Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Alpine Valleys
By Jim White
We were at the Community Center in the Turtle Rock Campground in Alpine Co. last week celebrating the life and times of Fish and Game Warden Norm Reuther of Alpine County who died last month. Norm was a friend who loved the mountains and valleys of Alpine Co. and tried to spend every day of his life looking at this beauty. Someone said Norm would have loved the weather that day. You see it was raining and snowing outside, and Norm like me, loved a good storm. Norm was a friendly guy with a big smile who would have invited all of you to come up and see the beauty of the Alpine Valleys nearby. Bring your cameras and enjoy the beauty. I will sit in for Norm and tell you where to go.
Norm loved Diamond Valley. Take the road from Woodfords toward Markleeville about a mile and take the first county road to the left. This road will go thru Diamond Valley, past the settlement of Hung-A-Lei-Ti, home of the Southern Band of the Washoe Tribe and end up on highway 88 once again. We have wonderful memories of Diamond Valley. The first ranch house on the right is where my son Randy and I spent a few days many years ago, riding on horseback and exploring this valley. We had the whole ranch to ourselves and a full size pool table in the living room of the ranch house. There was an old fashion bathtub in the bathroom that my 12 year old son Randy could stretch out full length in and soak after a day of exploring.  Snowshoe Thompson had lived just down the street in the 1880’s where he had had a huge vegetable garden. He also delivered the mail each winter month on skis from Placerville over Echo Pass to Genoa in Carson Valley nearby. You cannot see it now but near where the cottonwood tree close-up picture in this piece was taken, was where Snowshoe’s house used to be and years ago I found some square nails near his root-cellar. Where the Diamond Valley road turns left if you go straight instead on the dirt road, I often find Mountain Lion tracks in the mud near the first gate. You might want to photograph the tall water tank in front of the village. It is covered in Indian paintings of objects of importance to the tribe. Be sure and photograph the West Fork of the Carson River to the west as you descend down the hill to the river and leave Diamond Valley.
Turn right on highway 88 and head down into Carson Valley. Once you cross the state line turn to the right and drive the many roads of the valley looking for old barns, horses, hayfields and memories of the way Carson Valley used to be. Some of the old time ranch houses and barns are still there and most of the time folks are friendly. If you meet an old-timer with wrinkled skin and a sweat soaked felt hat, you know he lived in Norm’s world and will welcome you to the beauty of his Alpine Valley. Better yet, wait for a summer thunderstorm with those towering clouds and see the real beauty of Carson Valley, the way Norm liked it.


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