Tuesday, June 28-Mountain Biking and Baldwin Beach
Today the forecast called for scattered thunder showers. We didn't want to take a chance on hiking in case we got stuck out on a trail in the middle of lightening strikes. Instead Anthony, Austin and I wanted to share the bike ride experience we had earlier in the week with Alex and Mario so we headed back down to S. Lake Tahoe. The weather was blustery and there was definitely a storm moving in; the weather made the easy bike ride seem dramatic and filled with fun adventure. To add to the fun the boys decided they wanted to try riding a tandem bike. THAT was a cause for much laughter as all four of my head-strong men tried to figure out how to work in unison to keep the bike upright and moving forward.
The path takes you through the Tallic historic site. This is one of the pretty rock gardens found there:
I saved most of my photo-taking for the drama that was found at Baldwin Beach, in the shadow of Mt. Tallac.
At first I thought this was an osprey but when I downloaded the photos I took a closer look and think this is one of the many bald eagles that are known to nest in the region
THIS next photo is going to be my new, "I need a zen moment" photo! Whenever I'm feeling stressed, or anxious I'm going to take a deep breath, look at this photo and....REMEMBER!
Monday, June 27, 2011-Marlette Lake
Marlette Lake was created in the summer of 1872 when DL Bliss and HM Yerrington, co-owners of the Carson and Tahoe Lumber and Fluming Co, constructed a dirt-fill-and-stone dam across Marlette Creek. From the dam water was diverted into a flume and traveled via an extended flume system to provide water to Virginia City. Today, this beautiful lake is a premier trout lake and the flume trail is a world-class mountain bike trail.
We had hiked this trail once before. I remembered it being a difficult, long hike but worth the effort because of the beauty of the lake. We took a chance that the trail might be open all the way to the lake, packed a lunch and headed out. There was some scattered snow on the trail at the higher elevations. When we reached the saddle which held the path down to the lake we did have to negotiate quite a bit of snow but we were able to manage it because the lake was in sight and we had taken this hike before so there was not a worry that we would lose the trail under the snow. The climb down through the snow was challenging, filled with slips, steps through melting snow into gushing, muddy water and a couple of tumbles, head-first into the snow. It was a little bit crazy!
It was well worth the effort as once again the beauty of this lake does not disappoint!
We found a warm spot on the rocks, took off our wet shoes and socks so that they could dry, had ourselves a picnic lunch and then took short naps. We were the only ones at the lake. You could hear the birds calling and the wind blowing through the trees. The boulders radiated the warmth absorbed by the sun. Drifting off for a few minutes rest and then waking to the beauty before us was such a wonderfully relaxing way to spend the day!
Check out Tramp in the background. His new favorite game is to roll around in the snow like a crazy-dog. He was cracking us up.
Oh my goodness, what in the world has happened to my "babies?!!" There is NO denying they are growing up....and I'm looking like a shrimp!
Heading back for the long, long, long hike home! This is an 8.5 mile hike round trip. Even though the return trip is mostly downhill by the end of the trail we were ALL really ready for it to be done. I was feeling a bit discouraged about having to climb up over all this snow when Mario turned to me and said, "Look my principessa, who put all this snow here?" What a silly, sweet man; he knows how to use humor to keep me going!
This is a view from the trail on the return hike back to the car. At the turn of the last century this area was heavily clear-cut for lumber. That made room for all of the beautiful aspen groves that are now found in this area. I so want to figure out a way to come up here in the fall to see these hillsides turn shimmering, quaking gold.
Sunday, June 26, 2011-Alex Arrives, Beach Day
Mario got up early this morning and headed down to Reno. We are so excited that ALEX IS COMING! For the past several summers Alex has not been able to join us on our summer vacations because of summer work schedules. But this year he was able to get a week off. It does this mom's heart good to have her whole family together!
The weather was gorgeous and we decided to have a mellow day on the beach.
Saturday, June 25, 2011-Loch Levan Lakes Trail
The winter of 2010-2011 was a long one for the Sierra-Tahoe region. The first snow fall began on October 5th. Storms came in often, with an abundance of snow through the entire winter season. The very last snow-fall of the season occurred June 1st! All of this has meant that the snow pack is still thick in MANY areas and much of our normal hiking activity has been curbed because the hiking trails are not yet open.
Up until today this has been a working vacation for Mario. While the boys and I have enjoyed a week of playing in Tahoe Mario has been working out of a local Wells Fargo office each day. Today marks the official beginning of Mario's vacation. The boys and I were so excited to have him join us on our adventures!
When we decided on what hike to try today we turned to my well-worn hiking trail book and chose the Loch Levan Lakes trail because the description read in part, "The Loch Levan Lakes provide hikers itching for summer an early-season opportunity to reach a trio of picturesque lakes nestled into a granite basin."
The trail is located north-west of Truckee near the Tahoe-Donner Pass. My trail book went on to say, "A low-elevation trail by Tahoe Sierra standards the Loch Leven Lakes Trail is usually snow-free by mid-June."
This old wood sign is all that delineates the start of the trail.
The trail begins over a shrub and boulder covered hillside of exposed granite slabs and widely scattered conifers.
About 3/4 of a mile into the hike you reach this small pond:
Beyond the pond we crossed another stretch of shrubs and granite slabs before dropping through another forested section to a bridge that crosses an alder-lined creek and then.....
The claims of my hiking book were proved false and we were stopped cold by a still-thick snow pack. The boys tried to find their way to the top of the hill and reconnect with the trail but the snow was simply too thick and there was no way we would be able to follow the trail. So, we found a spot along the thundering creek and the roaring waterfalls created by the snow-melt and ate our lunch. Even though the the snow did not allow us to reach the lakes we still delighted in the beauty of this day.
When presented with the opportunity to kick-off your shoes and place your feet in freezing-cold snow melt my boys simply couldn't pass up the opportunity!
They played a game of will-seeing who could stay in the water the longest.
This has definitely been our Tahoe summer of "Falls!"
On the hike back we had a beautiful view of the Tahoe-Donner Pass. I can't imagine negotiating this area in wagons!