Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Oh hey there June 25th

I'll admit it, yesterday didn't start out too hot. Nothing like a good old shot to your self esteem to bring on the self doubt and pity. See I had pretty high hopes for my day, last year on June 25th I was in Sierra City having a blast.
Now why would I remember something like that? Just another small town near the PCT, an okay grocery store and the Red Moose Inn. But see last year I was hiking on the PCT and Sierra City happened to be where I spent my birthday. That was one fantastic birthday, and this year instead of being out hiking I was woken up with negative phone call and an unhappy start to my day.
So after letting my thoughts spin more and more into the land of self pity and frustration I gave up on sleeping and did the only thing I could think of to cheer me up. Ran to the mountains. And it was perfect, a strangely blustery day complete with light showers and lots of clouds. So while my night at work was much more sleep deprived than usual the peace of mind I bought myself for those few hours seemed pretty worth it. Thank the trail for what little sanity and humor I had last evening, it sure was a close call.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Friday, June 21, 2013

Bolinas Ridge

Okay lets face it, Reno isn't a particularly green place. I'm not talking recycling and save the earth green, I'm talking rolling green hills and canyons full of ferns kind of green. And yes there is some kind of green sagebrush and lots of trees in the foothills but I live in the desert now and most of the green here is pretty darn fake (lawns are not natural folks). So I was pretty excited when I decided to head down to the bay area for a few days. Visiting family and hiking where moisture is a regular occurrence was hard not to look forward to. Between the family visiting and work schedule I ended up with one day by myself to hit the hills of Marin.
I chose the Bolinas Ridge Trail, a great hike I've done a few times in the past that I always really enjoy. I ended up with about a 16 mile loop. Starting in forest canyons, climbing up to the Bolinas ridge line full of sweeping vistas and an occasional cow and then back to the forested creek walk that is the Cross Marin Trail. Whats not to enjoy?
This trail has the added bonus of being accessible by a short road walk, I love not having to drive to trail heads.

 Everything is in bloom and the berries are so close to being ripe!

 Then it was into the trees, I've missed redwoods.

 The turn of to the actual hike was about 2 miles into my walk.

 Forest and creek along an old fire road.

 Then it was climbing, its actually a pretty steep trip but with the shade its hard to really notice.

 The top is wide open and great. I got distracted for a good half hour by some early blackberries. So very delicious.

The grass is beautiful but I forgot how quickly the hills turn brown. For a few months in spring it is all bright green and amazing, although a bit of a mud pit.

After cutting down from the ridge its  another few miles on the cross Marin trail, the only really crowded section of the trail as it heads past all the car camping that is Samuel P Taylor Park. Then on to finish the loop. What an enjoyable way to spend and afternoon.
If you ever end of in Marin I highly recommend it, the best link for actual trail info I've found is this:

Now I'm back in the desert, enjoying the aspen and slightly cooler temps we've been enjoying. I've got some pretty high hopes for the next few months so cross your fingers on me not procrastinating myself out of any of my plans. 

Monday, June 10, 2013

To the lake

I braved the heat and went on a short hike only to have my legs feel like sludge and start sweating within about 2 minutes. Its been at least 100 degrees outside, guess summer is in full swing. So what to do when you want to be outside but also like not feeling like a parched raisin? Why water of course. Nothing like a lazy day at Tahoe to enjoy the people watching, mountains and afternoon thunderstorms rolling in.

I promise more adventures soon but I'm sure there will be at least a few more lazy days at the beach this summer.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Dardanelles Lake, eventually...

I had big plans for my lovely stretch of days off. First a few days visiting with the parents in South Lake Tahoe and then at least one epic day hike followed by a grand overnight.  Maybe into Desolation Wilderness or along the Tahoe rim trail, easy to get to and not much thought required was my plan. Details weren't important; I was just thrilled to have 5 whole days off.
Only one problem, I was exhausted. I work night shift and my first day off tends to just be a catnap and then me blearily wandering around until I get to actually sleep. Not usually the most productive day, but a day off nonetheless.  
So Sunday afternoon had me joining the Memorial Day weekend crowds in Tahoe, bursting with excitement, sleep deprivation and too much caffeine. The wrench in plans started on Monday, the problem was the rain. Now I love rain but given the option I don’t actually want to be cold and wet for hours on end and I thought, well hey, I don’t need to go adventuring every day right? So Monday became a make a fire, curl up on the couch and read a book type of day. A glorious day in fact, full of laziness and being lost in books, a favorite hobby of mine.
On Tuesday I woke to the patter of rain and quickly found myself making excuses for why I needed another lazy day. And so my hiking plans went out the window and I burrowed deeper into my book away from the cold and the wet, comfortable with my fire and down blanket. Wednesday came and I realized I needed to get my butt in gear; my glorious 5 days of vacation and adventuring were slipping away in a haze of procrastination and laziness. So I sat down and actually stared at a few maps, glanced at the weather and tried to make some vague plan. I needed to get back to Reno on the early side on Thursday and of course had no food (unless cauliflower, bokchoy and popcorn would feed me sufficiently for the next few days). Now I’m all for resourceful and lazy eating but that won’t cut it food wise, even on a short camping trip. So the grocery store was a must plus a few housekeeping things and suddenly it was 4 pm. What the heck, how does the day always do that?
So I decided on a super short trip, head out through the neighborhood, hope I could find a trail that I've been meaning to check out for ages and after 5 or 6 miles stop at a lake and enjoy being in the mountains. Worst case, sunset was around 8 pm so only needed to leave by 6 to get there in the daylight…

Well I managed to get out at 5:30, not exactly a shining moment as far as planning but at least I finally left right? The neighborhood of Meyers is beautiful and not the worst road walking I've done by any means. 

2 miles in I hit the first of a few turnouts and lo and behold there was a perfectly legible sign (that was not there last winter) telling me I was exactly where I had intended to be. 

Then it was a beautiful 3 or so miles climb up towards the Tahoe Rim Trail and up the valley. Full of mountain bikers (very polite ones I might add) and only one other person. Rockier the higher I got but in great condition. 

I was getting a little cranky as I worked out the kinks of hiking with a dog that has a brand new backpack of her own and my own fun of wearing my pack for the first time in a year. The sun was getting suspiciously close to setting when I reached the cutoff for Dardanelles Lake, a few pretty stream crossings and a mile or so later and I had my very own mountain lake to myself. Scrambling up the highest rocks I could find, enjoying the sunset and the views.

She was either bumping into my legs or stuck in a bush the first mile or so...

 I wrapped myself up in my sleeping bag and enjoyed the fish and ducks and loving that I was all alone, a huge plus to camping on weekdays. The night was long because my night shift brain had a tough time shutting off and I didn't sleep until very late, but the stars were beautiful and I had brought a book so no huge loss there.
Morning was a chilly pack up and go, I will admit I wasn't too sad that I didn't wake up knowing I had 25+ miles to go. 6 miles was a cakewalk for sure, a good start to the season.

who swims at 7 am?

looking towards Tahoe

and back on the road
Well I'm not going to lie and say I wish I hadn't gotten my act together and did a bigger trip but it was a good trip to shake off the dust and get me super excited for summer. The Christmas Valley trail connects to the Tahoe Rim Trail right near Round Lake (Big meadow is the closest trail head), its a slow climb from the valley floor mostly along a creek and not a bad little trail, definitely worth exploring. 

And one last note, I have to say a sad goodbye to my lovely spoon, I managed to not lose you for over 3000 miles of hiking and then upon eating my breakfast I discovered I had dropped you between the lake and my first trail junction. I suppose that’s what I get for sticking you in my pocket as I started to hike but I've done it hundreds of times before…