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!

 

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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!

 

 

 

What a Jacked Up Summer!!!

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….

 

The… OMG I Can’t Believe I Walked UP THAT Hike!

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.

Mt. Judah and Donner Peak! OMG!

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!