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!

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?

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!

 

Glorious Hills of Poppies

“Let us dance in the sun, wearing wildflowers in our hair. ~Susan Polis Shutz
IMG_8607IMG_8620IMG_8622IMG_8649IMG_8610IMG_8612IMG_8643IMG_8635A week and a half ago we had the pleasure of going on a poppy hike facilitated by the American River Conservancy. The hike was on private property in Coloma which had spectacular views of the American River below us and hills of happy poppies everywhere we looked. Bill and Robin Center were so generous, leading groups of us on their trails, sharing their wisdom, and providing a delicious spread of appetizers and desserts afterwards under the shady oaks. Being surrounded by nature’s beauty in Coloma is something we won’t forget. We are so grateful for the experience!

Valentine’s Day Hiking

Sugarloaf Ridge State Park in Sonoma county was an ideal place to go for a hike on Valentine’s Day. The temperatures were in the 70s and the scenery was spectacular.

There are 25 miles of hiking trails within the park, and so many trails to choose from.
IMG_7799IMG_7802We chose a trail that was mostly shady and was right along a creek, one that would only take a couple of hours.
IMG_7814Look at all the beautiful Spanish moss draping from this tree!
IMG_7811IMG_7809IMG_7805IMG_7808IMG_7806IMG_7801The hike was just what we had been clamoring for, a bit of exploring in a gorgeous location. And then we were off to a late lunch in St. Helena. You know how hard it is to get reservations for dining on Valentine’s Day! IMG_7831We had to pull over and take some pictures of the exquisite views on our drive! Wow! Can you believe this is mid February?

Calaveras Big Trees State Park

“To the free mountaineer all the woods are accessible alike from the firs that girdle Shasta to the giant forests of the Tule; but the…timebound must follow ways and means, and I know of none better than those of Calaveras… a flowery glade in the very heart of the woods, forming a fine center for the student, and a delicious resting place for the weary.”

~John Muir

Three miles north of Arnold off Highway 4 stands the grandeur of Calaveras Big Trees State Park. This is the place where in the early 1850s the world first came to know about the Giant Sequoias, the largest trees on earth and native only to the western slope of California’s Sierra Nevada mountains.IMG_6556There are many trails to hike within the park, but on this beautiful but chilly day in mid November, we took the North Grove Trail, only about 1.5 miles long. We found the trail was covered with a blanket of snow and was even iced over in some locations.IMG_6489The largest trees here could be anywhere from 800 to 3,000 years old and can reach a height of 325 feet and a diameter of 33 feet. It truly is amazing to think of all that these trees have experienced in their years!IMG_6482IMG_6522 In addition to the Giant Sequoias in the park, Sugar Pine, White Fir, Incense Cedar and Ponderosa Pines exist alongside each other in the splendor of this mixed conifer forest.IMG_6517IMG_6477IMG_6479

Inspired by REI’s decision to close on Black Friday, Save the Redwoods League is sponsoring free admission to 49 participating California redwood state parks on November 27th. They invite everyone to experience the joy, renewal and inspiration found among the natural wonders of the ancient giant redwoods. To find out which state parks are participating and to download a free pass, check out the website above.

Happy Thanksgiving to you all and happy hiking on Friday.