.
4 — States beaten during streak — Arizona, California and Idaho, in addition to Nevada.
3 — Games decided by less than 10 points.

— Dave Maxwell

 

Mesquite

Mesquite “Strikes Gold”

Hiking Gold Butte
                                                                                                   Hiking Gold Butte

At last the temperatures have dropped below triple digits and it’s time to turn to some of the favorite pastimes of the season. Two very diverse forms of recreation come to mind as unique ways to ”strike gold” at Mesquite: hike the wide open places of Gold Butte and score a ”strike” at the lanes.

For outdoor enthusiasts who appreciate wide open spaces, there is no place better than Gold Butte, the magnificent expanse of public land that Mesquite calls its “backyard.” This is a place where a gravel road is the most advanced amenity, and visitors must be skilled and sensitive to preserving the environment. Gold Butte is comprised of about 350,000 unfenced acres — over 500 square miles — corralled naturally by the Virgin Mountains to the north/northwest, the Virgin River to the west, the Grand Canyon–Parashant National Monument of Arizona on the east, and the Colorado River/Lake Mead to the south. Those who know the wonders of Gold Butte generally use words like “stunning” to describe its natural beauty and Early Man sites. Little known and little visited, this area is wide open and available to all, but it should only be visited with great respect for the realities of the Nevada desert.

Iconic Falling Man petroglyph
                                                       Iconic Falling Man petroglyph

A vehicle with high clearance, tough tires, a full tank of gas, and LOTS of water is essential. Roundtrip travel from the nearest gas station in Mesquite to the iconic Falling Man petroglyph site is about 90 miles.  Much of that travel will be on very rutted, very rocky dirt roads.  Don’t even think of forging new off-road, cross-country trails. Such infractions ruin the landscape of this federally protected area, and might well leave you stranded without help.  Words to the wise: cellphone service in Gold Butte is spotty at best, and it is possible to go an entire day without seeing other humans out there.

Still willing to try it? The prepared adventurer will be rewarded by the stunning sights, starry nights and unparalleled natural desert vistas. This is definitely a place you must see to believe. To prepare, check out websites friendsofgoldbute.org, birdandhike.com, and others. There is help for those tenderfoot travelers who aren’t fully equipped but don’t want to be left out: Friends of Gold on the Friends of Gold Butte website.  Each season offers its own diverse wonders, from wildflowers to 100-mile vistas.  Nature is the real “gold strike” here.

Waves of Rock, Gold Butte
                                                                                        Waves of Rock, Gold Butte

Meanwhile back in town, visitors and locals alike can “strike it big” at Mesquite’s fantastic bowling center. The all-American favorite, bowling, has made a comeback. It has again become a widely-played sport for all age groups, but great bowling alleys can be hard to find. Mesquite’s Virgin River Bowling Center (VRBC) has long been a hangout for locals who beat the summer heat by bowling a set, but tourists should also know this state-of-the-art 24-lane bowling center offers something for everybody. Located at the Virgin River Hotel Casino, 100 West Pioneer Blvd, at I-15 exit 122, the Bowling Center is open Sun-Thur from 8am to 11pm, with Fri-Sat late night hours extended to 1am. This recreation is easy on the pocketbook.  VRBC offers $1 per game rates on Sun-Mon, and very affordable rates other days. The facility has rental shoes and balls, a pro shop, snack bar, and all the newest electronic scoring. Pro Gary Higashi is available for lessons and custom equipment fitting Mon-Fri, 8a-5p.

Families will have a blast bowling together. Teens can have a great time on their own here, while parents are nearby at the hotel pool or gaming area.  And any adult who thinks they won’t enjoy this sport needs to give it a try and see how fun it is! After 9pm on Fri-Sat, bowlers are treated to COSMIC BOWLING with glitter balls and flashing lights, while special cosmic music “strikes” an exciting chord!

Whether you choose Mesquite as your vacation destination or are simply making a stopover on a long drive, a visit to the Virgin River Bowling Center will be a winner. Bring a group of friends to enjoy this “cool and camp-y” pastime. VRBC offers party packages for groups of 9 or more, of all ages. Package includes 2 hours of bowling, shoe rental, pizza and other snacks, and pitchers of soft drinks for only $9 per person. Advance reservations are needed for bowling parties; call 702-345-6789. No reservations needed for individual bowling, but call that same number for information about open bowling hours and other activities at Virgin River Hotel and Casino. More “nuggets” about Mesquite can be found at www.mesquitenv.gov and www.mesquitenvchamber.com.

— Linda Faas

 

South Lake Tahoe

Young skiers enjoying a sunny day at Heavenly Valley
                                  Young skiers enjoying a sunny day at Heavenly Valley

November is a month of great anticipation: who is going to be elected the next president of the United States?  Will marijuana be legalized in Nevada?  But up here at the Lake we have a more important issue: we need it to snow, and snow a lot.

Sure, we’ve had the occasional dustings here and there, but those are just teasers.  A great winter is good for everything. Lots of the white stuff means the ski resorts are operating at full capacity, which means the economy booms all over town. Not to mention that the lake fills up, and that creates a great summer season.

Even though the mountains remain snow-free for now, Heavenly Mountain Resort has announced they are scheduled to open November 18.  Between Mother Nature and snowmaking efforts, people may be schussing down the runs at Heavenly before Thanksgiving. According to the National Weather Service, the weather system La Nina will make an early appearance on the West Coast and hopefully provide a nice kickoff to the winter recreational season.

Forecasters can use all the science they want to predict how much snow we’ll get, but locals like to do their rendition of an Indian rain dance — or get together and have a party and send good vibes to the snow gods.  One such event has been happening for decades, and this year marks the 34th annual Fresh Ketch Pray for Snow Party.  The seafood restaurant at 2435 Venice Drive in the Tahoe Keys Marina, South Lake Tahoe, CA will be holding their shindig November 17, starting at 6 pm.  The two-story space will be shaking with live entertainment, fun games, raffle prizes, and good times with good people trying to persuade the weather into giving up some fresh powder for people to carve through.

View from Castle Rock near the Tahoe Rim Trail
                                                                     View from Castle Rock near the Tahoe Rim Trail

While we wait and pray for the snow to start flying, get out and get your body and all its muscles ready for the upcoming ski season.  The trails in and around the Lake are in prime condition for a hike or bike ride, especially if you’re a mountain bike enthusiast the trails are perfect.  The good rain we received in mid-October made the bike paths nice and tacky, instead of dry and slippery, for the tires to cling to as you whiz down the hill.  Since for the most part skiing is way up at elevations usually above 7,000 feet above sea level, it’s a good idea to acclimate yourself.  The Tahoe Rim Trail can offer a good tune-up for the body, soul and, very importantly, the lungs, because it’s a workout hurling yourself down a ski run. The entire TRT is a trek of over a hundred miles,  but you can cut in at number of different spots around the Lake.  One great place to try is the Kingsbury North trailhead off of Kingsbury Grade (Hwy. 207). Turn north on North Benjamin Drive near the summit and go two miles till the road dead ends at a parking lot.  A good destination for a day hike on the TRT is Castle Rock, four miles round trip; enjoy panoramic views of the Lake and see ancient fir trees while walking to the rock.  Perched atop the Carson Range, Castle Rock is a dominant landmark on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe, along with Mount Tallac and Cave Rock.  The views are breathtaking, and it’s fun to try some novice rock climbing too.

Happy customer at Wally's Huddle Grill & Bar
                     Happy customer at Wally’s Huddle Grill & Tavern

Welcome back winter, and welcome back Wally’s Huddle Grill & Tavern. The former Sam’s Place is back in business at Zephyr Cove (611 Hwy 50, Zephyr Cove, NV). The oldest tavern on the Nevada side of the Lake reopened in October under the new name of Wally’s because of some dispute over rights to the name by former management, according to an anonymous longtime regular.  But whatever the name on the sign outside says, it’s still the same charming place. The old cherry-wood bar was refinished and looks beautiful.  A complete overhaul in the kitchen, with all new pizza ovens, fryers, grills, and ventilation system, will be churning out the good bar food it has long been known for, with a Wally Burger taking the place of the Sam’s Burger.  Always a cozy place in the winter, with a fireplace burning in the dining room and the friendly patrons and interesting conversation happening, especially during election season.

Here come the winter months, and the more snow the merrier. Sure, man-made snow can enable the resorts to open, but only Nature can bring a truly epic winter. Paraphrasing a longtime ski-bum about an abundant snow season, as opposed to creating some runs with the snow making cannons: only having a few runs open is fun at first, but the crowds get dangerous. I like to ski in the trees; they don’t crash into you!

— Brendan Packer

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