Before Mario got a job (update on that soon, and yes, he is amazing!), we decided to head out west to visit my brother and sister-in-law, who live in Nevada, close to Lake Tahoe, wine country, and Yosemite National Park. You know, no big deal. It’s not gorgeous out there or anything.
Mario was excited, as he’d never ventured farther west than Chicago. He even went online and started looking up the top 10 hiking backpacks to pick one out for next day Amazon delivery. So naturally, he asked me if we would be flying over the Grand Canyon (known as El Cañon de Colorado, The Canyon of Colorado, in Spanish). We were flying to Reno, with a layover in Dallas, so naturallyl I had no idea. I’m not as terrible as the average person at geography, but still. The U.S. is a big place. We never got a clear-cut answer, but is this or is this not it?
On our way home from Reno, we stopped in Virginia City, a 19th-century boomtown that is now as touristy as a town can get, but it was fun to take Mario there. At one time, the town had 25,000 residents, but nowadays there are only about 855.
I love license plates
The next day we set out to hike Maggies Peak, a mountain in the Sierra Nevada (not that one) mountain range, west of Lake Tahoe. It’s located in California’s Desolation Wilderness, which doesn’t make one feel too good whilst reading the name at the trailhead. With about 1,900 feet of elevation gained (580 m), it’s not very difficult, but it’s still a hike!
Emerald Bay Vista Point
Brothers-in-law at the top of the Maggies Peak Hike
Mario also really enjoyed visiting Genoa Bar, Nevada’s oldest bar, which was built in 1853. Not much for Spain, but hey, this is the wild, wild west, right?
Enjoying a local brew
Not a great picture, but we had to stop and get some pie at a little pie shop in the mountains. Coffee + pie = a happy couple. (I get the coffee; he gets the pie.)
And to top it all off, we headed to South Lake Tahoe for some food and gambling. Mario’s favorite was called “Quarter Horses,” a rather uncommon casino game where there are 8 mechanical horses that “race.” You bet on the pair that will come in first and second, so there are combinations like 1-2, 2-4, 5-6, etc. Mario actually won $17! That’s enough gambling for us, really.
One of the days we were in Nevada, we wanted to head up into the mountains to hike. Then THIS happened:
It made hiking a tad difficult, to say the least. We got into the car and went down to the beach, which looked a little different than the last time I was in Tahoe.
Next stop? Yosemite National Park, where Mario had one fervent wish: to see a bear. Did he? You’ll just have to wait and see …