Yesterday morning I got up early and went down to Ambrose Park for a walk. This was actually my second visit to Ambrose this week; I was down there on Saturday morning as well, for the Keep Truckee Meadows Beautiful Great Community Cleanup, and it was fun to explore this seldom-visited park in the springtime.
Ambrose Park is tucked away in a neighborhood located off of Mayberry Drive, just west of McCarran Blvd. It’s a small park, with no bathrooms or picnic tables, but it has good river access and nice sitting-spots. There are no developed hiking trails here, but there are paths criss-crossing the area that you can use to go exploring, lush riparian (riverside) vegetation, a grassy meadow with patches of wildflowers, and a big upland sagebrush area.
I wandered down to the river channel with my dogs, who splashed around like maniacs for a while. I put them back in the car and took a stroll through the sagebrush. The sun felt summery warm, but the breeze still had the fresh chill of morning. Tucked away against the sagebrush, I came across a big patch of blooming Twincrest onion (Allium bisceptrum), with pink star-shaped blooms. Farther down the path, I surprised a mule deer, munching on sagebrush.
I walked into the meadow, and sat down on the stump of an old cottonwood, cracked and sun-bleached. California Quail called from the bushes. Behind them, the river bubbled. A light breeze made the leaves in the tall cottonwoods dance. Somewhere nearby, a Kingfisher chattered.
Sitting on my stump in the sun, breathing in the minty scent of the white sagebrush (Artemisia ludoviciana) that I stepped on to get here, I took it all in — the cloudless sky, light and sunny to the east, and deeper blue to the west; life, proceeding at a completely normal pace.
When you feel like you have too much to do, as most of us do, all the time, I would argue that there is nothing more enjoyable than doing none of it, and sitting on a stump, basking in the sun, counting tree rings. I looked down and counted: there were 94. Some wide, some narrow — a reminder etched into tree fibers that this 4-year drought is not the Truckee’s first. We live in a desert, after all.
Across the river, cars rushed by on 4th street, headed for town. And I sat, enjoying the temporary luxury of sitting and experiencing this most excellent part of spring — not because I had nothing else to do, but because everything else would still be there in 20 minutes. We all make these choices.
Where are your favorite Truckee River hangouts?