Sunday, January 13, 2008

A ride through Wilson Canyon

I first saw Wilson Canyon eighteen months ago I helped friend Keith haul a 1940 Dodge Power Wagon from Yerington, Nevada. The West Walker River cuts through the mile-long canyon on its journey south to Topaz Lake. Though not as spectacular as other canyons, it offers many photographic opportunities.

The two-hour drive from Placerville to Yerington gave me time to scout a score of photo locations. As I pointed the truck through the American River canyon on Highway 50, my son jotted images of the drive in my notebook as I dictated.

I didn't have time to shoot the canyon during our 2006 visit. Loading and towing the Power Wagon occupied most of our time on that trip. After a visit to see my aunt, who lives in Yerington, we pointed our two-truck caravan back home. I never was able to photograph the beautiful scenery along the way.

Yesterday, I returned to Yerington for a sadder visit -- to attend the memorial service for my cousin, Patrick, who died suddenly last month.

The service gave us a chance to remember Patrick. The last time him was at my father's funeral. I believe he counted dad as a favorite uncle -- dad and Patrick had a special bond.

On any other day, this drive would've taken four or five hours. As we drove I made mental note of a dozen or more stops to make on the return trip. Snow covered rapids on the South Fork American River, grazing cows in the fields south of Gardnerville and the red hues of Wilson Canyon attracted my attention.

But I knew that I couldn't get the camera out until the trip home. My only hope was that we'd leave in time to use the natural daylight. Since the day started as one of those neutral gray days that distort your pictures, I was looking for one for the sun to break through the clouds.

We left my aunt's house at 2:30 p.m. Although it'd be nice to walk the canyon end-to-end, an old advertisement painted on the canyon wall attracted me to the south end of the canyon. I'll post three or four photos from the stop in the next week.

I still need to drive up the American River canyon. It was dusk by the time we crested Echo Summit. I'll make it up Highway 50 soon. In the meantime, enjoy the pictures of Wilson Canyon. I'll soon have a chance to explore with my camera in happier times.

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