Friday, January 30, 2015

1.30.15 ..... Michigan Bluff

Hike Details:
  • Elevation - started at about 3500 ft., then went down to 1800 ft. and back up again!
  • Location - near Foresthill, Tahoe National Forest
  • Mileage - 5 miles
  • Hiking time - 3 hours
  • Route - Take the Foresthill Rd. exit from I-80, then just past the town of Foresthill turn right on Michigan Bluff Rd.We parked on the side of the road right when it dead ends in the little "town" of Michigan Bluff.
  • Weather -beautiful, amazingly warm for a January day
(thanks to Rachelle & Misty for sharing pictures!)

My favorite kind of hike is to climb up, then come back down, like you typically do up a mountain. This was not one of those trails because we started out going downhill, stopped at a creek, then turned around and came back up. This trail was worth the hike up and out though because it's such a beautiful area. This is the view from the top looking back over the American River Canyon.
This trail dates back to the Gold Rush when miners would travel between small settlements. It's always amazing to think about the incredible effort it required just to get from one place to the next in those days. And now we do it for recreation. :)
This trail is also now part of the Western States Trail and the 100-mile Western States Endurance Run (for crazy people!). 

I probably should create a tag for "sun flare" because I obviously like it a lot...

We passed by a big section of rock--or what we thought was rock. Well, some of it was, but then we looked closer and realized some of it was petrified wood or very rock-looking wood.

Can you tell which is which?


 
 
 

We got to the bottom of El Dorado Canyon to this beautiful little creek. Perfect spot for a snack and a rest before the inevitable uphill climb.
 
 

Yay for Rachelle for being brave enough to set the timer on her camera and then dash over the rocks to get in the picture!

A much easier photo spot...

Then we noticed things moving on one of the posts...

Ladybugs! Thousands and thousands of ladybugs covering the branches and logs nearby!! A ladybug party!
 
And then there were a couple of little side trips before and after the hike -- my friends quickly found out about my obsession with cemeteries. And the two cemeteries in Foresthill are really cool ones dating back to the Gold Rush era, filled with beautiful headstones, great wrought iron fences and really unique sculptures.
 The light was hitting this one in just the right way to give it this cool glow...

We were struck by the inscription on the bottom of this one showing every year, month and day of Sophie's life. She died at such a young age and I can only imagine that her husband was heartbroken. Such a good reminder that every day of our lives matter! Use them wisely!

Friday, January 16, 2015

1.16.15 ..... Lake Clementine

Hike Details:
  • Elevation - not much
  • Location - Auburn State Recreation Area
  • Mileage - 7 miles
  • Hiking time - 2 hours
  • Route -We parked in the lot at the confluence, then we walked across the bridge on Foresthill Rd to the trailhead
  • Weather - overcast, a few sprinkles, but nice, brisk hiking weather :)
   The first real hike of the year! The weather looked a little ominous with gray skies and some rain as we headed up the hill, but once you're packed and ready to go hiking, might as well just enjoy it!
The sun never really came out much, but it wasn't too cold and was nice and brisk for hiking.
One thing we did notice though was all the GREEN!
Considering we're still in a drought, there was a lot of it! We felt like we were walking through an enchanted forest.And the water in this section of the river really is this unique turquoise color. I'll have to research and figure out why.
 We crossed under the Foresthill Bridge...
 
 We hiked for about 2 miles to get to Lake Clementine, which is really more of a wide river than a lake.
 It was SO great to get back out hiking again with these fun friends and get a little rest (while getting some exercise too!). This is one of the reasons I love hiking...

Friday, January 2, 2015

2015 Hiking Goals

I love making goals when the new year rolls around, when everything feels fresh and clean. It feels sort of like hitting the re-set button and starting over again. I always include some kind of goal for better health, but last year I also included a hiking goal -- to hike 50 miles in honor of my 50th birthday. Fortunately, I didn't specify whether it had to be all in one trip or not. Last summer was a crazy, busy one in our family so a multi-day backpacking trip wasn't going to happen. It was much more realistic to log 50 miles over the course of numerous day trips. Even that took some planning and scheduling, but I made it and did some great hikes! Probably my favorite one was the day after my birthday with this big group to Sierra Buttes Lookout -- it was awesome!
 And to get to drag along two of my kids was extra fun!

Now, on to 2015, hmm, what to do...I could add another mile and hike 51 miles for my 51 years, but nah. I "bagged" a few peaks in 2014, so I could do a few more of those. I'll probably do that anyway. But I've decided that I want to start chipping away at the Tahoe Rim Trail, which is the 165 mile long trail that completely encircles Lake Tahoe.  TRTA 025 KL
So my goal for 2015 is to hike one of the segments of the TRT (most segments range from 16-23 miles each). Not sure which one I'll do yet, I have to do some research and it will take some planning to figure out shuttling at the trailheads. But there you have it, that's the goal for 2015! TRT, here I come!

Thursday, January 1, 2015

1.1.15 ..... Folsom Lake

Hike Details:
  • Elevation - not much
  • Location - Granite Bay entrance at Folsom Lake
  • Mileage - 3+ miles
  • Hiking time - should have been just an hour or so until the saga of the lost phone (see below)
  • Route - meandering along the lakefront for a couple of hours :)
  • Weather - Chilly but sunny and beautiful
  • Hikers - the VW family
 Hey, let's go for a hike, I said. It'll be fun, I said. It's beautiful outside, I said. It's New Year's Day, time for new resolutions, I said. So after a little bit of motherly nagging and nudging, they agreed. :) Plus I wanted to try out my new little daypack my daughter got me for Christmas from REI. Love it!
 We decided to head over to Folsom Lake, just a short drive away and check out the water level (low!). We ended up buying the State Parks annual pass so I'm excited to check out more parks and hiking trails. We parked at the Granite Bay park entrance and just walked along the shoreline and around numerous points.
 My kids being themselves

 We stopped after a mile or two and decided to play a game in the sand -- Conquer the World. The boys had played it in Scouts and even though Hannah and I were reluctant to participate since it involved throwing a stick at your opponents, it turned out to be a super fun game. Here are the basic rules:
  • Draw a big circle in the sand and divide it into pie pieces based on how many players.
  • Each player stands in their section, while one of the players takes a small stick (driftwood is perfect because it's lightweight so hopefully no one gets maimed) and tosses it into the section of another player.
  • Everyone runs as far away as possible while the person who has the stick in their section has to hurry and grab the stick and yell "STOP" or "FREEZE".
  • That person then throws the stick at one of the other players who is either the closest or whose section they want to try to take over. (no head shots, aim for the legs) The person being hit has to keep their feet planted but can move their body to dodge it if they can.
  • If the thrower hits the person, they get to use the stick while standing in their own section and carve as much of the other person's section to take as their own. (use your feet to erase previous lines) It's sort of like Risk but with sand territory. Then they get to throw the stick into someone else's territory.
  • If the thrower misses, then the person they tried to hit gets the stick and throws it into someone else's territory.
  • Object of the game is obviously to take over everyone else's territory, eliminating them one by one.
It was a fun way to get a little more exercise!

Then we headed back and were just about to the parking lot when H. came to a terrible realization -- she couldn't find her cell phone! Oh no! So much for the not hiking very far. H. and I retraced our steps while Dad and the boys went to get the car and drive closer to the sand area where we'd played the game. No luck there. I said a quick prayer, as I'm sure H. did since she'd have to pay out of her own pocket to replace the phone. We met up with the boys and continued searching our trail. S. had the smart idea to look specifically along the trail where it was softer sand, reasoning that the phone would have landed there without making a sound. Bingo! He found it after just a short bit of looking. Hallelujah! All's well that ends well, especially for H.
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