Skunk Harbor

No, I can’t answer why this particularly gorgeous hike to a secluded beach with crystal clear waters is called Skunk Harbor.img_1373All I know is that just two weekends ago, my brothers, my husband, and I hiked this winding trail, located on Highway 28, just two miles north of Highway 50, down to this dazzling, yet serene beach.

Hike about a mile and a half down the trail and you’ll come to a fork in the road. Going left leads you to Prey Meadows and veering right takes you to Skunk Harbor.

Look at these striking views you’ll take in!img_1369img_1368img_1700img_1366img_1392img_1393img_1462Close to the shore we came upon this old stone building built by a wealthy San Francisco family who used it as a secluded picnic pavilion in the roaring twenties! Oh, if these stone walls could speak what stories we might hear!
img_1377img_1382img_1381img_1379Brilliant blues!img_1378Beautiful cove, beach and views!img_1460No skunks!

As I write today I am reminded how quickly the fall season passes. On the recent day of our hike, we enjoyed warm temperatures and didn’t even need the sweatshirts we had packed. Watching the evening news tonight I learned that the high temperature in the Skunk Harbor area today was 38 degrees. It may get a dusting of snow tonight. Back at home it’s pouring rain, and our trees are completely aglow with the costumes of autumn’s finery. Another two weeks and the trees may be bare. I’m making sure to get outside and soak up all of the glory this short season offers. Wishes to you for a lovely autumn season.

Let’s Take a Walk

The sun is rising; birds are singing their finest songs. C’mon, let’s take a walk. We’re on one of the nearby trails that I use regularly. IMG_8208This is my sweet girl, Gemma, who accompanies me on my walks. Isn’t she beautiful? Beautiful and gentle with children, a wonderful protector, and the best ball retriever you’ll ever meet!IMG_8206Everywhere I look there are things to marvel about. Notice the shape of this graceful oak’s branches.IMG_8214And the vibrant greens of the moss and ferns growing on this large rock.IMG_8209This touched my heart and put a smile on my face. Here’s a memory bench that I’ve walked by every week, but today, dozens of pastel colored tulips planted behind it on the hillside are blooming and brightening everyone’s day! IMG_8204I didn’t know this woman, but I know she was so loved.IMG_8212So lovely! Such a special tribute.IMG_8202This area of the trail is in a lot of shade and is still wet from rains we had three days ago.IMG_8210IMG_8128Did you see the nest cradled in the tree branches in the photo above? And just look at all the newly unfurled spring leaves. I hope the nest is full of eggs. I’ll have to check in regularly as I walk by.IMG_8124A few miles in the freshness of the early morning… I can’t think of a better way to start my day. Thanks for coming along.

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.

 

Day Hike at Echo Lake

Ten miles south of Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada Mountains lies one of our favorite destinations for local hiking and snowshoeing. This jewel is Echo LakeIMG_5191IMG_5198Just look at this view of every shade of green. Isn’t it breathtaking?IMG_5206Nestled in between granite peaks and towering trees, this glacial lake in the Desolation Wilderness sits at an elevation of 7414 feet.
IMG_5220Surrounded by nature’s infinite beauty, we easily found tranquility from a stressful world, hiking the 2.5 mile trail that runs parallel to Echo Lake and then back again.
IMG_5218IMG_5214And if things couldn’t get any better, we came upon this surprise!IMG_5230Then this!IMG_5223So many gifts in front of us.IMG_5226 I put this little heart treasure in my pocket to take home with me! A lovely souvenir of this wonderful September day.