Home > writing > On the road to Pyramid: Day 9

On the road to Pyramid: Day 9

Sunday at Pyramid

The Pinnacles from a distance

This morning we aimed to attend church services with our friends from the area, Joe and Sherry. But first, we headed in the opposite direction to the north end of the lake where reside the tufa formations called the Pinnacles, or sometimes the Needles.

Thousands of years ago during the last ice age, this lake was hundreds of feet higher. In this geologically active region, springs (hot and otherwise) pop up in random places. When these springs occur under a lake, the reactions between the minerals in the springs and the minerals in the lake create these “rock” formations in wide-ranging appearance.

Section of the Pinnacles with a steam vent lower left

The lower lake level has revealed these natural marvels.

The Pinnacles are off-limits to visitors because of cultural and wildlife reasons, so I hoofed down a half mile or better from the dirt road to a place across the bay from the formations to get some pictures. You can hardly get a bad picture on the reservation, but these sights are exceptional. During our previous visit, we approached them from a boat. The shots from our latest adventure come from a greater distance, but are still treasured.

A relic from the past

There are things you don’t see from the road: all sorts of animal tracks and burrows, damp spots in the sandy, barren ground where a spring almost reaches the surface, an ancient, rusting bucket. And it’s a lot more steps to the edge of the lake than it appears from the car.

I ventured within forty feet of the lake, but stopped when it turned muddy; that seemed close enough. I stayed a while, snapped pictures, and reveled in the experience. Then it was time for church. I turned to leave and found I could not see the car where awaited my sweet wife and driver.

Where do I go?

Disorientation is a good word for my state. I knew the car was up there somewhere, but the where was ill-defined. So I started up the hill, using my footprints in the sand to point me in the right direction. About half way up, I topped a rise and spied Rhonda trying to catch a glimpse of  me. We were both relieved. With one more picture taken, we turned about and scurried toward town and church.

Saint Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church

St. Mary the Virgin Episcopal Church sits in Nixon, Nevada, the headquarters of tribal government, location of the school and other services, as well as many of the reservation’s residences. Here is what their Facebook entry says:

“Mission: To transform the Pyramid Lake community through the vitality of our worship and living out our baptismal vows.

Description: St. Mary’s Church, established in 1893, is an Episcopal missionary church located on the Pyramid Lake Paiute Tribe’s reservation. It is one of oldest structures in the Episcopal Diocese of Nevada still standing today. The altar table and the baptismal font are carved from stones from Pyramid Lake. Water from Pyramid Lake is used for baptisms. Native spiritual traditions are recognized by the congregation.”

Coming from a different religious tradition, I was unfamiliar with some of the customs of the Episcopal Church. But we were welcomed and invited to participate. In a special treat, a young couple brought their baby and all three were baptized.

We met a number of members, among them a nice lady by the name of Reynelda James. We’ll visit with her in tomorrow’s installment.

After church, we drove with our friends Joe and Sherry Mendes to lunch. Joe introduced us to the land and community when we arranged a fishing charter/land tour in our earlier visit, and Sherry graciously helped us understand a little about the history and life at Pyramid Lake.

Lunch at El Guadalajara restaurant in Fernley, Nevada (see the post on day 7) was interesting. Joe and Sherry recommended the Lengua. I had never eaten beef tongue, but decided what the heck and tried something new. The texture takes some…getting used to. But the flavor was good. Rhonda had the Chiles Rellenos again, her new favorite. Verdict: round two at El Guadalajara a success.

After lunch we drove to Joe and Sherry’s house to visit a while longer, then went back to our lodge in Sutcliffe, then next door to Crosby’s store. You’ll remember from day six, that Crosby’s provides a little of everything. This evening, it was socialization with Joe, Sherry, and old friend, Tex, and a mix of natives and visiting fishermen. I even held an impromptu book signing of a picture book we made from first trip photos. A nice evening.

Tomorrow: The Stone Mother and a visit with Reynelda James.

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Categories: writing Tags: , , , ,
  1. February 26, 2011 at 2:05 pm

    Fascinating. Nice photos. I must go back and read the rest of your adventures.

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