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More fall hikes

Usually this area has a short, almost non-existent fall. But this year, the weather has been amazing! We’ve been able to enjoy the colors of fall for several weeks now and it’s been so fun!

Friday we went for a hike near Fallen Leaf Lake, into Desolation Wilderness and enjoyed the beautiful area with our family.

Posing for a family photo at the end of the hike

On Sunday we hiked Echo Lakes and couldn’t believe how beautiful it was. The views of Upper and Lower Echo lakes were breathtaking. The air was cool and the yellow leaves looked like a painting. Our baby was awake for a big portion of the hike, just amazed at the beauty of God’s creation.

The three of us, looking at Upper Echo Lake

At the end of the hike – getting a bit cold!

Fall colors at Galena

Every year I love going to Galena Forest and enjoying the beautiful colors of autumn. So on Sunday my hubby and I decided to take our two-and-a-half-month old baby girl for a hike to White’s Creek-Jone’s Creek trail (if you’ve never done this loop, this is the time to check it out! Click here for more info about it). Our baby loved it! She was so amazed at the quaking aspen and the sound of the creek. With a little bit of wind, the leaves were falling like rain. She was just too excited!

 

Daddy – are we ready?

Time for a family photo!

Mom and baby Cielo enjoying the beautiful colors

Swimming and hiking with babies

Sometimes you think it’s too cold to swim in Tahoe before the end of the summer, but I have to say that’s not the case this year! It’s either because it’s been pretty warm for a few weeks now or because I’m nine-months pregnant and the big belly keeps me warm! In any case, my hubby and I have been going to Hidden Beach every weekend and enjoying the water as it has been warming up considerably from week to week.

This is me enjoying Saturday’s windy afternoon, trying to go for a swim in what seem to be like the ocean!

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On Sunday we went for a hike in the Donner area, we hiked Long Lake with our friends who are also expecting a baby this summer. The weather was just perfect — it rained for a little while and the rest of the time it was cloudy and cool (perfect for the girls). The views of the different lakes and the Sierras are amazing in this area. If you haven’t been there yet, you have to go check it out. Take I80 West to Soda Springs exit and explore Kidd Lake, Long Lake and much more!

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Hike to Marlette Lake is Worth the Effort

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Marlette Lake

Located high above Lake Tahoe, Marlette Lake is the picture of alpine lake beauty. Tall pines grow to the edge of the lake’s crystal waters, which reflect the rich, blue hues of the sky.

The lake is an extremely popular mountain-biking and hiking destination. In the 1970s, the dirt road leading to the lake and the path of an old box flume, which runs to Incline Village, was developed into one of the region’s first official mountain bike trails–the famous Lake Tahoe Flume Trail.

Bikers, however, aren’t the only folks welcome to visit Marlette. The main trail leading to the lake is also popular with day hikers.

Recently, we decided to hike the Marlette Lake Trail, which we accessed at Spooner Lake, part of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. After parking in one of the lots at the park (which is about ten miles west of Carson City via U.S. 50 and State Route 28), we easily found the signs leading to the trail.

The trail was fairly level for the first half-mile on North Canyon Road as we walked beside a picturesque meadow and into a forest of firs and pines. Within a short time, we passed a wooden park service cabin (to the left) and began climbing into the aspens.

Along the way, we crossed several small creeks, which made the road muddy in places as well as lots of beautiful wildflowers. The hike was moderately steep, mostly pleasant and largely shaded as we continued to climb higher (the 4.6 mile-long trail took us from 6,950 feet to 8,157 feet).

At the halfway point, we reached a fork in the road. To the right, we could hike about a mile (almost straight up the side of the mountain) to Snow Valley Peak, part of the Lake Tahoe Rim Trail. To the left was the path to Marlette Lake.

Since our destination was Marlette, we stuck to the main trail. Soon, we were walking parallel to a large meadow, which led to the bottom of a fairly steep incline that served as the final obstacle to reaching Marlette.

Mountain bikers know this final hill because of its steepness–and we saw many walking their bikes to the top. While it was only about a quarter of a mile or so long, the hill seemed much longer when we were climbing it.

At the top, we were rewarded with our first glimpses of marvelous Marlette Lake, which is another half-mile downhill. The walk to the lake through the trees was remarkably quick.

At lake level, we found plenty of spots for picnicking as well as places to just sit and enjoy the magnificent scenery.

While we weren’t going to be riding the Flume Trail, which begins at Marlette Lake, we saw a handful of bikers head to the trailhead at the southern end of the lake. They crossed a small bridge and began the descent on the narrow trail leading down to Incline Village.

It looked like fun.—-Richard Moreno

Jumbo Grade’s Spectacular Views

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Heading up Jumbo Grade

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Checking out rocks in Jumbo Creek

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Marvelous views abound on Jumbo Grade

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The last remnants of the Jumbo mines

The mining camp of Jumbo never quite lived up to its name. Optimistic prospectors hoped it would produce enormous wealth but it proved to be a pretty small producer of gold and silver ore.

In fact, these days, the real riches found on the road to the former camp are in the marvelous views of the surrounding region. The site of Jumbo is located two miles east of State Route 428 (East Lake Blvd.), above New Washoe City, via a rugged dirt road marked Jumbo Grade.

Jumbo was founded on the Ophir Grade between Washoe Valley and Virginia City in about 1907. For a few years, a small community of miners managed to eke out a living working the area’s mines. By 1921, however, any valuable ore had run out and Jumbo disappeared like so many other Nevada mining camps.

While Jumbo has an admittedly brief life, the drive or hike to the former mining community is worthwhile because of the views. Jumbo Grade Road, also known as Ophir Grade, rises above Washoe Valley and climbs deep into the Virginia Range before dropping into Virginia City.

During our recent hike along the grade, we found that the first half-mile is paved, as the road passes several newer houses. We came upon a dirt parking area that serves as the trailhead for hikers, bikers, ATVers and others heading up the grade.

After ditching our car, we began the trek uphill on a dirt road that parallels Jumbo Creek. About a mile and a half from the start of the road, the dirt track crisscrosses the creek, which is lined with thick vegetation.

At about the two-mile point, the road becomes rockier and, at one spot, we were forced to cross the creek, which has carved a fairly deep channel.

We continued on the trail, stopping to pick up interesting rocks and to admire the creek, which has a fair amount of water this year. About another half-mile or so we spotted mining tailing piles on the surrounding hillsides.

A bit farther, you can spot the large foundations of a mill site. Two large chalky-gray hunks of concrete and scattered pieces of metal and wood are just about all that remain of the Jumbo mines.

From here, the views, looking west to Washoe Valley, are spectacular. Slide Mountain stands high, directly across the valley, and you can catch glimpses of the sun dancing on the surface of Washoe Lake.

The road winds around the summit and at the six and a half-mile point, you can see the community of Gold Hill below, with the taller buildings of Virginia City peeking over the mountains to the north.

From there, the road skirts a large open pit mine that has long been abandoned before gradually descending to meet Nevada Route 341 at the Virginia City-Gold Hill boundary.

While the total mileage has been only eight miles, it seems a world away.—Richard Moreno

Donner Party Tragedy Memorialized

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Pioneer Monument at Donner Memorial State Park

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Nature Trail

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Murphy Cabin site

During a recent drive through the Sierra Nevada range on Interstate 80, I found myself thinking about the Donner Party tragedy, which occurred a century and a half ago.

Most folks know the basic facts: in April 1846, George and Jacob Donner, along with family and friends, set out from Illinois for California. Eventually 20 wagons and 89 people became part of the group.

The party set out in early November to cross the Sierra Nevada but became snowbound near the lake now named for them, which is just west of Truckee. Several efforts to cross the mountains failed and the party was trapped for months with little food.

When the first rescuers finally reached the Donner Party in late February, they found half-starved survivors and the remains of several people who had died from starvation. They also found evidence of cannibalism.

The last survivor wasn’t removed from the camp until April of 1847, almost exactly one year after the party had set out with such promise and optimism. Only 47 of the original 89 members survived the ordeal.

With that in mind, I decided to stop at the Donner Memorial State Park near Truckee. The park encompasses several former sites of structures used by members of the Donner Party, including the Breen and Murphy cabins.

The first thing you see at the park is the towering Pioneer Monument, located on the former site of the Breen cabin. The massive bronze sculpture was built between 1901 and 1918 to honor those who made the arduous journey on the California Trail.

The monument also provides some idea of the enormous difficulty faced by the Donner group. The base of the monument is 22-feet high, which represents the depth of the snow during the winter of 1846-47.

Adjacent to the monument is the Emigrant Trail Museum, which serves as a visitor center for the park. There, you can view a 26-minute video about the Donner Party and view displays about the history of the region.

A developed Nature Trail begins south of the museum and leads into the surrounding forest. In addition to winding through flora and fauna, the trail leads to the former site of the Murphy cabin.

The cabin was built against a large boulder, which formed the western side of the building.
It was a crude structure, about 25-feet long and 18-feet wide, with a dirt floor. Sixteen members of the Donner Party lived in the cabin for several months.

Just east of the trail is scenic Donner Creek, which is swollen from recent rains.

The park, operated by the California Department of Parks & Recreation, is open year-round and offers a variety of activities including cross country ski and snowshoe trails, both particularly popular at this time of year.

The park and museum are open 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. At the museum there is a $3 admission charge for adults, $1 for children. Cross country skiers and snow-shoers can obtain a day use park permit for $6. For more information, call 530-582-7892.—-Richard Moreno

Retracing the Path of the Historic V & T in Washoe Valley

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The Virginia & Truckee Railroad, which operated between 1869 and 1950, played an integral part in Nevada’s mining history.

While the best place to view Virginia & Truckee railroad equipment is at the State Railroad Museum in Carson City, it is possible to find other remnants of the historic rail line, which stretched between Reno and Virginia City.

For instance, at the north end of Washoe Valley it is still possible to uncover the remains of two train trestles, located about 12 miles south of Reno via U.S. 395.

Unlike present-day U.S. 395, which passes over a hill at the north end of Washoe Valley, the Virginia & Truckee route traveled through a narrow canyon that bridged Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley, the next valley to the north.

The entrance to the canyon is near the community of Washoe City, of which not much remains.

About a quarter mile from U.S. 395, we headed into the canyon and found the first trestle. The thick vertical wooden beams still spanned a small seasonal creek and rested upon a sandstone and slate foundation. No rails or ties remained on the trestle, but we could see that the railroad bed continued north into the canyon.

The canyon itself was intriguing. The walls were pocked and rough like bad facial skin. Walking through the narrow passage, the only sound we heard was the wind, which at times seemed to mimic a train whistle.

Another 500 yards or so was a second trestle. This bridge was more complete than the other, boasting a handful of vertical beams and horizontal ties. Along the banks of the creek that snakes down the middle of the canyon we could still make out the intricate stonework of the foundations. The bed continued through the canyon but quickly became impassable. From here, however, we could see the remnants of several other bridges located deeper into the canyon.

Scattered about the canyon were a handful of loose rail ties. After the railroad ceased operating, most of the rails were removed and sold. In many places, the rail bed was difficult to follow because of the thick growth of sagebrush, weeds, and grass.

The original V & T began carrying freight, gold and silver ore and passengers in 1869. The railroad was built to service the fabulously rich Comstock mines, taking ore to distant refineries and mills.

The V & T’s route eventually stretched from Virginia City, through the winding Carson River corridor, to Carson City and north to Reno. Later, a spur line was added to Minden and Gardnerville.

By the 1870s and 1880s, the V & T became informally known as the richest railroad in the world because of the enormous mineral wealth it carried out of Virginia City.

By 1938, however, Virginia City had long ceased to produce a sufficient quantity or quality of ore and the V & T line was discontinued from Virginia City to Carson City. The tracks were removed the following year.

In 1950, the V & T made a last run from Carson City to Reno and the remaining tracks were removed.

Still, despite the neglect and ravages of time, there is something special about seeing the trestles and reliving, if only in your mind, the glory days of the railroad that was once the richest in the world.—Richard Moreno

Retracing the Path of the Historic V & T in Washoe Valley

V&TTrail in WashoeVly1.jpgV&TTrail in WashoeVly2.jpgThe Virginia & Truckee Railroad, which operated between 1869 and 1950, played an integral part in Nevada’s mining history.While the best place to view Virginia & Truckee railroad equipment is at the State Railroad Museum in Carson City, it is possible to find other remnants of the historic rail line, which stretched between Reno and Virginia City.For instance, at the north end of Washoe Valley it is still possible to uncover the remains of two train trestles, located about 12 miles south of Reno via U.S. 395.Unlike present-day U.S. 395, which passes over a hill at the north end of Washoe Valley, the Virginia & Truckee route traveled through a narrow canyon that bridged Washoe Valley and Pleasant Valley, the next valley to the north.The entrance to the canyon is near the community of Washoe City, of which not much remains.About a quarter mile from U.S. 395, we headed into the canyon and found the first trestle. The thick vertical wooden beams still spanned a small seasonal creek and rested upon a sandstone and slate foundation. No rails or ties remained on the trestle, but we could see that the railroad bed continued north into the canyon.The canyon itself was intriguing. The walls were pocked and rough like bad facial skin. Walking through the narrow passage, the only sound we heard was the wind, which at times seemed to mimic a train whistle.Another 500 yards or so was a second trestle. This bridge was more complete than the other, boasting a handful of vertical beams and horizontal ties. Along the banks of the creek that snakes down the middle of the canyon we could still make out the intricate stonework of the foundations. The bed continued through the canyon but quickly became impassable. From here, however, we could see the remnants of several other bridges located deeper into the canyon.Scattered about the canyon were a handful of loose rail ties. After the railroad ceased operating, most of the rails were removed and sold. In many places, the rail bed was difficult to follow because of the thick growth of sagebrush, weeds, and grass.The original V & T began carrying freight, gold and silver ore and passengers in 1869. The railroad was built to service the fabulously rich Comstock mines, taking ore to distant refineries and mills.The V & T’s route eventually stretched from Virginia City, through the winding Carson River corridor, to Carson City and north to Reno. Later, a spur line was added to Minden and Gardnerville.By the 1870s and 1880s, the V & T became informally known as the richest railroad in the world because of the enormous mineral wealth it carried out of Virginia City.By 1938, however, Virginia City had long ceased to produce a sufficient quantity or quality of ore and the V & T line was discontinued from Virginia City to Carson City. The tracks were removed the following year.In 1950, the V & T made a last run from Carson City to Reno and the remaining tracks were removed.Still, despite the neglect and ravages of time, there is something special about seeing the trestles and reliving, if only in your mind, the glory days of the railroad that was once the viagra 25mg richest in the world.—Richard Morenouse levitra

Deadman’s Creek Trail Offers Nesting Birds and Cool Views

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The grave at Deadman’s Creek Trail.

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Hiking Washoe Lake’s Deadman’s Creek Trail.

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Marvelous views can be found along the trail.

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At the top, a gazebo looks out over Washoe Lake.

There is a grave at Deadman’s Creek Trail near Washoe Lake, located about 15 miles south of Reno. I’m not sure if anyone is buried there–or who it is–but there is a small wooden cross, flowers, and cards marking the site.

But the grave isn’t why anyone would want to visit Deadman’s Creek Trail, part of Washoe Lake State Park. The reason to seek out this easily overlooked trail is because it passes through a peaceful, little oasis of vegetation that borders a spring-fed creek before leading to a gazebo that offers some of the best views of the area.

Located directly east of the main entrance to Washoe Lake State Park, which is 10 miles north of Carson City, the trail doesn’t seem part of the state park because it’s on the other side of East Lake Boulevard from the rest of the park.

The trailhead, which is marked with a wooden sign, can be found adjacent to a small, paved parking lot. After passing the mysterious gravesite, the trail winds through the bitterbrush and sagebrush for a few feet before crossing a small wooden bridge.

From there, it meanders uphill alongside a ribbon of thick vegetation that includes cattails, various grasses and shrubs. If you look closely, you can see evidence of a fire that damaged much of this riparian area in 1999.

Fortunately, nature has a way of rebounding so much of the native foliage has returned. While not particularly large, this refuge is home to a number of migrating birds and nesting species, according to the Lahontan Audubon Society.

Birds that have been sited in the area include long-eared and great horned owls, Cooper’s Hawks, Black-billed Magpies, Lazuli Buntings, Blue-gray Gnatcatchers, wrens and sparrows. During our recent visit, we weren’t knowledgeable enough to know the names of the birds but heard and saw plenty hopping through the brush.

The sounds, however, are perhaps the most pleasurable aspects of the hike. The calm gurgling of the spring-fed creek, the faint chirping of the birds, the buzzing of bees and wasps and the rustling of unseen things bring the nature area to life.

The trail parallels the creek and vegetation for about a quarter mile before beginning a steep climb above the growth. As you continue onward, it’s best to periodically look back, toward the lake, to enjoy the marvelous views.

The path, which is never particularly well marked, zigzags up the hill. In several places, wooden steps have been built into the hillside to assist you during the climb and to show you where the trail is in case you’ve wandered off of it.

If you look to the east, you can see the rising hills of the Virginia Range. Brown and somewhat barren, particularly at this time of year, the range is crisscrossed by several dirt roads and trails–popular with off road vehicle riders.

To the west is Washoe Lake, a remnant of a prehistoric inland sea that once covered much of Nevada. In the distance, you can see the majestic Sierra Nevada range including Slide Mountain.

The trail continues to climb before reaching the crest of a hill. It ends at a picturesque wooden gazebo that overlooks the lake and Washoe Valley. This is a great spot to stand for a moment, feel the breeze on your face, and enjoy the views. Then, it’s back on the trail for the return walk to the car.

Since the entire hike is only about a mile roundtrip, the Deadman’s Creek Trail is a fine, short, easy day hike that can be done in less than an hour.

For more information contact Washoe Lake State Park, 4855 East Lake Blvd., Carson City, NV 89704, 775-687-4319, parks.nv.gov–Richard Moreno

More Fall Colors to Behold

This past Friday was Nevada Day, a day when we celebrate our statehood. What better way to honor our state than to appreciate its natural beauty?! I (with 6 month old fetus in tow in my belly) went with a friend, who had her 16 month old daughter in a backpack. We tried out the Galena Creek Trail (to access, take Mt. Rose Highway to Callahan, turn South, and follow Callahan until it dead ends).

This trail had a nice, gradual slope, was was cheap viagra perfect for both of us, considering the “loads” we were bearing. The Fall leaves were amazing, and the weather was perfect — not too hot, and not too cold.

This really is one of the best times to hike in the Reno-Tahoe area. Come see for yourself!

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