Jackpot!

We spent a few days on the beautiful coast of Mendocino recently.  One afternoon while my love was golfing, I walked the trail down to the beach with the sweetest furry friend a girl could ask for.
This is beautiful Buckhorn Cove. It was such a great place to explore a bit and just relax. When I first arrived there were a few kayakers in the water and a group of divers who were packing up to leave. In less than five minutes I had this serene stretch of coast all to myself. 
There were tide pools to investigate, caves to peek around in, and large rocks for sitting on and gazing out at God’s mesmerizing handiwork.

And there were a whole lot of valentines from nature.Yes indeed. A bag full of treasures, peace and gratitude in my heart, abundant love in my life; I hit the jackpot in so many ways.

Breathtakingly Beautiful Bassi Falls

Hallelujah! Our long drought is over and the rivers and waterfalls are at peak flow. Now is the time to see them.

One of our local news channels put together a list of five must-see waterfalls nearby, and Bassi Falls was on the list. Never having been to Bassi Falls we recently set out for an afternoon adventure.

Bassi Falls is in the Sierra Nevada mountain range off of Ice House Road. The trail is two miles each way, and is fairly well marked.Parts of the trail were shaded by a canopy of conifers while other areas require climbing over granite under the warm sun. Wildflowers dotted the trail and we had the music of the rushing falls and creek to add to our sensory enjoyment.Heart rocks greeted us throughout the hike and I ended up coming home with six of them in the backpack. I left even more there for the next heart rock collector though. Go have a look!

Soak up all of this natural beauty as far as the eye can see.
Almost there!Here at the base of the falls we could cross low parts of Bassi Creek to sit on a boulder and admire this incredible sight. Don’t you agree with me? It’s a breathtakingly beautiful reward at the end of the hike!

A Gathering We Go

Setting off on a nature walk in our neighborhood with two of our very young grandchildren.

Look for things Mama will like and we’ll make her a birthday present out of them. If you see anything interesting lets take a clipping of it or pick it up and put it in our pockets.How bout this if it isn’t too pokey?

Yes, my love, what a good idea.Back at home we set all of our collected treasures out on a tray with some twine and a sturdy branch and  begin to select items to tie on to the branch.

That’s it; put your finger right there while I tie the knot. Thank you. Let’s do the next one too. That’s so helpful. Let’s see, a bit of moss, some pinecones, a magnolia cone, and what else? Of course, the turkey feather, the rose hips, some twigs, and the heart rock.  Those are all great choices! Where should we put the ribbons? Oh, Mama is sure to love this! What do you think?And here, hanging from a tree branch in their backyard, positioned right outside the kitchen window, is the nature mobile. I’m sure it brings a smile to her face and brightens her day each time my daughter in law looks out the window.Happy Birthday Danielle!

Celebrating the Snow

Sierra snowpack levels and rain are way above normal here in Northern California this year and that’s cause for celebration in my book. Evidently, many others were celebrating all of the recent storms right along with us by taking a trip to snow country during the holiday weekend! A drive to Tahoe usually takes us an hour. Today it was a v-e-r-y slow two and a half hour drive.

We have a few usual spots where we like to go snowshoeing, but we got a later start on the road than usual and we found those to be too crowded. Continuing on and feeling up for an adventure, we came to Camp Richardson on the southwest side of the lake and found parking spaces available! In no time at all we were layered up and had our gear strapped on.What a sight to behold! Just look at this incredibly beautiful winter wonderland!
It felt so good to be out exploring in all of nature’s winter beauty after being cooped up from our rainy weather for so long.Through the branches is our dog, Gemma, prancing around in the snow where there’s usually sand, with Lake Tahoe just beyond.  Ahhh! Here’s a little snow heart along our pathand another amidst the tree branches! There’s so much to celebrate in life. Hope you’re finding cause to celebrate this winter as well.

Hiking Horsetail Falls

As you’re driving on Highway 50 toward South Lake Tahoe, just before you reach Echo Summit, take a look up to your left (way up!) and notice the breath taking sight of Horsetail Falls.

Starting out early in the day with good friends, we arrived when the parking lot was nearly empty, and set out for a day of laughter, adventure, exercise, and enormous doses of the healing only Mother Nature provides.

The hike is a mix of lovely wooded trails and wide open granite rocks, all along refreshing pools, small waterfalls and streams.
img_1240img_1235img_1239img_1246img_1245img_1254Don’t forget to stop every once in awhile just to soak up the stunning views in all directions.
img_1250img_1270img_1268img_1350img_1274img_1276The majority of the hike is not well marked and we found ourselves in search of the trail a number of times. Also, be prepared to do a bit of rock climbing rather than hiking during some parts of the hike.

Ahh, there’s a cairn. We’re on the right path.img_1267Be sure to notice all the love notes from nature along the way!img_1249img_1248Everywhere!
img_1261img_1258Without fail, spending time in nature is consistently the restorative tonic that fills up my soul! Where do you go when you need to refuel?

Leaf Peeping in Hope Valley

It’s a goal of ours every year to get up to Hope Valley in Alpine county to see the golden leaves of the aspens. It’s difficult to gage exactly when the leaves are at their peak. Sometimes we’re a bit early and other years we arrive and the leaves have already faded from their glory, but none the less it’s always a beautiful, scenic drive. On this day the leaves weren’t at their height of color, but we were greeted with gorgeous sights everywhere we looked.  We won’t have time to drive up again this month, but I’m betting that this coming weekend the trees will be putting on a spectacular show .img_1282img_1287img_1284img_1280img_1288img_1290img_1331We spent a lovely afternoon taking in the sights, strolling around the trails and hills, and then had a delicious early dinner at the cafe at Sorensen’s Resort. Autumn has definitely arrived!

“Just before the death of flowers, and before they are buried in snow, there comes a festival season when nature is all aglow.” ~Author Unknown

 

Glorious Glen Alpine Trail

I think it’s safe to say that the best weekends involve some hiking, a chance for a little get away to the mountains or the shore, exhilarating fresh air and the incredibly beautiful vistas mother nature has to offer us.

We recently hiked the Glen Alpine Trail in South Lake Tahoe. To get there you must drive the long one lane road along the south shore of gorgeous Fallen Leaf Lake. I’m certainly not complaining; look at this incredible view from the car!img_1044We parked in the parking lot near the general store and walked a little over a mile to get to the trail head. There is limited parking closer to the trailhead, but we’ve always enjoyed the walk. Along the way we passed the lower falls which were just trickling, and the cozy Saint Francis of the Mountains chapel where a wedding was underway. I refrained from taking a photo, wanting to give them their privacy, but it was truly a lovely sight.img_1053img_1059img_1052img_1063img_1049img_1100Once we got to the trailhead we were gifted with meadows, springs, historical sites, rushing waterfalls, and stunning view of Mount Tallac all along this secluded mountain trail.img_1230img_1098John Muir was just one of the many hikers who found the trail unforgettable, writing that it “seems to me one of the most delightful places in all the famous Tahoe region. From no other valley, as far as I know, may excursions be made in a single day to see so many peaks, wild gardens, glacier lakes, glacier meadows, and alpine groves, cascades, etc.”img_1069img_1074img_1084img_1083img_1082img_1107img_1095img_1109img_1110His words are perfect. We found all of that and a whole lot of love!

 

Cheers!

IMG_0016South Lake Tahoe, only an hours drive from our home, is our favorite place to get away to. The list of things to do in and around Tahoe is unending, and no matter what we choose to do while we’re here, time spent in this piece of heaven on earth is always special. Here, our worries are cleared away, and our souls are soothed and rejuvenated.

Nearly thirty four years ago we got married here. Through the years there have been countless family camping trips and days spent on the shores. Anniversaries and special occasions have been celebrated here. This is where we often come to hike in warmer months and snowshoe during winter months. The scenery is astoundingly gorgeous any time of the year.

A week ago we came across this dazzling field of lupine right at the shoreline in Tahoe City while exploring around the Gatekeeper’s Museum. You can walk right out into the middle of all this magic. We learned that when the lake recedes, lupines take over the flat moist area at the edge of the lake. The beauty of this field takes my breath away!
IMG_9970IMG_9974And here we are, best friends and loves of each other’s lives celebrating, once again, in Tahoe. Our special occasion on this day? The first time we met thirty six years ago, on a late June night. Me, just twenty, while he was twenty two.  How did we get so lucky to have found each other out of the vast amount of people in this big, wide world? Thirty six years of holding each others hands and hearts through all that life brings. All the while learning, compromising, growing, struggling, cherishing, forgiving, trusting, and encouraging. Most of all, loving.IMG_0010My heart overflows with gratitude and boundless love for this man. Here’s to many more years of celebrating life in Tahoe. Cheers!

Where Fairies Dwell

Clearly there is a bit of magic happening along the American River parkway in Sacramento, as my dad and I observed during a recent morning walk.

The trails have everything necessary for fairies, elves, and leprechauns to set up housekeeping:

Cool, clear water from the river,IMG_9890branches of a tree that have grown together, creating whimsy,IMG_9899magnificent oaks to live in,IMG_9896IMG_9894heart shaped grape vine leaves, plenty of grapes, and wild blackberries,IMG_9889a heart shaped rock,IMG_9888and pretty wildflowers. IMG_9887Who could resist making their home right here surrounded by all of nature’s treasures?IMG_9875Open the door…
IMG_9876Wow! Special feathers, pebbles, and clear lids to use as stools.

A pretty painted rock,IMG_9883A peacock feather, sparkling jewels, stones for a path to the door, flower petals and a tiny little doorbell!IMG_9880Here’s a closer look. Open the door! Look how sweet!IMG_9881Here’s another little home.
IMG_9874And another!IMG_9884Someone’s having so much fun! I’d love to come across them as I’m out walking.

I’m going to be on the lookout for more fairy homes on my walks. Hope you’re lucky enough to find them too! And wouldn’t it be fun to make your own? Who knew that last week was International Build a Fairy House & Den Week? Earlier today I came across a free booklet, Build a Fairy House and Den to download. The author includes lots of great ideas. Have a look!

“Hand in hand, with fairy grace, we will sing and bless this place. ~William Shakespeare

Breathtaking Burney Falls

“Come away oh human child! To the waters and the wild.”

~Yeats

A few weeks ago my husband and I had the pleasure of  spending the day with my in laws and taking the short one hour drive from Redding, where they live, to Burney Falls.  Located in beautiful McArthur-Burney Falls State Park, the park offers ample camp sites and plenty of trails to hike, but the 129 foot waterfall is the crowned jewel. I’m just going to let the photos do the talking! Just take a look at this stunning display of nature’s splendor.
IMG_9867IMG_9346IMG_9865IMG_9866IMG_9362It’s easy to see why President Roosevelt called this the 8th wonder of the world! Mother Nature at her finest.