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Outdoors with Don Q: Wildflowers and trout fishing at Frog Lake

Two weeks ago, I wrote an article about the wildflowers blooming along the paved highway in the Davis Lake area of Plumas County, California.

This week's article is about a high-altitude hike that Elaine and I took to little Frog Lake in the Mokelumne Wilderness Area of California, as our way to celebrate Father's Day on June 16.

Our purpose for that Sunday hike was three-fold: To walk on snow fields (which we did), to photograph wildflowers (which we did) and to fish for rainbow trout (which we did).

You, too, might want to take that same hike in the very near future and here's how to do so:

What to take:
In a small daypack, take snacks or a light picnic lunch complete with your favorite soft drinks or water, sunglasses, sun screen, hat, mosquito repellent (lots of it!), camera and even a light sweater (just in case).

If you're a fisherman:
Take some small lures (I was spincasting with small red/white striped lures and we also tried Power Nuggets and nightcrawlers).

How to get to Frog Lake from the Winnemucca Lake Trail:
Drive south from Carson City for 43 miles on a combination of U.S. 395, Nevada S.R. 88 and California S.R. 88 to the top of Kit Carson Pass.

At the Pass, you will have to pay a modest fee to park in the U.S. Forest Service parking area.
From there, you will be hiking on a well-defined trail that leads you to Winnemucca Lake, which is about a two-mile hike from that parking area.

Winnemucca Lake is a large, high-altitude, super-deep, ice-cold, trout-filled lake that lies at the base of Round Top Mountain (elevation 10,364 feet), the highest point in the Mokelumne Wilderness Area.
You’ll be walking at high altitude (8,500-9,000 feet), so if you are not accustomed to that type of elevation, remember to take it slow and easy with lots of rest stops, so you can catch your breath.

Here’s a special “Don Q” hint:
Taking numerous photos of the surrounding, spectacular mountain scenery and the wildflowers along the trail is a great excuse for making multiple stops. I do it often and I’m not ashamed to admit it.
After hiking for about a mile, you will see aptly-named Elephant Back Mountain directly in front of you and little Frog Lake on your left.

Frog Lake:
Turn off the main hiking trail, travel a very short distance to the lake and then find a good place to enjoy some fishing and relaxing.
I would suggest anywhere along the lake side that has most of the trees.
And as an unexpected bonus:
If you hike to the top of the ridge at the far end of Frog Lake, you will be looking down on Red Lake, far below. A great photo op!

Wildflowers:
Last week, the wildflowers were not quite at their peak, but I have an educated guess that they should be looking great by the time you read this.
Last week, the best display of wildflowers was along the west shoreline of Frog Lake. The flowers are all kinds of bright colors: Green, white, red, yellow, blue, violet, etc. You’ll see lots of Mule's Ears, Indian Paint Brush, Lupine, Buttercup, etc.

Finally, an important bit of advice:
If possible, try to go on a weekday, not on a weekend.
On weekends, the Winnemucca Lake Trail is jammed-packed with all kinds of wildflower lovers from far and wide. You won’t be lonely!

And, as a special two-part reminder:
01. Please do not trample on other flowers while trying to get a photo of a unique flower or group of flowers.
02. Please leave your dog home.
Be considerate of the others who have hiked there to admire that high-altitude display by Mother Nature.

Bet Your Favorite Pigeon
Bet your favorite pigeon that he can’t tell you the best time to photograph the wildflowers along the trail.
If he grins and says, “Your best time for those photos is early in the morning or late in the afternoon,” he has been there as a photographer.

— Don Quilici is the Outdoor editor for Carson Now. He can be reached at donquilici@hotmail.com


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Two CASI events coming up. First is the third annual Carson Animal Services Initiative's 5K9 fun run/walk at Riverview Park on East Fifth Street in Carson City on Saturday, Sept. 20. The following week is the Pooch Plunge.

Saturday's K9 Walk/Run fundraising event is a great way for families to show off their pets while giving them some exercise too. Awards will be given to the 1st place male and female K9 finishers. Every participant receives a free gift.

UPDATE 330PM: According to a Tweet this afternoon from Caltrans, Highway 50 is back open but the westbound No. 2 lane will remain closed overnight because of ongoing King Fire issues. A portion of the highway and artery for traffic into and out of South Lake Tahoe and Stateline, had been closed since Tuesday, from Sly Park Road to Fresh Pond, due to burning trees falling on the road.

Meanwhile, the June Fire burning in Mono County is estimated to be 65 acres and 50 percent contained.

Six years after the collapse of financial firm Lehman Brothers, Nevada has recouped a $50 million investment it made with the now-bankrupt investor. For Treasurer Kate Marshall, the road to recovering the money has not been easy.
Marshall was treasurer when Nevada purchased $50 million worth of A-rated bonds from Lehman in 2007.

A 53-year-old Carson City woman was arrested Tuesday on four misdemeanor charges, including DUI, destruction of private property, driving on a suspended license and resisting arrest after she drove her vehicle into a building, a Carson City sheriff’s deputy said.

The incident happened in the 3300 block of Highway 50 East at 10:41 a.m. Officers arrived and found the woman had driven a white Toyota pickup into the north side of a business. The vehicle was running and still in drive gear, with the engine revving at a high rpm, according to the arrest report.

The University of Nevada, Reno’s newest mountaintop camera at Lake Tahoe has just been installed, and has been tracking the smoke from the King Fire in El Dorado County, Calif., which has been inundating the Lake Tahoe Basin, Carson City and Reno areas with smoke in the afternoons.

Carson City Transportation Manager Patrick Pittenger said the downtown Carson Street makeover isn’t reinventing the wheel and will gain acceptance once finished.

With a packed house and lots of questions, Carson City residents had a chance Tuesday to see what enhanced downtown landscaping, street and sidewalk improvements would look like in a planned redesign of downtown.

The Carson Street improvement project is part of an overall plan to revitalize the commercial corridors throughout Carson City. The improvements, made public during two workshops at the Carson City Community Center, will be funded through sales tax revenues, one-eighth of a cent, approved earlier this by the Carson City Board of Supervisors.

Here is this week's fishing report for rivers, lakes and streams in Nevada and Northern California. This report is for the week of Sept. 17-23, 2014.

Food and restaurant inspections are made weekly by the Carson City Health and Human Services Environmental Health Division. The 10 inspections listed here were made through Sept. 15, 2014.

Inspections include several school cafeterias, a bakery, caterer, a church, the Carson City Senior Center, a bar and lounge and a retail food producer.

See the full report below.

Nordyke Ranch House in Lyon County, south of Yerington, was listed in the Nevada State Register of Historic Places on Sept. 12, 2014. As one of the few remaining buildings of the small ranching community of Nordyke, the ranch house stands as a visible reminder of Mason Valley’s agricultural development in the early 20th century.

September marks the 50th Anniversary of the Wilderness Act, legislation that protected more than 9 million acres of federal land. Marge Sill, considered by some to be the "mother of Nevada wilderness" will help the Nevada State Museum celebrate the occasion from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 25.

This Thursday, from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m., The Pizza Factory is helping to raise money for the Eagle Valley Middle School Parent Teacher Organization. The generous owners will be donating 20 percent off the entire day's earnings back to our school to help pay for CRT snacks for the entire student body and hopefully buy us some much needed outdoor picnic tables for our students and staff to enjoy during the beautiful weather.

The IRS has discovered false claims for child tax credits for returns filed by U.S. citizens that live in Israel. It may involve tens of millions of dollars.

The child tax credit can be $1,000 for each child who is not age 17 at the end of the year. The child must be either a U.S. citizen, national or resident of the U.S. The credit begins to phase out when the taxpayers (parents) modified adjusted gross income in 2013 reaches $110,000 for joint returns and $75,000 for single taxpayers.

The National Weather Service in Reno has provided this image which shows the probable areas of smoke through Friday based on forecast wind information and assuming the King Fire remains active.

Southwest winds will keep the smoke area in the general same area through Wednesday. Winds will turn more westerly behind a cold front on Thursday and push smoke more into western Nevada.

Tuneville Sept. 19 will be in the Performance Hall Lobby
Musicians are invited to "Give What You Can and Play" before the film "Find Your Way: A Busker's Documentary" this Friday at the Brewery Arts Center in Carson City. Tuneville Session invites acoustic musicians to play at the BAC Performance Hall lobby Sept. 19 from 5 to 6:45 p.m.

The Boys & Girls Clubs of Western Nevada announced Tuesday that Red’s Old 395 Grill in Carson City is a spotlight business of the month. During the month of September, Red’s Old 395 Grill is collecting funds for a donation to the organization.

A 22-year-old Carson City man was arrested Monday on a felony charge of parole violation and misdemeanor charges of petit larceny after allegedly taking clothing and a watch from two department stores, a Carson City sheriff’s deputy said.

Shawn Anderson was booked into jail at 6:38 p.m. without bail awaiting a hearing for the parole violation charge. According to the arrest report, Anderson was stopped outside of Kohl’s by loss prevention after being seen leaving the store with a shirt. Anderson threw the shirt at the security officer and took off running, leaving his getaway vehicle.

As of 3 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 15, the Carson City Chamber of Commerce has officially purchased the Visitors Bureau share of the building both agencies jointly inhabited since 1989. The Visitors Bureau is now leasing space in the downtown core at the corner of Carson and Washington Street at 716 N. Carson Street.

The Chamber will remain at 1900 S. Carson Street and will occupy the space vacated by the Bureau after extensive remodeling. Both agencies will have official open houses in the near future.

So for the last couple of weeks we have seen the issue of domestic violence come into the forefront of major sports and its athletes. The NFL of course taking most of the attention with the Ray Rice turmoil. MLB has also been put into the spotlight when its commissioner Bud Selig was asked about the issue during his farewell tour in San Francisco. Here is part of what he had to say on the subject:

The presence of West Nile Virus has been confirmed in Carson City, the Nevada Department of Agriculture announced Monday. Officials tested wetlands, ditches and other small bodies of water during the first week of September and of the samples collected so far the virus is present in one of the test sites.

The site was in a rural, eastern area of Carson City, along the Carson River, said Dustin Boothe, division manager and epidemiologist for the Carson City Health and Human Services.