Sunday, December 23, 2018

A Christmas Brush next to Lower Thomas Creek Trail

A christmas bitterbrush near Reno
Small lobed leaves and big balls: a christmas bitterbrush 
Tired of christmas trees? Check out the christmas brush next to the Lower Thomas Creek Trail in the northern Galena-area south of Reno. Hiking uphill from the Arrowcreek Parkway trailhead to Timberline Drive, I found—at a random location (?)—a bitterbrush ornamented with red and silver christmas balls. This glitter-brush is on the left side of the path through open sagebrush land not far from the Thomas Creek bridge trailhead at the end of Timberline Drive with access to Dry Pond and the lower section of the Rim-to-Reno-Trail.

Balling up hikers and mountain bikers: who is in charge?

Monday, October 15, 2018

Hobart Reservoir

Between the trees: Hobart Reservoir near the dam with angler

Hobart Reservoir is located west of Carson City in the Marlette-Hobart Backcountry of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. This area is accessible, for example, by ascending the unpaved road from the Lakeview Gate Trailhead at the end of Hobart Road in northwest Carson City to a rusted metal multitube named “Ghost of a Sawmill”. Continuing the stiff ascent for about another mile and then descending into the valley of Franktown Creek leads to Hobart Reservoir (at an elevation of 7,850 feet or 2,393 meters)—and the historic Red House further downhill. This is a popular mountain biking route. Backpackers, day-hikers and mountain joggers also love crisscrossing this subalpine landscape.

Also, the single-lane Ash Canyon Road, which was closed throughout most of  the year 2017 after suffering slides and wash-outs, is again open for public use, including four-wheel vehicles. The steep, five-mile long road starts at the end of Winnie Lane in Carson City. Passing the water tanks and the Ash Canyon Trailhead (Ash To Kings Trail connecting with Upper Waterfall Loop), the road winds uphill, westward through a steep V-shaped canyon. Past a switchback the road continues eastward with views of Carson City and sonns bends left to traverse a more densely forested area to the Hobart Reservoir parking lot.
Hobart Reservoir fishing regulations

The reservoir itself is closed to vehicles: Hobart reservoir will be found a half mile north. A steep, 1/4-mile-long trail connects the parking lot with the dirt road between the “Ghost of a Sawmill” and the reservoir. Following the road northbound, you will catch your first glimpse of the lake through the trees and soon arrive at the signboard with fishing regulations and other information.

With a maximum depth of 15 feet, Hobart reservoir is relatively shallow. A surface area of approximately 10 surface acres has been reported.

Reed-bed habitat blurring southeast shoreline of Hobart Lake
With the exception of the south-corner reed beds, the lake shoreline is easily accessible via trails. On a hot summer day, swimmers enjoy the lake. Throughout the fishing season you will find anglers around the lake. A primitive campground can be found near the lake. Hobart Reservoir contributes to the municipal water supply of Carson City.

Trout fishing

The season is open from May 1 until September 30. The only self-sustaining population is brook trout. In addition, rainbow trout, cutbow trout and tiger trout have been introduced to the reservoir. The cutbow trout is a hybrid between a rainbow trout and a cutthroat trout. The tiger trout is a hybrid between a brook trout and a brown trout. Its name derives from the black-on-white vermiculation pattern evoking the stripes of a tiger.

Vermiculation pattern of tiger trout
Vermiculation pattern of irregular, worm-like lines and yellowish underside of a caught tiger trout

The lake may not be what you are looking for to catch big fish, but is an excellent site for fishing in a scenic environment.
Catch of the day: tiger, brook and rainbow trout

What is that device floating on the lake?

That's SolarBee. A PUBLIC INFORMATION NOTICE explains that the State of Nevada - Marlette Water System has installed this high-flow long-distance circulation equipment to improve the water water quality and enhance the recreational value of the lake. The machine is entirely powered by solar energy. Its long distance water circulation helps to prevent lake water stagnation, control blue-gree algae blooms, improve the lake ecosystem and provide a healthy environment for fish, frogs, crayfish and other aquatic organisms.

Floating SolarBee machine
SolarBee with “half-under”angler in the background

Other Carson Range sites and trails

References and more

Nevada Wildlife > Hobart Reservoir:
Hipcamp > Hobart Campground:
Angler Guide > Hobart Reservoir:
SolarBee technology:

Hobart Reservoir
Hobart Lake seen from dam at northern end

Friday, July 6, 2018

Reno Playa Art Park

Identity Awareness Family
You will encounter sculptures and murals around every corner in Reno. The downtown Reno Playa Art Park—across from the Circus Circus casino murals at 520 N Virginia Street—is a place surrounded by painted walls that features a yearly changing assembly of sculptures. These are installations you, or your children, can walk through and climb on. As the name of this urban sculpture sanctum suggests, the objects give a playful Burning Man flair.  Once, they actual were part of a Burning Man event.

The Reno Playa Art Project was a Burning Man 2017 Global Art Grant recipient. The art piece called Identity Awareness Family, shown above, was created by Shane Pitzer, who has experienced Burning Man with his whole family. The large heart is kept in balance by family members signifying love and support for each other. Next to the heart stands the sculpture named It's A Chicken And Egg Situation by Andrea Greenless and Andy Tibbetts.  Here, children climb the chicken frame; while it was on the Playa, the chicken contained pillow-like, foam-filled eggs for Burners to lie on, hug or contemplate about the traditional chicken-and-egg riddle.

Lumpy the Gate Skull was created for the 2017 Burning Man by Reno locals,  Jeremy Evans and Bill Tubman. The skull was placed at the Playa entrance. It was the first peace of art seen by participants and will return to the Playa event of this year.

Climbing the skull: Lumpy the Gate Skull

The experimental installation Trasparenza (frequently misspelled Transparenza) by Andrea Greenlees is made from laser-cut, clear cast acrylic panels. This Leonardo-da-Vinci-inspired, seethrough sculpture can be entered. The imagery of geometric patterns can be enjoyed from both inside and outside. 

Temple of Transparency: Trasparenza

Another acrylic-based sculpture is the Electric Dandelion by Abram Santa Cruz. Actually, there are two. These LED-animated structures come to life at night, when they simulate a firework show. 

One of the two Electric Dandelions
One of the two Electric Dandelions

Note:  My brief descriptions of the Playa Art Park creations are based on the onsite #renoplayaartproject board.

Sunday, July 1, 2018

Bandalooping down Reno's City Hall

Renoites love the verticals. The downtown climbing wall has been a spectacular hotspot for years. After a vertical dancefloor rehearsal on June 30, Artown 2018 was opened the next day with an amazing performance by Bandaloop from Oakland, California. The cloud-reflecting windows of the south-facing side of the Reno City Hall served as the vertical platform—or should I say background—for the aerial dancers. Here are a few snapshots.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

2018 Reno Rodeo Parade through Midtown

Reno Rodeo wagon in the parade celebrating the Wildest, Richest Rodeo in the West

On the morning of Saturday, June 16, the Reno Rodeo Parade took place along Virginia Street in Reno's Midtown. Locals and visitors enjoyed the different parade entries at the Virginia/Arroyo staging area and the various performances while the parade moved north towards Liberty Street. You bet, horses and lasso(e)s were the theme. Not to mention all the cowgirls and cowboys in action. And there was much more to see—and to get. Here are a few snapshots.

Parade participants on their way through Forest Street to the staging area

The dairy coach of the Nevada Dairy Council

The Rodeo Express Train

Little Cowboy

To watch rodeo competitions, bull riding, saddle bronc and bareback riding, steer wrestling and other perfomances you need to schedule ahead for a visit at the Reno-Sparks Livestock Events Center. During the parade, lasso-swinging boys and girls were trying to get the spectators in rodeo mood.

Goodies thrown from an oversize shopping cart

You need to be fast to get the best of the goodies

McQueen drummers passing India Kabab

End-of-parade interview with a little cowgirl

Après-parade poop control

Saddle up!

Reno Rodeo:

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Dedication of a monument to German-Nevadan artist Hans Meyer-Kassel at the Genoa Courthouse Museum on May 19, 2018

The Genoa Courthouse Museum after unveiling the Hans Meyer-Kassel monument

Brooks (right) and Bacon (left) after unveiling
Hans Meyer-Kassel (1872-1952) was a classically trained artist—a native of northern Hessia in Germany—who lived and painted in Nevada after his arrival in the Silver State in 1937. A current exhibition at the Nevada Museum of Art in Reno features an impressive collection of his landscapes, still lifes, arctic ocean scenes and portraits. On May 19, a monument, in honor and memory of Meyer-Kassel, was dedicated in Genoa, where the painter lived “until the last day of his life in 1952, when he simply laid down his brushes for an afternoon nap and never awoke” [1].

The Hans Meyer-Kassel monument was unveiled by the artist's nephew Bill Brooks and author Jack Bacon. The dedication in front of the Genoa Courthouse Museum was a community event in the presence of far over fifty people—officials, locals, and visitors. Some shared their memories of having met Meyer-Kassel in person, who painted portraits of locals as well as landscapes of Carson Valley, Lake Tahoe, Pyramid Lake and various other scenic places of northern Nevada. 

Comstock musicians performed on the museum's porch before and after the unveiling ceremony

Jack Bacon writes [2]:

In Genoa, Meyer-Kassel found what he had been searching for his entire life—a place where he could focus solely on his art. As Maria said in a 1976 interview, “My husband was very happy because he found the tranquility he needed to paint.” It was, she said, their personal Shangri-La, “a place we could live forever.” 

Hans Meyer-Kassel at work

References and more to explore

[1] Hans Meyer-Kassel, “ Nevada Landscape.” NMA Docent Depot. April 3, 2009. Link:

[2] Jack Bacon: Hans Meyer-Kassel, Artist of Nevada. Jack Bacon & Company with the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada, 2018; page 35.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Rattlesnake Avoidance Training

A rattlesnake is brought to Benny's attention

Rattler on Halo Trail
Avoiding rattlesnakes during outdoor activities can be challenging. Last fall, I came very close to a rattler on Halo Trail—a single-track hiking and mountain biking trail in the Peavine foothills northwest of Reno. The snake warned me just in time by rattling vigorously.

Humans have evolved to react with a stress response when encountering a snake. Humans, even the curious kind, typically avert snakes. What about dogs?  Do they have an innate fear of snakes? It looks like their is no definitive answer to this question. Dogs that have made a bad experience with an aggressive snake—venomous or not—usually avoid snakes. Otherwise, a dog encountering a rattlesnake may get curious or even in a playful mood resulting in an unpleasant or deadly consequence. Therefore, many dog owners in rattlesnake countries take their dog(s) to a rattlesnake avoidance training or rattlesnake aversion training.

The typical training is a five to ten minute rattlesnake parkour. The dog is guided to places with rattlesnake smell and also to a site with a relatively calm, yet rattling snake. That snake should have gone through veterinary work before put on site where it is handled by a trained person. Although highly unexpected, an actual bite caused by a worked-on snake would be a dry bite.

Benny almost ready for the rattlesnake parkour
I joined a friend to watch her dog, named Benny, making the round near Minden, Nevada. At start, Benny got a remote training collar. The trainer watched Benny's behavior at each station and provided a perfectly-timed low-level stimulation that Benny was supposed to associate with the snake. The idea is that a dog, when detecting a sight, sound or smell of a rattlesnake, memorizes the unpleasant stimulation, creates a reflex and quickly moves away. It worked for Benny. At training's end, we were told to call Benny, with the rattlesnake halfway between us and the dog. Instead of running directly toward us across and over the snake, Benny took a respectful half-circle with a radius of at least five dog-lengths around the snake. Good dog! And a great Thank you! to the good and friendly experts who performed the training.

Benny coming close to where he should smell a rattlesnake

Saturday, May 5, 2018

UNR congratulates German graduates: Herzlichen Glückwunsch Absolventen!

Herzlichen Glückwunsch Absolventen! Congratulations, graduates - German
Mai 2018 - May 2018

The University of Nevada, Reno (UNR) congratulates its foreign graduates. At the fountain next to Morrill Hall, I came across this posted banner that congratulates the graduates from German-speaking countries. The German word for graduate is Absolvent. Herzlichen Glückwunsch translates as congratulations. Accounting for the adjective herzlich associated with the noun Glückwunsch, the literal translation is hearty congratulation or cordial congratulation—considered to be too formal these days. So, the plural form congratulations is just fine.   

Friday, March 16, 2018

Snow-tree silhouette at the Nevada Museum of Art

Black-and white: snow-covered trees and bushes at NMA (March 16, 2018)
With the last winter weekend approaching, Reno got about a foot of wet snow. This snow has a tendency to stick on roof tops and trees. Occasionally a load of white stuff is slipping off and joins the white carpet on the ground. A great day to take pictures of snow sculptures like the one above at the Nevada Museum of Art (NMA). The exterior wall of the museum—composed of black, zinc-based material—gives the perfect background to contrast snow-white structures in front.

Getting curious what to see at the interior walls?

If you like snow art, you will find paintings of ice and snow landscapes inside the museum. Hans Meyer-Kassel (1872-1952)—with an impressive selection of his art currently exhibited—not only captured the snowy landscapes of northwestern Nevada, but also floating ice in the Arctic Ocean and glacial sceneries of remote Spitzbergen, Norway.

Monday, February 19, 2018

Hans Meyer-Kassel: Artist of Nevada

The art exhibition “Hans Meyer-Kassel: Artist of Nevada” will be on view at the Nevada Museum of Art (NMA) in Reno from February 24 through September 2, 2018.  Over seventy paintings, drawings and artifacts from private and institutional collections will be presented. This is going to be the first comprehensive survey of the late-Imressionist artist who portrayed everything from dignities to ships and glaciers. Visitors will be inspired by Meyer-Kassel's love for northern Nevada expressed on canvases capturing scenes and landscapes of Reno-Tahoe, Pyramid Lake, Walker Lake and the Ruby Mountains. The show also includes some of his artwork from Germany, Norway and New York.

Panel partition of a replication of a Meyer-Kassel painting at NMA entrance

About Hans Meyer-Kassel

Born as Hans Meyer in Kassel, Germany, on March 8, 1872, Meyer immigrated to the United States in the early 1920s and moved to Nevada in the mid-1930s. Here, he died in northern Nevada's Genoa on August 30, 1952. 

Hans Meyer began his career as a painter of portraits, landscapes and still lifes in Kassel and Munich. Meyer's encounter with prominent European dignitaries, who he painted, and his growing artistic reputation caused his native Hessian city of Kassel to grant him the honor of  appending the city's name to his own. Such, Meyer's common name—“Hans” and “Meyer” belong to the most frequent first and last names, respectively, in Germany—became a distinctive moniker: Hans Meyer-Kassel. The writing Meyer-Cassel, using an older spelling of the city name (see “Fascinated by the word Kassel”), can also be found. Since the 1950s Kassel is known for the Documenta, a contemporary art event taking place every five years and populating the cityscape with sculptures such as Frame Construction and Man Walking to the Sky.

Between his times in Germany and Nevada, Hans Meyer-Kassel enjoyed sceneries and success on both sites of the Atlantic Ocean. My favorite episode in Meyer-Kassel's life is his artist-style exploration of Iceland and Norway (including the Lofoten Islands and remote Spitzbergen), where he painted harbor towns, floating ice and glaciers. In 1931, Meyer-Kassel had a one-person exhibition of his artwork at the Brooklyn Museum of Art. During the last 16 years of his life, his terrain for impressionistic views was the American West, including the landscape of northern Nevada between the Ruby Mountains and the Carson Range.

Monument Dedication in Genoa

A recent newsletter of the Nevada Museum of art announces a special event on Saturday, May 19, at 1 pm, during which a permanent memorial to Hans Meyer-Kassel, and his beloved wife Maria, on the grounds of the Genoa Courthouse Museum in downtown Genoa is planned.

Display of books at museum bookstore

Reference and more to explore

[1] Hans Meyer-Kassel: Artist of Nevada. Link:
[2] Jack Bacon (Editor/Publisher): Hans Meyer-Kassel: Artist of Nevada. Jack Bacon & Company with the Nevada Museum of Art, Reno, Nevada 2018.
[3] Hans Meyer-Kassel. Online Nevada Encyclopedia. Link:
[4] Hans Meyer-Kassel. Wikipedia (in German). Link:

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Sue in Reno

Sue exhibit in Reno's Discovery Museum

Sue is in town—in Midtown, inside the Terry Lee Wells Nevada Discovery Museum. It will stay until January 15, 2018 [1]. I am writing it, since we do not know, if Sue, a Tyrannosaurus rex, was a she or a he. Until now—according to information given on an exhibition panel—scientists haven't found a reliable way to tell males from females:

Sue is technically an “it.”

The fossils that became Sue were discovered by American paleontologist Sue Hendrickson (and her dog Gypsy) in summer 1990 in South Dakota—while waiting for a flat tire to be fixed. She found bones at a cliff base and, looking up, saw three dinosaur backbones protruding from a cliff wall [2]. A long dispute about the fossil ownership followed, but eventually The Field Museum of Chicago bought Sue (the fossils) for nearly $8.4 million. 

The life-sized skeleton is a cast of Sue's real skeleton. You can walk around it in the museum exhibit and will also find digital and hands-on interactive devices to explore Sue's anatomy and speculated way of living.

Sue drawn at the museum wall with sponsor names in each bone

References and more to explore:
[1] The Discovery: A T. rex Named Sue [].
[2]  Sue Hendrickson: Biography [].

Looking for extinct animals
Find more on my “Extinct animals” board.