If you enlarge the picture below, you will see the natural trail that Kory and I had been following for well over an hour.
The grassy trail weaved its way around walls and hills of cracked, buckled and bowed lava rock.
The trail was easy enough for me to follow, and the rock hills were engaging enough for my athletic dog..............
After climbing up a steep rise using jutted rocks for natural hand holds, I stood in the shade of a leafless tree for a moment, looking down at this undulating rock and then the hole in the ground that was filled with new growth.
As I took a few sips of water I absently studied these things.
I had never seen anything like either one of these two in my life.
And now..........8 miles from town............I was standing in front of these two sights, in awe as always, of uniqueness of it all.................
Click on any picture to enlarge...............
A look at one more canyon.
This particular lava field is huge.
The last time I walked this field with Kory was last spring when there was still a covering of snow on the ground.
At that time I had never explored this place, had no idea what to expect, and no idea how long it would take me to explore it and then find my way out of it.
It ended up taking about 4 hours.
On that day I climbed many lava hills and was continually surprised at how wide the crevices at the top of the hills were.
I had expected that I might be able to climb or jump over the cracks and drop down into the canyon on the back side of the hills.
The spaces were wide and long and impossible to navigate.
I climbed a few hills in succession before finally realizing that (now I was in the middle of the lave field) the only way I had to get out was to go back the way I had come or continue to forge ahead.
The adventure racer in me compelled me forward.
My pup and I ended up following this trail for at least another mile before it circled around and headed south west. Eventually we ended up picking up the train tracks and walking them back to the Tahoe.
A long walk.
But a good walk...........................
We had been walking for about 90 minutes when I had to make a decision.
I could continue to follow the natural trail until I came to the very last hill in this field, then follow the trail to the back side of the hills and begin to head back in the right general direction.
It was a route I had taken the last time I was here.
Or...........I could veer east and pick up one more trail beyond the lave field and into the sage bushes.
I had never gone that way before, so chose to begin working my way east, veering off trail and climbing up and over lava hills big and small.
I would see what I would see.
Looking around for my pup I yelled her name.
And then again.
And then once more.
Until my happy puppy came bouncing over the rise of a hill barreling in my direction.
Smiling at the sight of her I carefully laid my found-treasures (the arrow and the metal bar) on the ground, dropped down to one knee, unscrewed the water bottle that I had stashed in the side pocket of my pants, and cupped my hand in anticipation of a thirsty dog.
I need to start carrying a pack and water bladder again because inevitably puppy drinks more water than I expect and I get less water than expected.
Must bring pack and bladder from now on..............
One of many caves in the lava field.
I keep my distance from them in truth.
Also in truth they creep me out because I don't know what's in them.
I don't go out into the desert unarmed.................
One I veered away from the trail, crossed over the rocks and began to wander among both lava rock and sage, I quickly realized that I should have just stayed on the trail I had been following all along.
That trail had been much more interesting, much prettier, much more rugged and mysterious (although I DID find a snatch strap in the dirt - which I added to the increasing bundle of treasures I was going to drag home with me)........................
A good trip.
A much needed trip into the desert on a spring day that was meant for exploring.................
People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring..................Rogers Hornsby