Monday, June 30, 2014

6.30.14......Sierra Buttes Fire Lookout

Hike Details:
  • Elevation - 8,857 ft.
  • Location -north of Sierra City, up above Packer Lake
  • Mileage - 5-6 miles
  • Hiking time - 4 hours
  • Route - see map below, from Hwy. 49, turn onto Gold Lake Hwy, then follow signs to Packer Lake, when you reach Packer Lake, take a left at the Y intersection to continue up the single-lane paved road to the trailhead
  • Weather - a little on the toasty side -- it was over 100° in the Valley, so we were happy to be out of that, but by the middle of the afternoon it was easily in the low 90's up where we were
This will be one of those posts with a TON of pictures (I took my "big" camera because I knew it would be worth the weight), though pictures will not do justice to the incredible scenery and views from this hike! But here goes...

Friday, June 20, 2014

06.20.14.....Martis Peak

Hike Details:
  • Elevation - 8,714 ft.
  • Location - near Kings Beach, CA, turn East off of Hwy. 267 onto Martis Peak Road (unmarked), which is about half a mile north of Brockway Summit
  • Mileage - 7 miles
  • Hiking time - about 2 1/2 hours
  • Route - map and information below
  • Weather - sunny, warm day here in the valley and just as nice up in the mountains, a light breeze at the top that cooled us off in the shade, but we were pretty warm coming down by about noon
I was able to create this map using It has some pretty cool features and made a great map for us to follow.

Because we had a shorter time frame, we drove about a mile up the road to connect with the Tahoe Rim Trail, so that shaved the round-trip mileage down by a couple of miles. From there the trail was easy to find and well maintained the whole way. 
Gina and I had a great time catching up as we power-hiked -- she let me try her hiking poles but I think I need a little more practice to not feel so uncoordinated.
Every once in awhile on the way up, we got glimpses of Lake Tahoe, but it wasn't until we got closer to the top that it came into full view.
But even without the view, the trail is beautiful as you pass through numerous meadows of fragrant mule's ear wildflowers.
The summit and lookout at Martis Peak aren't visible until you're almost literally right on top of them.
Somehow I didn't get a closer picture of the outside of the lookout, but I was obviously impressed by the fact that there was a bathroom at the top. Best view from an outhouse ever!
And the view from the lookout was pretty spectacular!
I loved the inside walls that were marked with all the surrounding peaks and landmarks. So helpful!
No reservations required for the best table with the best view!
Words and pictures don't really do justice to the beauty of this area, but it reminded me of a verse in the hymn, "How Great Thou Art". Every time I go out hiking, whether it's on a mountain top or along a river or even just at my neighborhood park trail, I feel so incredibly grateful for this beautiful world that God has created for us to appreciate and enjoy, so I hope this little video of the rest of the pictures conveys some of that feeling...

Friday, June 6, 2014

06.06.14.....Quarry Trail-Auburn

Hike Details:
  • Elevation - 600-800 ft.
  • Location - Auburn State Recreation Area - we parked in a lot that required a $10 fee, but there is often parking along the side of Hwy 49, just be careful around the curves
  • Mileage - 7 miles
  • Hiking time - 2 hours
  • Route - map and information here
  • Weather - a beautiful, sunny morning - we hit the trail by 8am and were home by about 10:30 or 11:00, it was just starting to get toasty on the hike back
The trailhead starts just east of the confluence of the American River, parking is in a lot on the left side of the road right after the bridge and follows the Middle Fork of the American River. I'm glad we left early in the morning because it was already feeling like a very warm day. We hit the trail at about 7:45am.
About 1 1/4 mile up the trail are the remnants of an old limestone quarry and some picnic tables overlooking the river. This would make for a nice, easy family hike, picnic and frolic in the water.
Behind those bars is a cave called Hawver Cave. There were paleontology finds here in the early 1900s but now it's all locked up.

 Because of the drought, I wasn't expecting to see so many wildflowers, but they were everywhere.

I think these are "vetch", in the sweet pea family. Probably an invasive weed, but pretty nonetheless.

 We spotted four young deer running across the road.
 Back at the trailhead, near the Foresthill Bridge. It was a beautiful hike and perfect for a quick morning outing. In the heat of the summer, this wouldn't be my first choice unless you're planning on getting wet in the river. But any other time of year it's great.
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