Rubicon Trail Hike

A couple of weeks ago we drove up to Tahoe to hike one of our favorite, and THE most beautiful trail we know. Scenic views of Tahoe’s sapphire blue lake, stately green conifers, and crystal clear skies above us took our breath away as we made our way along the western shoreline.

This trail connects D. L. Bliss State Park with Emerald Bay State Park with the entire trail being 6 1/2 miles long if you go all the way to Vikingsholm Castle.  Hikers can go the entire distance or keep it shorter and turn around at any point. At an elevation of 6000 – 6500 feet you’ll not only experience astoundingly gorgeous vistas, but you’ll also experience majestic granite boulders, gentle waterfalls, and fun little rock caves along the way.

Mark Twain must have been right here when he said that Lake Tahoe’s air was pure enough for angels. This is the Rubicon Trail!

Wildflower Season

“If you look the right way, you can see the whole world is a garden.” ~Frances Hodgson Burnette


It’s here! That time each year when the high country is covered in wildflowers. Time to grab your hiking boots and sun hat and get out among all the wonderful wildflower frenzy.

These photos were all taken in an area south of Highway 88 at Hope Valley called Blue Lakes. This cluster of lakes provides a perfect day trip destination just right for fishing, swimming, playing on the beach or hiking. And while you’re out there having all that summer fun, just open your eyes and take in the stunning beauty of all the wildflowers. You won’t be disappointed!Colorful, eye-catching and lush, Lupine, Meadow Penstemon, Phlox, Indian Paintbrush, Mule’s Ear, and more vibrant lovelies cover hillsides and meadows along the lakes. Knowing that these brilliant jewels have withstood storms without any tender loving care, and that they’re able to not only persevere through harsh weather but to actually flourish, is quite a lesson in resilience and an inspiration from nature.

Don’t forget your camera!

It Must be Spring

 

“…I waded out into the midst of the glorious field of gold. All the ground was covered, not with grass and green leaves, but with radiant corollas, about ankle-deep next to the foothills, knee-deep or more five or six miles out…Sauntering in any direction, hundreds of these happy sun plants brushed against my feet at every step, and closed over them as if I were wading in liquid gold. ~John Muir

A sure sign of spring here in the golden state is the brilliant show of our native California poppy (Eschscholzia, californica) blooms brightening hillsides, meadows, roadways and landscapes of all kinds. With delicate cup-like blossoms and feathery foliage, these colorful beauties start adding vibrance to our days in February or March and often last into June.

Glorious fields of gold, indeed!

Happy spring!


Gifts of January

Even though I know many folks are counting down the days until spring, I’m not quite ready for that yet. I’m still enjoying taking morning walks bundled up with a thick coat, gloves, hat, and scarf on. I’m making a cozy fire in the wood stove each evening and cooking hearty dinners. There’s more time to curl up on the couch under a soft throw blanket with a good book and a hot cup of English Breakfast tea or work on an indoor project.

Our winter has been mild so far and its highly likely that if we were having severe winter weather I very well would be wishing for the color and warmth of spring, but instead, I’m seeing gifts.

This month I’ve been appreciating the delicate beauty and peace that winter brings: intricate shapes of bare branches, patterns and colors of foliage, and the interesting elements of the various barks of trees. I don’t tend to notice these things so much in other seasons. I’m smiling over the winter blossoms of narcissus, cyclamen, snowdrops, pansies, primroses, and… in my book, the queen of winter blooms, daphne.

And if that’s not enough, just drop what you’re doing and go outside to take in the splendid sight of the full, blue moon tonight. Two full moons this month! Ahh yes, nature in any season is full of beauty and gifts. We just have to open our eyes.

 

 

 

 

 

Super Moon Hike

On December 3rd at 4:30 my husband and I joined about twenty eight other folks at Cronan Ranch in Pilot Hill for a hike to watch the super moon rise.  Led by a gentleman from the American River Conservancy, we set off on the West Ridge Trail, climbing our beautiful foothills. We all arrived with our guide at about 5:15 to a prime location allowing us to catch our breath and await the moonrise over the foothills. What a gift it was to watch the sun set as we hiked and then witness the only super moon of 2017 crest the hills and begin to ascend the skyline.

A super moon occurs when a full moon coincides with the perigee of the moon’s orbital cycle, and a perigee is the point at which the moon moves closest to the earth during orbit. The shorter distance makes the moon appear larger and allows it to reflect more light, thus looking brighter. This may be the only super moon of 2017, but January 2018 will offer two more: one, on January 2nd, and a rare “blue” moon on January 31st. Those dates will be here before we know it! The spectacular photograph below was taken off the internet as my own didn’t do justice to the incredible sight we had. Hoping you had a chance to admire the night sky last night too.

Finding Gold

“Summer’s loss seems little, dear, on days like these.”

~Ernest Dowson

On Sunday my husband and I took a break from our outdoor autumn chores and drove the one hour up to the Tahoe area to view the fall foliage. Leaves on our trees at home in the foothills are just starting to put on a show but we had heard that if we wanted to catch the foliage performance in the high sierras we’d better go sooner rather than later. Hiking boots and layers of clothing, a cooler filled with snacks and drinks, our beloved furry companion, check, check, check, and off we went. We chose to hike the new-to-us Cathedral Meadow, near Taylor Creek and a favorite area of ours, Fallen Leaf Lake.

We encountered a perfect fall day with blue skies and warm temps and a whole lotta golden groves of aspens glistening in the sunlight. Beautiful scenery and fabulous views of Mount Tallac all along the trail were free for the taking! I honestly can’t imagine that we could have timed it any better! If you’re in the area, go now!

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.

Meiss Meadows Trail

Near Carson Pass, on the north side of highway 88 is Meiss Meadows Trail. A few weeks ago we set out to hike one of our favorite areas but when we got to the parking lot we were surprised that it was still covered in snow. Yep, snow in July. We still plan to go back to that location, but decided to venture a bit further and to the other side of the highway and discovered Meiss Meadows Trail. The parking lot  to the trailhead wasn’t under snow even with the starting elevation at 8200 feet. That was a good sign!

Though this was not our first choice for hiking on this day, by no means were we disappointed. The views along the trail were outstanding.
Hillsides full of Mule’s Ear, Indian Paintbrush, Forget Me Nots, Lupine, and Creeping Phlox had me stopping to take photos every few feet!Heart rocks and all of this wildflower beauty. These are a few of my favorite things! 
 Mountain beauty as far as the eyes can see.  I just may have spun around with my arms outstretched like Maria in The Sound of Music!Oh yes, the hills are definitely alive!

Short and Sweet

A short and sweet little break in nature was just what we were looking for. We had the joy of taking care of our eleven month grand daughter this weekend and were looking for a short hike to take her on in a new back pack. We figured we could take turns holding her if she got fussy or didn’t want to sit in the back pack, and decided to go to the Dave Moore Nature Trail near Coloma. We found it to be ideal for our needs.  It’s an easy 1.1 mile trail loop, very well maintained, with a canopy of oaks to provide ample shade.
The trail took up past this beautiful madrone tree,blackberry bushes, wild grape vines, some interesting rock formations, and lots of colorful wildflowers.
 And on we hiked, right to the south fork of The American River. Here we found a small beach to enjoy for awhile, before carrying on with the trail. In no time at all, we were back at the parking lot, just in time to give our sweetie a bottle and a snack. What a great hike for families with little ones, or anyone who wants a quick dose of nature.I’ll leave you with a little lichen heart along the way that brought a smile to my face. Hope it does the same for you too.

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!