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!
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.
We live right next to Beale Air Force Base! Our property is just outside the back gate! Living next to an Air Force base can be weird at times. We hear all types of strange announcements over the loud speaker, weird sirens, and see odd planes coming and going. There is also a gigantic over-the-horizon radar structure that we immediately get asked about by friends who come over for the first time. The radar was built in the Cold War to give early warning of a nuclear attack. I guess that’s a good thing? When we first moved in 18 years ago, we couldn’t use our VCR or analog answer machine without hearing pops and static over our movies and messages because of this radar!! Thank goodness we are all digital now! However, it still interferes with some of my recording equipment and camera microphone on certain days.
The military has its secret,s and when they are your immediate neighbor, it spurs your imagination and sometimes paranoia. I can’t just go walking up to their door and say “howdy neighbor what’s going on here” without a large – fully automatic rifle pointed at me! I better have good reason to be there!
A few years back, there were 5 large planes from the base that circled our neighborhood at about 2000 feet for several hours every night! These planes carried a crew of six and were outfitted with equipment to listen in on phone conversations. We were told they were just training and not really listening to us.. hmmm…….
Our neighbor also has the U2 Spy plane that takes off like a rocket daily, flying to foreign lands to see what’s going on. The U2 can go check out the happenings in the middle east and be home by dinner! When it takes off, we can hear it climbing to its 70 thousand foot cruising altitude for a good 15 minutes! The pilot has to wear a space suit! Oh and our neighbors have a really REALLY cool drone called the Global Hawk!
Today our mysterious neighbors invited the public to enter this secret-mysterious land and treated us to an airshow free of charge!
With the Sutter Buttes as a backdrop, the show was pretty spectacular! If you are into airplanes, you are gonna LOVE this video!
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Alex and I have been going to Yosemite for many years during the fall. The crowds are gone, the colors are amazing and we can camp right in the Valley with pretty much last minute reservations! We have NEVER been there in the Winter.
So this time, Alex (my hard working husband) treated us to a room at the Yosemite Falls Hotel for two nights in the Valley… a little pricey, but way worth it in the Winter.
Chains were required unless you have 4 wheel drive with snow tires.
And Yosemite didn’t disappoint! We got a show of epic proportions! I wish we could have stayed longer, but at 288.00 a night, well, yeah… you get the picture.
OH And make this video FULL SCREEN! You need to see this BIG!
On this episode of TwylaWorld, Alex and I jump in a 172 SP and take off out of UC Davis airport to make an hour flight up to Redding CA. We met up with some long time friends and had a great lunch.
The air was smooth, there was hardly anyone flying so the radio chatter was pretty dead and we couldn’t have asked for better weather in December.
Many years ago, I worked at the little airport we flew into. (Benton) I booked the charter flights, rented airplanes and scheduled student flights. I was the Hertz Rental car agent, I arranged for the fueling of aircraft, and I did some bookkeeping. It was a crazy busy little airport during this time and I also gave runway advisories to incoming aircraft as the Unicom operator!