Jet Skiing and Play Time at Pyramid Lake, or Why You Should Get Off Your Ass and Go
Today was a prime example of getting your butt moving. Sometimes just getting the motivation to get out there is all that is needed. The rest will come.
My daughter Britni had invited us out for a lake day several days ago and we committed to going. Along came the usual Sunday morning lazies/blues. Ugh work is tomorrow. I have so little time to rest and spend time with my wife and kids. I should just stay home. We will be able to capitalize on the time we have more if we stay home. I actually called my daughter and told her we probably weren’t going. An hour later, a text saying my grandson, Maverick, is asking for Pop Pop, Nonina and Willow in that order.
After a bit more internal turmoil a quick discussion with the wife and we are off and running. We told ourselves we would make it quick, we won’t bring much… just grab sandwiches, etc. Keep the hullabaloo to a minimum and maximize the amount of solitude we could find with a 3 year old and twin 14 year olds. Suffice it to say things were already starting to go downhill.
I don’t know about you but I’m pretty sure it’s universal. When you and your significant other are under stress things start to unravel no matter how monklike you pretend to be. In our family its not if there will be some stress, a blowout or a breakdown… its when. I often forget not to let the stress preclude the fun to be had… to take that step back, breathe deep and see the big picture.
Well, we made it out the door. The kids, dog, food and drinks, umbrella, towels, blankets all make it in the car… wait, almost forgot the wife haha. We hook up with the daughter unit and her family in Spanish Springs, grab some Port of Subs sandwiches head out for the last leg.
So now the stress of the general craziness of the morning is leading to the inevitable decline of Happy Troy into the Moody Hangry Troy… Reign it in. It’s going to be great. Ugh where are those sandwiches!?
We made it to the beach at Pyramid Lake!
My mood hasn’t really changed much yet, even though I want it to. The sands wet and a bit muddy near the water (the lake has receded a quite a bit recently), I didn’t bring a tarp. I start setting up the umbrella, unload the gear while muttering under my breath how much I hate Pyramid. Where are the trees? Here I am sitting in mud, what a Sunday. Grrr. At the same time I don’t want to upset Brit and family… I realize no one here deserves my ire.
The kids are already having a blast, literally having the time of their lives. Willow and my grandson Maverick are already in the water playing while Sean and Gabe are rough housing in the shallows with the wild abandon that only the youthful mind allows. Ellen and I ate our sandwiches while I stewed in my own personal stress bucket.
Then I got on the jet ski. Oh glorious wind in my face, feeling the water pushing back while I balance the turns. The gentle mist of the warm saline water against my body instantly woke me up and the adrenaline from riding brought me alive again, or perhaps it was just the sandwich haha. Either way I was back in the game. Hello world!
The kids were having so much fun without any intervention or guidance from the adults. Travis was teaching the brothers (14 year old twins, Gabriel and Sean) about the stand up jet ski. Ellen, Britni, Willow and Maverick (my wife, daughters and grandson) were all playing in the expansive shallow waters that strangely have intermittent cold and warms spots everywhere.
Pyramid Lake is the biggest remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan
At 125,000 acres this huge inland sea once covered most of Nevada. The desolate desert scenery is both desolate and beautiful at the same time. The color of the lake, which was flat and windless, seemed to vary from blue to green to indigo and back again throughout the day. And if you didn’t know it you don’t have to go all the way to Salt Lake City, Pyramid Lake has a salinity of approximately 1/6 that of sea water.
We set up our shade umbrellas right along the water so we could watch the kids but still relax. The water at this beach is extremely shallow, shin to knee deep, for miles making it a great beach for the toddlers.
The boys wanted to ride the jet ski but we went out and found I had broke it. A small clip had broken off the battery that wouldn’t allow it to start. The boys were immediately devastated, even though they didn’t say anything it was obvious they were worried. Thankfully Travis came to the rescue with a pair of pliers, crimps and a paper clip. It works!
But then Appy, a friend of Travis and Britnis, showed up with his Skidoo and he was more than happy to share. I could just hug this guy. Who shows up with a $8,000 Skidoo and let’s a strangers 14 year old twins, and complete novices at that, ride his ski before he does. All I can say is Appy is legit, in other words an all around good guy.
After that the day went into overdrive. It was all about the skidoo and jet skis. Gabe and Sean hadn’t really ever ridden Jet Skis or Skidoos but the instant they got on they were pros. We could not get those kids off the water, not even for food.
Brave little Willow and I rode the Skidoo for awhile. She is a chip off the old block and loves speed! She kept saying go faster, faster then proceeded to throw the obligatory fit when we returned to shore. But just for a moment though… she is an exceptionally good girl. She loved, loved, loved riding the Skidoo! My grandson Maverick just couldn’t get enough of the sun, sand and dog play time 🙂
Be Forewarned: Follow the Rules at Pyramid Lake
While Willow and Maverick played we all took turns riding the toys and having a merry time until the PoPo show up. Reservation police that is. Ugh. So, don’t park within 100 feet of the lake after you drop your skidoo or you will likely get a $120 ticket. Appy hadn’t moved his truck up the shore after launching because we all mobbed him ugh. There was a permit issue (the wrong one was purchased) but the officer let that slide.
It was already nearly 4pm and we wanted a little time at home so we started packing up. Nothing like a ticket to put a damper on things. As you can see above Sean was none too happy.
We ended up having one of the best lake days of summer after all!
Regardless we ended up having one of the best days even though we were initially going to flake. Thank god we got up off our asses and got the kids and the dog out to the beach. With the busy lives we have today its surprisingly difficult to get the families with all the kids together… and not spend a fortune. Our overall food and gas budget was right right around $45-50 all told… and I still have gas!
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Pyramid Lake is a remnant of ancient Lake Lahontan, which covered a large area of northwestern Nevada at the end of the last Ice Age (about 12,000 to 15,000 years ago). At its most expansive, Lake Lahontan had a surface area of over 8,500 square miles, making it one of the largest lakes on the continent. It was 500 feet deep over the Black Rock Desert and 900 feet deep over today’s Pyramid Lake (which has a surface area of 188 square miles and is 350 feet deep). A warming climate caused the gradual disappearance of Lake Lahontan. The only lakes left that were once part of the whole are Pyramid Lake and Walker Lake near Hawthorne. Other prominent evidence includes shoreline erosion visible on mountain sides, tufa formations, and dry lake playas dotting the region, prominent among which are the Carson Sink, Humboldt Sink, and Black Rock Desert.
Pyramid Lake is in an endorheic lake, which means it is located in a basin with no drainage. The only way water leaves is through evaporation. It is fed by the Truckee River, which flows from Lake Tahoe. It is remarkable to realize that the water in this desert lake originated in what is literally another world, high in the alpine environment of the Sierra Nevada. The Truckee River isLake Tahoe‘s only outlet and Pyramid Lake’s only source.