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!We 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.Once 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.John 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.”His words are perfect. We found all of that and a whole lot of love!
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,branches of a tree that have grown together, creating whimsy,magnificent oaks to live in,heart shaped grape vine leaves, plenty of grapes, and wild blackberries,a heart shaped rock,and pretty wildflowers. Who could resist making their home right here surrounded by all of nature’s treasures?Open the door…
Wow! Special feathers, pebbles, and clear lids to use as stools.
A pretty painted rock,A peacock feather, sparkling jewels, stones for a path to the door, flower petals and a tiny little doorbell!Here’s a closer look. Open the door! Look how sweet!Here’s another little home.
And another!Someone’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
We recently shared a delightful morning exploring nature trails with our grandchildren at the wonderful Effie Yeaw Nature Center, located along the American River Parkway. Inside the nature shop were many hands-on activities that the children were engrossed in. Push a button and hear the call of a red shouldered hawk. See a display of natural habitats. That sort of thing. Also, living in the nature shop are a number of non-releasable (due to injuries, becoming orphaned, or having grown too accustomed to people) animals.
Resident birds include :
- a Northern Saw-whet Owl, Sophia (this was a highlight for the children!)
- a Great Horned Owl, Echo
- a Red-tailed Hawk, Tanner
- a Red-shouldered Hawk, Skye, and
- an American Kestrel, Rocky
In addition to the birds, there are reptiles, and amphibians on display.
Outdoors, well-marked trails meander through 100 acres of this nature preserve.
We had just gotten started walking on a trail when we came upon the deer. They’re obviously used to being photographed and gawked at!I must share that I have a love/hate relationship with these guys. To see them here was such a joy, but that’s not the case when I see them in my gardens at home, or the aftermath of all the damage they have done. I know they’re hungry and need to eat too; I just don’t want to encourage the chomping on my favorite flowers and foliage! Late last summer while shopping at the feed store, I noticed blocks of deer food. Standing there in front of the display, I contemplated buying a few blocks and placing them on some undeveloped acreage in our neighborhood. I didn’t, but I may in the future. I do use some deer deterrent products in our yard, that work well most of the year, but come late summer those pesky deer are eating everything.We followed a trail that led right down to the American River.
This crew must have been the official welcoming committee!There was so much to discover and admire as we walked along the trails, turned over rocks, climbed on some old tree stumps, and listened to birdsong. A great place to explore, learn and appreciate Mother Nature, for people of all ages.
“If you truly love nature you will find beauty everywhere.” ~ Vincent Van Gogh
Along Silva Valley Parkway in the El Dorado Hill’s Serrano neighborhood is a lovely, scenic trail within a nature preserve. It’s a surprising breath of fresh air in the midst of busy Silva Valley Road and Serrano Parkway. I found the trail to be well maintained with clear paths, markers, and foot bridges. Parking spots were plentiful at the El Dorado Hills library right across the street. My dog, Gemma, and I had the trails mostly to ourselves on this gray January afternoon as we walked along, discovering ponds, small waterfalls, wild life and many birds.The photo below shows the reflection of the tree’s branches in the pond water.
I couldn’t stop taking pictures of the stately, magnificent oaks. I would have loved to climb this one and sit reading a book all afternoon. See all the low swooping branches? Some of them nearly touch the ground.
Here’s another gorgeous old oak that I admired.As I approached the tree I noticed something special in the bark!Someone’s been making a tree fort in this one. And yep, here it is…even a heart rock along the trail! What fun!“In all things of nature there is something of the marvelous.” ~ Aristotle
With family members still in town the day after Christmas, we took advantage of a chilly but beautiful day to go birding along the American River trails. Well, we called it birding, but really it was a nature walk and we noticed not only birds, but majestic trees, brilliant blue skies, interesting bark, rocks and so much more. Come along with us.Can you make out the silhouettes of about ten vultures in this tree?
Oh yes, we had a few heart rock finds!Hard to see, but in the photo below, a white heron is hiding at the base of the tree on the left. You have to take my word for it!A tangle of branches.A nest, safely cradled!Along with many varieties of woodpeckers and water birds, we noticed lots of chickadees, and a deer couple bounding gracefully through the scenery (too quickly for me to capture with my camera).
Another fun find was a natural heart shape in the bark of this treeAnd speaking of hearts, mine was full with the blessing of a lovely morning out in nature with my dad, my brothers, Jim and Tom, and my dad’s dog, Keeley.“Keep close to nature’s heart… and break clear away, once in awhile, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.”