During all of my hikes over the Sierra the past few years, I’ve had soooo many questions about how and why things are the way there are, geologically speaking. I’d see a huge lava outcropping and I’d wonder when that got there and how? Was it blown to it’s current resting place from a distant volcano? Did it pop out of the ground from an ancient fissure? Just how old are the Sierra anyway?
I’m finally taking some time to seriously study Geology. I have some answers and my hikes are that much more interesting! This Earth has been evolving for 4.6 billion years and we’ve only been here 200,000 years of it. Heating up, cooling down, over and over again with many variations of life forms that have come and gone over the millions of years. Continents moving around, and still on the move. The Hawaiian Islands are moving in a Northwest direction about 4 inches a year! Eventually they will join up with Japan! Australia is moving Northward about 2.7 inches a year. All the plates are moving, some faster than others. Don’t believe me? Study Geology! I would love to drive to Australia.. Mountains pushing up and STILL getting higher. Think Everest is high now? Just you wait! What will be here a million years from now? Us? Something else? Nothing? Hmmm….. things I think about when I hike! Geology is COOL!
Today, we take a short hike up to an ancient lava flow plateau that was formed during the creation of the Sierra Nevada when the entire range was bubbling with volcanoes and molten lava being pushed up everywhere!! Here is some interesting reading about the Sierra.
With winter around the corner, the trees are singing their songs and a warning that a big change is soon to come.
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Many moon ago, I had the opportunity to be a fire lookout in Northern California. You can read all about it in my book Fire Girl. It was awesome to wake up to a 360 degree view from the top of a mountain. Back in the day, it was a lonely man or woman with a pair of binoculars perched high on a mountain top that spotted forest fires. There aren’t many working fire lookout towers any longer because of modern technology in spotting fires. The Service has made many lookout towers available to rent for a weekend, which I think is pretty cool. Unfortunately a lot of the towers are crumbling or have been completely torn down.
The design of this tower is pretty cool. I hadn’t seen one quite like this.
So let’s take a 4 wheelin’ and hiking trip to Pilot Peak in Plumas County in Northern California!
It’s been a horrible summer for a lot of people in California. Many homes lost, firefighters killed, thousands evacuated for days on end. My big PCT adventure is on hold as the smoke has choked out the Sierra and the Valley and my ranch! I’m so over summer….
For a couple of years now,I’ve been sailing around the world…..from my couch! I’ve been obsessed with a few YouTuber channels called Sailing LaVagabonde, SV Delos, Gone with the Wynns, among a few others have taught me all sorts of sailing jargon and terminology not to mention I get to visit places I’d probably never see in my life (in person).
I can tell you what “taking a reef” means… or What a Spinnaker is… or the difference between a Ketch and a Sloop and a slew of other random sailing facts.. but I’ve NEVER stepped foot onto a sail boat – EVER – in my whole entire life until last weekend!
I was nervous , excited, afraid I would puke (drugs worked) and I waited for two whole months for this day to arrive! Would I do it again??? HELL YES! So, here we go on my first sail from Richmond CA to Angel Island and around the San Francisco Bay thanks to “Captain Ed” who graciously took a group of six out for a glorious day on the bay!
The Sierra Buttes lookout tower was originally perched on top of this rock at 9000ft back in 1915! Can you believe it?
Over the years the original wooden structure was replaced by concrete and metal. In 1964 the crazy STRAIGHT UP stairs were put in place.
How the workers got up to the lookout before the stairs is beyond me as I can’t find any information or pictures of this lookout tower back in the old days!
If anyone has info and pics, please share!!!
This tower has been decommissioned and again, I can’t find any information on when they stopped using it. I guess I could call the Forest Service!
Anyway, this is a MUST DO hike. However… if you are afraid of heights, or have vertigo, you might not want to go all the way up on the crazy stairs. They are steep and I really had to concentrate on my footing and not look behind me as I went up! Going down wasn’t as scary.
This wonderful trail in the Northern California Sierra, with abundant spectacular views is a must-do if you traverse around Donner Summit. The trail starts on the PCT just down the road from Donner Ski Ranch. You then take the Mount Judah loop trail from the PCT. Don’t forget to hike up to the summit of Donner Peak while on your way around and look out the “window” onto Donner Lake! WOW!
Even if I’m doing an easy 5 miler in the high country, I always carry the 10 essentials and MORE! After having to almost spend the night in the high country completely unprepared after a short little hike to a lookout tower, I learned a hard lesson! I know carry items to sustain me in the wilderness for a couple of nights until help arrives.
Disclaimer: This is what I carry. You may have different ideas! I’d love to hear them!
Here is the link to the fiasco I was involved in a couple of years ago where I almost had to spend the night in the freezing cold!
Mount Harkness Story
Emergency Bivvy Bag: https://amzn.to/2ykuwyS
Sawyer Squeeze Water Filter: https://amzn.to/2tbtCyV
Small Gerber Knife: https://amzn.to/2t0wTlz
Light folding Saw: https://amzn.to/2HSFVWj
Tyvek Sheet: https://amzn.to/2HSVIo6
Personal Locator Beacon: https://amzn.to/2HRqIos
Bug Head Net: https://amzn.to/2lbOtyv
Anker Charging Station (20,000 mil Amp) https://amzn.to/2l9Nwa5
Butt pad: https://amzn.to/2t1aS5Y
Cooling towel: https://amzn.to/2LPw2Lt
GPS Navigation that I use with my phone:
Guthook for PCT: http://www.guthookhikes.com/apps
Halfmile for PCT: https://www.pctmap.net/
Peak Finder: https://www.peakfinder.org
Loney Meadow and Bowman Mountain are located in the Northern Sierra in Nevada County California. This 8 mile look is abundant with spectacular views, wildflowers, old growth pine forests and is probably in my top 3 favorite places to hike!
Here is the link to where we hiked.
Bridgeport in Nevada County California is a hidden gem of Northern California! If you are into gold rush history, you are gonna LOVE this place! Just up Hwy 20 near Penn Valley, you can make a day of meandering the hills on the various hiking trails, looking at the cool historical exhibits, swim in the river and have a nice family outing!
It just costs $5.00 to park! What a deal!
And the best part is the awesome covered bridge that is the largest standing covered bridge in the world!