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!
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!
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…
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!
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!
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!