Saturday, August 5, 2017

8.4.17 ... Johnson Canyon/Donner Lake Rim Trail

Hike Details:

  • Elevation - 6400' up to 7630'
  • Location - On I-80, take the Donner Lake Road exit (not to be confused with Donner Pass Road), go north of the freeway to Billy Mack Rd and the trailhead parking is just up the road on the right.
  • Mileage - 6 miles roundtrip
  • Hiking time - 3 hours



I happened across the info for this trail while looking on a website for something else. I'd never heard of this hike, which is surprising because it's so close to the freeway and right in the area where I've done quite a few hikes. So I decided to try it out with a friend and it was a beautiful little gem! And a good, strenuous climb up to Donner Ridge with a lovely view of Castle Peak in one direction and Mt. Judah/Anderson Peak/Tinker Knob in the other direction across the freeway.

The only downside to this hike is the freeway noise for the first mile or so, but once we got up the canyon a little farther it wasn't nearly as noticeable. But being near the freeway is also an advantage sometimes when you want easy access (and cell coverage).

This hike can be described in one word: green! So much beautiful green everywhere and lots of lush ferns, thanks to the bountiful rain and snow we've had. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves...



(mountains in the distance, l. to r.: Tinker Knob, Anderson Peak and Mt. Judah on the far right)








(A view of Castle Peak)

Cute little hut at the top called "Drifter Hut"









As if spending the morning in the mountains wasn't enough, we ended the day with a visit to the temple--it's like visiting a spiritual mountain. So much peace and calmness are found there, just in a different way than being in the mountains. I go to the temple for much the same reasons I go to the mountains--read the poem in the side bar --> 




More information about Mormon temples can be found here.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

6.29.17 ... Bassi Falls ... it's my birthday so I'll hike if I want to!

Hike Details:

  • Elevation - 5,075' - 5,575'
  • Location - From Sacramento take Hwy. 50 East. About 20 miles past Placerville take a left turn on Ice House Road. Follow this road (very windy, but beautiful) for about 18 miles. (At about 12 miles is the Crystal Basin Ranger Station on the right--nice bathrooms, worth stopping!) Continue on until you cross a bridge over a creek. Big Silver Group Campground is on the left, and the turnoff to Bassi Falls is immediately across from it on the right. Take the turn, then when you reach a fork in the road, you can go left and drive up to within about a half mile from the falls. But we drove to the right and parked in a big open area where a trail headed down to the right towards the creek. It's about 2 miles to the falls from here, see the picture below with the sign.
  • Mileage - 4.5 miles roundtrip
  • Hiking time - 3 hours
I didn't make this map but it's pretty close to what we hiked. The green arrow is the turnoff from Ice House Road.

The trail pretty much followed the creek the whole way so we knew we were always headed in the right direction.
As you get close to the falls, the trail sort of disappears and you just follow the cairns and/or the sound of the waterfall over a field of granite.
We rounded the corner and caught a glimpse of the falls -- a wow moment! (even though it doesn't look so wow in this picture)
 closer...
 closer...
 Wow!
  video
(Hiking with these two means we're always laughing while we walk.)
Happy birthday to ME!!!
It's like this whole area has been designed by a professional landscape architect! Oh, wait, it has! The original Landscape Architect! And just for us, isn't that amazing?!
 We met up with another friend who was hiking here on the same day. She'd told me there was a way to get to the top of the falls. We followed a trail up through the trees on the left of the waterfall.
 But then got to these rocks that looked a little trickier to climb than what we wanted to do. I decided falling down a waterfall on my birthday was probably not the best way to celebrate. ;) Maybe next time?
 Birthday lunch with a view, perfect!
 Time to head back down the trail. So beautiful!
It wouldn't be a birthday celebration without some well-deserved ice cream! Yum!
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