Monday, August 29, 2016

Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe #8 Near Marlette Lake

Variety is the spice of life.  Just as this saying holds true, variety in hiking, for me, is the key to continue onward and upward.  I can't tell you how many times we have driven past this trailhead over the course of 40+ years.   There's so much interesting history in the hills and woods of Reno/Tahoe so I'm almost embarrassed to say it took so long to begin hiking these trails!

This special hike was in preparation for our RV trip to Yellowstone and the Tetons near Jackson Hole, Wyoming.  We knew we'd encounter high altitudes, mosquitoes and probably bear!  So, we armed ourselves with our bear spray and repellent for bugs.  Okay, so we didn't see any bear on this trail to Marlette Lake, but the bug spray sure came in handy.  In fact, the mosquitoes were so bad we didn't complete the trail to the Lake.  The mosquitoes even bit through clothing!

All in all  the trail was a steady climb once you made the turn off away from the creek.   There's a lot of dappled shade along the trail which made it pleasurable instead of strenuous even though we climbed in elevation and were drenched in sweat from the steamy morning.  I'd love to revisit this trail in the Fall when the trees turn colors, the mosquitoes die off and when the temperatures are in the mild 60's or 70's.  I'm not asking for much, huh?

Now for some pictures!  The one above is called Spencer's Cabin (keeper of the cattle on the ranch).

 The easy part of the trail before elevation and switchbacks.

The branding symbol for the cattle ranch.

 Beautiful hidden meadows filled with mosquitoes!

Spooner Lake

Thursday, August 4, 2016

#7 Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe

July 3rd

Because it was the July 4th Holidays,  the planned trip to the Mount Rose summit trail was once again postponed!  By the time we arrived at the summit parking lot (before 8am) it was jam packed. We opted to take the easy trail less traveled...The Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Loop Trail, a meandering 1.2 mile loop.  To increase the mileage we continued on the North end to the campsites and also veered off the trail in some spots (but you didn't hear that from me) where you could get a bit of heart pumping climbs.

The trail is filled with wild flowers.  It's beginning to sound like a broken record, but this year the flowers in the forest and meadows are especially abundant!  I would almost classify this as a WALK instead of a hike....a beautiful walk in the woods and so close to home.  This Tahoe trail is educational and one of the best starting points for a high altitude jaunt at over 8800ft.

We've hiked this trail many times however, with the change of the seasons and the ever changing snow pack amount totals from year to year, the scenery never disappoints.

Stay tunes for the next hike to Marlette Lake area and in a later post
our hiking adventures in Yellowstone and Jackson Hole, Wyoming!

Monday, July 25, 2016

#6 Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe

June 25th

Today's hike has to be labeled "most scenic".  It's the "Tunnel Creek loop" of the Tahoe Rim Trail on the Eastern ridge of Lake Tahoe.  The actual length is about 23 miles ending up at Spooner Summit, but we chose to only do a portion (6 miles total).  You start in the Tahoe Meadows off Hwy 431 for a walk in the woods.  Veer to the right and begin an ascent which is not really strenuous but will get your blood pumping until you reach the highest point on the ridge (around 8800 ft).  You are immediately rewarded with one of the prettiest views and for the hike along this ridge the views are king!

It might be worth mentioning that this trail is frequented by mountain bikes also, however they are limited to odd number days only.   Even though hikers have the right of way we normally pull to the side to let them pass especially if they are headed uphill!  It has to be hard to gain your momentum on a bike.

The trail skims the top of the mountaintop and winds around through the forest so there's always a chance of welcome shaded areas.   You even pass over a few creeks along the way!  The trail is littered with car size granite boulders, occasional wild flowers and spectacular views at every turn.  

I will do this again in it entirety perhaps in two days, splitting it up near the Tunnel Creek cafe.

It's hard to tell from the picture but these sure look like mountain lion prints!

 Views of the lake

Beautiful meadow

Tuesday, July 5, 2016

#5 Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe


What a difference hiking shoes make?  No more smashing toes as I head down the trail!  I "tested" them out on the way to Dry Pond via the Thomas Creek trail recently.   We set out on a crisp cool morning on a trail off Timberline Road.  The trail runs parallel to the Whites Creek trail which also ends up at Dry Pond completing a loop.

If ever there was a "perfect hike", this would be it.  The weather was mild, the trail was a nice blend of strenuous climbing in spots, but mostly shaded, an easy meandering trail with many switchbacks.  It begins hugging the creek with plenty of places for an impromptu picnic.  In some spots it looks like something from the Shire with dried cave-like looking reeds.  Along the length of creek is an occasional mini waterfall, wildflowers including edible wild garlic.  It's easy to see why there could be deer, bear and mountain lions in this habitat.  Wildlife smorgasbord.  I just don't want to be their main entree!

At mile marker approximately 1.5 miles the trails says goodbye to the water and rises back and forth until you reach the summit or Dry Pond area.  Grab a seat on a downed log, relax, have lunch and take in the beauty.  There's plenty of it!  You can continue the loop back or just turn around and retrace your steps, which is what we did.

We will definitely walk this trail again.   I can't wait to return in the Fall, should be ablaze with color this year!

Lion, cougars and bears, oh my!

Cool pools

View of Truckee meadows from one of many switchbacks.

The summit - Dry Pond

Photo op

I know he wants to put his feet in the water!

Sunday, June 26, 2016

#4 Hiking Around Reno/Tahoe

AN ATTEMPT AT MT ROSE SUMMIT One of the highest mountain peaks in the area for hiking is Mt. Rose.  With an elevation of 10,776 it's definitely on the bucket list and the "big daddy" of accomplishment in this area.  The hike is roughly 9.6 miles total up and back.  About halfway there, Galena Falls tumbles down granite slopes, or so I've been told.  We made the attempt a few weeks ago, but after a mile or so, we were trudging (slipping and sliding) in snow.  Back down the trail we went only to pursue it another day!

Even the Tahoe Meadows were snowy and too muddy!  What's a hikeaholic to do?  Find another trail to walk/climb.  I'm not sure if we found an actual trail.  it looked like a service road used by the power company, but it would do, maybe?  We climbed this for awhile and stopped for a picnic lunch, once again in the snow.  As we began our return to our car we noticed some suspicious foot prints crossing the "trail".  I remember researching an article about what type of animals we could encounter accompanied by pictures of  their footprints.  Not from a bear; that's good.  But, not a rabbit or domestic dog either!  Hmm....looks like mountain lion!  

After that I spent most of my hike in hyper vigilance wishing I had eyes in the back of my head.  It was a bit unsettling!  We put in the miles (not really enough that day) but, the views around Lake Tahoe are so majestic....I never get enough!

View within a mile of trailhead

Snow covered trail already!

Elevation over 9000ft

Lake Tamarack over the ridge

Not much into selfies, but I needed proof I was there!

Assuming this was a trail.  There is a lone bicycle track.

Always looking for the view!