Carson Pass Vacation

Road Trip with Nancy's New Camper

Nancy and I are heading south on HWY 395  to Hwy 88 South to Go Camping at Carson Pass.  She bought a used camper and this was the second camping trip for her.  She is a whiz on setting it up and taking it down.  There is so much you have to know when you own one of these campers.  There is a system you have to follow in order for everything to work right.  You have to level it before you crank it up and then you have to pull the beds out and anchor those to the camper, and set the metal bars to stretch out the canvas.   The door comes out of the ceiling and not very easily, but Nance has it down.   You have to check your water and pump and propane to make sure its all working and not leaking so you have enough to get by for a few days.  We call it dry camping.  No electricity and no water on site, except for the river and yep, that was freezing.   We were a little smelly by the end of the trip…..well, not real smelly, we did get to wash up.  We didn’t have to wear bug spray, the campfire took care of that.


Art work on Fairview Overpass

This is metal art on the overpass.  They do the coolest things out here in the west…..

Washoe Valley Scenery

This is Beautiful Washoe Valley.  It’s usually a really strong crosswind.  Overturned Semi’s on a regular basis.  They have digital warning signs telling them to go around,  but they don’t listen.

Faith Valley Campsite

This is our campsite.  This is the Fire Pit.  We had two fires, one monday night and one tuesday night. It was pretty quiet, there were only about 3 other campers but they were far away.

Our View of Faith Valley from the Camper

This is Faith Valley.  Nice view from inside the camper.

One little Aspen changing color

This little baby aspen was turning color, but the large ones still had a ways to go yet.


Here is a view of the camper all set up .



Faith Valley

The Sun was setting on the valley by 6:00.

Faith Valley

Sun went behind the mountain.

Lake Margaret Hike

This was our first hike on Monday.  Lake Margaret is up by Kirkwood Ski Resort, which is approximatly 7800 feet in elevation.  This is the Eldorado National Forest.  Its a 2-1/2 mile hike to the lake and it’s supposed to take about 1-1/2 hours.  But when your with a photographer, it takes 3.  We always double what they say when Im around.  We like to meander anyway and take in all the sights and smells and wildlife.

Myah Swimming in the Carson River

Myah is Nancy’s golden retreiver.  She is almost 4 years old.  She has puppy energy and loves the water .  Myah also loves being muddy and sneaking up on you and shaking off.  She has a new trick now, Nancy throws a rock and she dives for it…it’s pretty funny, because she almost drowns herself trying to get the rock.

Walkin the Line....

Thats Tom and Nancy and Myah crossing the Carson River.  Good thing that log was there.


This Caterpillar was having a late breakfast….

Flowers along the Trail

Tom the Mountain Man


This flower is called an Indian Paintbrush…it’s common in the higher elevations.

I love the character of dead trees.

I really love the character of the old cypress trees.  They are so many hundreds of years old. The Sky is so blue out here.  Yes, Its really this blue, I did not fix this picture in any way.

Now thats a lonely Tree

There’s that blue sky again…..

Me taking a pic of a very big tree

Thats me and my 30lb camera pack.  There was some interesting moss on the branches of this huge tree.  Im sitting on pieces of bark that have fallen off the limbs. Just look at the size of those things!  And look how thick they are!  It’s like jumbo wood mulch. Really, I was just sitting down to take a break from that 30 lb bag and happened to look up. I also got a souvenir of sap on my butt.

Beautiful Lake Margaret

We finally reached Lake Margaret.  What a sight!  I just love walking up over a ridge and seeing a sight like this.  I am always amazed at these beautiful alpine lakes. They are so clear and cold and usually calm.  It’s always worth the climb. And the blue sky!

Lake Margaret-Black and White

I decided to play with some Black and White settings on my camera.  What a great lake for that.   The stripes on the rocks are lines from the water heights at different years.

Lake Margaret in color

I took a color and a black and white of the same scene so you could see the dramatic difference.  If you look hard at the black and white you can see billowing smoke in the sky from what we think was a prescribed fire.  We hung out for a good hour, but the smoke was coming our way so we packed up and headed out before it started to smell.  The smoke ruined the blue sky.

Same pic in Black and White

Playing with my Camera and airing out my feet

Myah catching a wink in the sun

Myah’s new name is Mud Myah.  She looked like this the whole trip! And Stinky too. Stinkier than us.

Lake Margaret

Aspens in Black and White

We saw this stand of Aspen on our hike back down .

Colorful Leaves

Milky way over Forest Dale Divide

Later that night I set up my tripod and took some pics out in the middle of Faith Valley.  There were so many stars.   They just kept going and going…the milky way was amazing.

Big Dipper

I caught the Big Dipper just as it was sinking below this treeline

Kayaking Blue Lake

This is what I call a drive by photo.  Its what happens when you are trying to get a pic for the blog but you don’t want to tell the driver to stop every 5 minutes.  Whenever someone else is driving, my excited expression for “I want to stop and get that picture” is the word,  EEEEERRRRRTTTTTTT!!!!!  It kinda scares em’ at first but then they get used to it and just keep driving…..:*)

Getting Ready to get the Kayaks off the Van

Our Friend Tom brought the kayaks down from Tahoe.  You can see why they call it Blue Lake.   Its one the coolest lakes to kayak.  I think its in my top 3. Tahoe being #1.  It has upper Blue Lake and Lower Blue Lake.  This is Lower.  There is a river that dumps water into the lower from the upper and its a sight to see.  Especially when the water is high.  It was not high this time.  This area is the dam and a lot of fisherman love catching trout here.  I caught one while fishing from my kayak that last time I was here.  There’s that blue sky again…..


Blue Lake

The water was cold, but like Tahoe, you get used to it.   You turn blue and then warm your toes in the sun.  And Oh Yeah, look at that blue sky will ya?


Falls from Upper Blue Lake

Heres the river that runs between the upper and lower lakes.

Blue Lake from the Falls

Upper Blue Lake Falls and Lower Blue Lake

Lower Blue Lake Shoreline

Trying the black and white again.

Twin Lake

After our kayaking we hiked up to twin lake.  Another beautiful lake.  Although  it was windy here and the lake was a little rougher.

Tree Roots and shoreline of Twin Lake

Nancy and Myah at Twin Lake

Twin Lake- Black and White

Twin Lake- Color

This was a beautiful lake.  I was in seventh heaven with my camera.

Old Cabin at Blue Lake

I like to try and imagine what it was like to live in those days.  Maybe it was just a hunting cabin, but its got a story somewhere…..


This fisherman forgot to close the door……

Another Milky Way over Faith Valley & Forest Dale Divide

This is what we looked at every night. This was a little longer exposure so the stars start to get that trail look to them…

The Carson River was only a couple hundred feet from the campsite. Nance and Myah and me hiked around it on the last day before we left.

Carson River


Nance & the Carson River

A Horse just happened along....

I heard Nancy talking to someone and I looked around and there was a horse standing in the river.  Wow, ya never know what your gonna see out here in the west…..

Pullin' Out

It was a great trip.  Took about an hour to pack it up.  The good thing is, all this beauty and we are only 1-1/2 hours from home.  I love this place!!!!!

“The Journey that you take is more important than your destination”

Thanks for going along for the ride…….until we meet again….


About Sally

“All too often, we take for granted the gifts of nature that surround us everyday.” With her camera, Sally Hanrahan captures images that move the spirit and imagination, and marries those images of spiritual, natural, and rugged beauty with the changing of the seasons. Originally from Michigan, Sally’s interest as a photographer came at the early age of fifteen. Her parent’s love of nature influenced her appreciation for the beauty and serenity that Mother Earth created. Her Grandmother’s love of photography and her Mother’s amazing talent with oils and watercolors brought to life the landscapes she yearned to visit. A self trained photographer with a natural talent, Sally has been capturing landscapes for over 30 years. Her pictures were shown at the 2007 Sierra Autumn Photo Exhibit at Bartley Ranch and won the 2nd place People’s Choice Award for ‘Fall at Caughlin Ranch.’ Sally took first place in two categories for the Nevada Magazine’s 2011 Great Nevada Picture Hunt and won Event runner up in 2015. She has shown ‘Fighting Mustangs’, a tribute to the wild horses of Nevada, both at the Artistic Viewpoints Gallery in Gardnerville, NV for the Wild Mustang Exhibit, and at the Truckee River Gallery in Reno for the ‘Art of the Horse’ exhibit. She was among those who showed at the Patagonia outlet for the Winnemucca Ranch fundraiser. In addition, Sally has presented her photo art periodically at the Truckee River Gallery in downtown Reno and for the Nevada Land Trust Fundraisers at Rancho San Rafael Wilbur D. May Museum. Sally moved to Reno in 2006, and devotes her high energy and free time to hiking, biking, kayaking, fishing, and anything having to do with the outdoors. She has worked as a landscape designer for over 25 years and is especially fond of perennial gardens. The landscape is her pallet and her camera is always hanging from her shoulder ready for the next breathtaking shot. “The journey that you take is more important than your destination” Unknown
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