Johnson Lane Journal: Taking in what I have been missing |

Johnson Lane Journal: Taking in what I have been missing

John Hefner

Hello Johnson Laners:

This summer I have set aside time to spend with family and friends. I work for the U.S. Forest Service and I help firefighters during large fires by providing logistical support. Our team does all the local purchases for the first responders. It is an essential function that I truly enjoy. However, last year I was out from June until October and didn’t get any time to enjoy my family and friends. I made a commitment to make a change this year and went camping. So, I am going to share what I have learned.

I have lived here since 1987 and shamefully have not explored much of my surroundings. Over Father’s Day weekend we camped at Walker River Resort. You get there by going east on Highway 208 through Smith Valley. At Hudson Road, you turn left and continue for approximately seven miles. You arrive at a great little oasis. There are over 100 RV spaces which have full hookups. Apparently, it is the place to go if you like to go dirt bike or ATV/UTV riding. There were hundreds of the off-road vehicles and it is diesel motor home heaven as they are everywhere.

Walker River Resort offers fishing, hiking, and a skeet shooting range. There is a nice little store and what looks to be a great bar where locals share their stories. Our kids enjoyed their very nice pool which provided a lot of relief from the heat. If you are looking to get away and do some riding, I highly recommend Walker River Resort. However, if you like peace and quiet and those vehicles irritate you, I would go to my next recommendation. You can visit the Walker River Resort on the web at

After we left Walker River Resort, we headed over to Topaz Lake Resort. I cannot tell you how much I love this little piece of paradise. The resort is directly across Highway 395 from the agriculture inspection station. If you are not watching you will miss it and not even know it is there. Once you turn into the driveway you enter into a great little RV park managed efficiently by Julie Hurley. There are only about 50 spaces and all have mature trees which provide great shade.

If you own a boat, this is the place to go. While staying at the resort you are able to tie your boat off at the dock during your stay which is a huge benefit. I know my fellow captains know the task of taking the boat in and out of the water. The chances of error and damage to your boat increases exponentially with each launch. I like their dock because I am lazy when it comes to boating and this relieves some of the stress and worry. Charlie is the maintenance guy and launches every boat for you with his backhoe. Once in the water you tie off in an assigned slip. What a convenience to just walk out on the dock, untie and go! It will cost you an additional $7 bucks but to me it is well worth it.

Topaz Lake RV Resort has a small store but no bar or restaurant. Conveniently, Topaz Lodge is just up the street and they have great food. One of the best things that happened during our week at the resort was meeting new campers. Surprisingly, many of them were from Gardnerville, Minden or Johnson Lane. Sally and Gary were two of the new friends we made. Gary was gracious enough to take us out and give me and my step son some fishing tips since we are new to the sport. They, like many of our neighbors, moved here for the lifestyle and I am glad they did. You can reach the Topaz Lake RV Resort at The easiest way is to email them at

These are just two of the many campgrounds that surround us. I have been negligent in taking in all that we are offered here in the area. Do yourself a favor, even if you just go out for the day, get out of the house and take a drive. Go check out someplace that interests you. Some suggestions are Markleville, Bodie, (next on my list), Round Hill Pines, Caples Lake, Red Lake or Blue Lakes when it is passable. We have been given so much and I for one don’t want to take it for granted. If you have any other secret squirrel locations that you would like to share please email me at the address below. Have a great summer!

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