Driving out of my apartment’s parking garage I face the cold fast waters of the Truckee River. All night long its rush of white noise masks the city traffic sounds and helps me sleep until the train whistle blows. At the river I can turn left into the winter or turn right into the spring.

  A left turn (west) will take me upstream to the Truckee’s Lake Tahoe source in the Sierras, where snow and skiers rule from November to May. A right turn (east) will lead me into the quarter of Nevada occupied by the desert of the Great Basin. Here a lonely crowd of around 500 people have 10,000 square miles to themselves.
Drag in this view from my balcony to see the Truckee's path from its origins upsteam (left) to its route to the desert (right).