Friday, October 17, 2014

10.17.14 ..... Loch Leven Lakes

Hike Details:
  • Elevation -5700 - 6900 ft.
  • Location - I-80 at Rainbow Bridge exit
  • Mileage - 6 miles round trip
  • Hiking time - 4 hours
  • Route - Take either the Big Bend or Rainbow Bridge exit off of I-80, the trailhead parking (with a bathroom, bonus!) is on the frontage road between those two exits and the trailhead is across the street.
  • Weather -Not too warm, not too cold, a little overcast, breezy at the top.
Let's get started!
So many interesting trees
 
Check out all these cool roots...
 And maybe it's just me, but I think it looks like the tree on the left is hugging the other tree, like he's saying, "It's okay, buddy, I'm here for you." :)
And just in case, we'll hug the tree too. :)
Lots of cairns to point the way as we scrambled over granite boulders.


 
 I was reminded of the story from the Old Testament about Samuel placing the "Ebenezer" (or stone of help) as a remembrance of the Lord's help in protection from the Philistines. Click here for the story. And this awesome talk from a BYU devotional address. And my favorite line from one of my favorite hymns, "Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing":
Here I raise my Ebenezer
Hither by Thy help I've come
And I hope by Thy good pleasure
Safely to arrive at home
 I love the rock cairns that previous hikers take the time to place for others to follow. But, more importantly, I love the help that God gives us every day, all the little signs and blessings and all the help and comfort, that make it possible to stay on the path and return back to Him.
A beautiful view back over the valley as we climbed up the first half of the trail.
 Love these hiking friends!
 We crossed the train tracks about halfway up the trail
And then we reached the lakes...
Nothing better than lunch in the mountains
We hiked up a rocky hill above the middle lake and found these fun rock sculptures
Sorry, we just had to do tree pose
This hike is always a favorite, I think this is the third time I've done it but the first time going this route. The other two times we parked near Huysink Lake and hiked in past Salmon Lake. The lakes are peaceful and beautiful, the trail is just hard enough but not too daunting, and it's close to the freeway for quick access. A great day!

    Friday, October 10, 2014

    10.10.14 ..... Hope Valley

    Hike Details:
    • Elevation - 7,000 - 8,000 ft.
    • Location - Highway 88/89 south of Lake Tahoe
    • Mileage - 6 miles
    • Hiking time - 3 hours
    • Route -We parked in the lot at Sorensen's Resort, but there's also a small amount of trailhead parking just West of the resort, or also in a few turnouts on the road.
    • Weather -Crisp and cool, but beautiful, sunny and perfect for a strenuous hike
    Yep, we're pretty proud of ourselves! :)

    After hiking here last year, I knew I wanted to come back again and try to catch the fall color at its peak. It's hard to predict exactly when that will be, but I think we hit it pretty close.
     We started at Sorensen's Resort (see link above), an adorable collection of cabins nestled among the trees, with a cafe that smelled delicious the minute we got out of the car. Tempting to just skip the hike and have breakfast! We were also greeted by these adorable and fortunately not-real bears. But, hey, we can say that we saw bears!
     This is the view looking up towards "Sorensen's Cliffs". That's where we're headed.
     Another view of the cliffs
     First the bad news about this hike...it's pretty darn steep! We got a heart-pumping workout for sure! The good news...there was something beautiful around every corner that gave us an opportunity to stop, take a breath and take a picture. And it was breathtaking!
     
    After the steep climb, we reached a fork in the road...
    This is one of those little life lessons...always pay attention to little signs along the way. We almost literally walked over and past this big stick arrow pointing the way to the cliffs. Duh! We were rewarded with these views...
     Love this serious rock cairn at the top (cairn: a heap of stones piled up as a memorial or as a landmark). Angie and I had a great hike, a nice lunch with a fabulous view and great conversation. I love hiking with a group, that's always fun, but it's also great to have one-on-one time and just have deep conversation about lots of different things.
    Another cool thing about this hike with just two of us...we both love photography, so we were always looking to find a good photo shot. Angie sent me some of her pictures, so it's interesting to see a side-by-side comparison, not for the purpose of comparing better or worse, but for seeing how we could both be looking at the same thing, but see it in a totally different way. (life lesson #2) I love it! Here are a few examples...
    Another perspective I love is that when you hike back down on the same trail, you often see things you didn't notice on the way up. (life lesson #3) 
     
    And just for fun...
    A little bit of photo overload, I know, but I can't help it because there's just too much beauty not to capture and share. Our last stop after the hike was walking across the road to the edge of the Carson River. Water is pretty low because of the drought, but still beautiful.

     I'll end with this--I happened to be reading this amazing talk by President Dieter F. Uchtdorf, "The Infinite Power of Hope" and felt like one of his statements fit perfectly with this picture. Just being out in God's beautiful creation gives me such a feeling of hope.
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