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A Bald Eagle – Good Omen!

Every year a group of friends gather their fuzzy horses for a ride on New Years Day in the Spenceville Wildlife area. And we see a bald eagle! Does that mean good luck for 2019?? I sure hope so! Take a ride with us!

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Learning new things – 2018 is Gone Baby!

Hello friends and Happy New Year!  When I look back on this past year, I think of what I accomplished and what I wish to accomplish next year.  I think the biggest thing for me in 2018 was climbing all those Sierra Peaks!  I made 12 trips to mountains as high as 11 thousand feet!  Yep, next year I hope to make it at least 15 if not 20!  I also plan on doing a back packing trip in the High Sierra in 2019.

I also decided to learn new things in 2018.  I started studying Geology, Astrology and a little Sciences of the Cosmos thrown in.  Hefty subjects, I KNOW!  But as my mind ages, I figure I better do some heavy lifting to keep it in shape. Rocks and stars have always intrigued me as I hike mountains and see ancient lava flows and look up at to the vastness of space on my ranch where there isn’t much light to obstruct the view of our galaxy.  Just what else us up there?  What the heck is going on down below?  I have so many questions!

And in the very end of this year, I am re-learning how to pencil draw. I’ve been painting in acrylics since 2012, but this year I thought I’d go back to where it all began as a high school student.  Pencil. I was so good back then, but for some reason, I stopped.  So, in the video below is a timelapse video of me drawing Legendary Actor, James Dean and the story of my re-learning something with something special thrown in at the end.

Have a Happy New Year, and I hope you do something you’ve NEVER done, or Re-learn something you used to do!

A Trip to Mars and it didn’t take a year to get there!

This year, during one of our (every few years )trips to the National Finals Rodeo week in Las Vegas, we decide to get a car and take a drive out to the fantastic Valley of Fire State Park! This gem is only about an hour out of town and well worth the drive! Even if you are unable to walk through this wild patch of earth, driving through the park and and stopping at the many vistas, taking in the wonders of our magnificent earth is (in my opinion) much more exciting than anything man-made on the Las Vegas strip!

Take a look at this link to get the full history of this park and landscape: https://www.valley-of-fire.com/

https://www.thoughtco.com/valley-of-f…

Peak Bagging- My 2018 year in Review

As I was training for a big Pacific Crest Trail section hike, I decided to see how many mountains I could get to the top of! The section hike was cancelled because of forest fires, so I continued to climb peaks. I hope to climb even more peaks next year! I have new goals!

 

Creeped out in the Woods. A hike to Martis Peak Lookout

This week we take a hike up to Martis Peak Lookout Tower that looks out over the Tahoe and Truckee Basin.  We encounter some very large bear and mountain lion tracks and get to play in the first snow fall of the year!

 

A “Swingin” Good Time above the Royal Gorge!

It’s November 1, and the snow still hasn’t arrived in the Sierra. Join the Foothill Hilers as we take a nice 8.5 mile hike on the series of trails owned by the Tahoe Donner Land Trust. These trails are spectacular and have just enough ups and downs to give you a good workout. The views are incredible! Don’t miss the swing at Point Mariah!

It’s thrilling to soar over the Royal Gorge on a little board tied to a pine tree!

Tahoe Donner Land Trust Site and maps: http://tdlandtrust.org/royal-gorge The track of our hike: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails…

 

Fire on the Mountain Scare!

With the morning temperature in the low 30s, it was a beautiful day to hike to the top of Mt. Lola located just down the road from Truckee CA.

We spot a fire, see some weird structure remains at the top, and get some awesome views!

This summer I probably did about 20 Sierra hikes with eight separate peaks hikes thrown in. I hiked some of those eight peaks multiple times with a total of 12 peak hikes!  At over 11K feet, Mt. Rose was the hardest for me.. but being stubborn, I did that one twice!
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Mt. LOLA

Named after local Gold Rush celebrity, Lola Montez, the peak formed by ancient volcanic mud flows 4 to 12 million years ago was used as a platform to survey the west by triangulation in 1878. The first time this was done in the world!
Using telescopes and mirrors aligned from the top of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lola and Mt. Helena the Coast and Geodetic Survey observed the longest triangulation line ever used on Aug. 1, 1878.

Rock structures and brick pillars remain at the top from that summer long ago when George Davidson stationed atop it sending a flash of light to the station on the top of Mt. Shasta.

More on Lola Montez here 

More on the the survey here

Thank you for watching my videos.. my labors of love!

I also have another channel where I give vocal lessons!

Check it out here! Jan Mendoza Vocal Coach

 

We are Fleas on a Dog.. but WHAT A DOG!

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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Fire Lookout Towers! Have you been to one?

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!