A little map gazing revealed a promising-looking hike on the outskirts of Sparks. Alli, Megan, Ann, and I check it out on a superbly clear and warm Sunday afternoon and give it our approval. A little gunfire secures the Nevada charm.
Sun, 04 Nov 2012
Thu, 25 Oct 2012
If you’re fortunate enough to be able to take a workday evening hike, why not just make sure that arm flapping still does not enable flight?
Just don’t break a wing.
Sat, 20 Oct 2012
Maybe not, but Ann and I go up to Big Chief with our friend Wes just in case.
Sat, 06 Oct 2012
I’ve been up Spruce mountain once before in the autumn, and jump at the chance to do it again. It’s a good climb to an old fire lookout with a commanding view of the Green mountains and surrounding countryside. Jason’s sister Jen and her boyfriend Phil get the credit for proposing the hike first thing in the morning before the rain returns.
Thu, 04 Oct 2012
My partner Jason puts Mom and I up in his tiny cabin on Sabin pond. It’s crazy cute.
It’s prime leaf-peeping season up here, but it’s rainy and we get way more excited by the mushroom bonanza that ensues.
All that’s left is to fry ‘em up!
After that I can’t stop looking for delicious morsels. Under some leaves I find a pair of eyes looking back up – a red-backed salamander. (I don’t test it for deliciousness).
Mon, 01 Oct 2012
My mother, aunt, and grandmother embark on a boat tour from Burlington that includes a lunch buffet. But it’s important to start with the sea monster.
We pass shipwreck sites, islands, coves, and points punctuated with historical narrations.
Burlington looks different from the water!
Wed, 26 Sep 2012
Mike and his dad John propose an after work session at River Rock on the Truckee. We’re hoping the days are still long enough if we get going at 4pm. We arrive before 5 and Mike jumps straight onto Karl’s crack 5.10a (see dirty talk). After we follow that there’s still time for me to try Africa Flake 5.10a, which I scrabble up with a couple of easy falls and plenty of extra gear. Probably my last climb for a while!
Sun, 23 Sep 2012
I’ve wanted to climb up to the crazy lookout tower on the Sierra Buttes ever since I passed below on the Pacific Crest Trail in 1996. Now Dad joins us to do it sixteen years later!
We camp and picnic first at the packsaddle campground.
The crags loom above the trail from Packer saddle.
Many lakes spread out below.
After a good climb we reach a series of “scarecases” leading to the high lookout.
This currently unstaffed fire lookout is the most exposed I’ve visited. Part of the catwalk hangs over the cliffs below. Looks like there are some climbing routes down there too. A cold wind keeps our visit brief.
Who loves this hike? Me and Ann. Can we make you barf?
Sat, 22 Sep 2012
Ann and I figure this may our last chance to climb for a while, and Dad is happy to come along as an observer and photographer. The weather couldn’t be better and we have a great time cragging.
Sat, 15 Sep 2012
None of our small family gathering have any experience caving, so there’s some trepidation as we start toward the “cave loop” at Lava Beds National Monument with headlamps in our pockets.
As it turns out the first “easy” cave we hit is the longest one – a full kilometer underground. The brochure seems to indicate that you can exit at the end of the 1 km, but this isn’t stated explicitly. Too late to ask now!
Not too far in there is a hole that lets some light in and bolsters our spirits. After that, though, it goes completely black. We turn our lights off to experience the full darkness.
After that Ann and Danielle both have to fight back some panic. Of course Danielle’s instinct is rush ahead toward the hoped-for exit, and Ann’s is to stick close together. We’re all thankful to find Danielle waiting for us, once more in the light of day. Whew! We celebrate our success and question the need for any more time underground.
We check out the entrances of a few of the other caves, and Ryan and I explore the shorter Sunlight cave. These caves are smaller, and have interesting textures where subsequent flows re-melted the walls and ceilings.
To finish off the loop Ryan, Dad and I enter the Golden Dome cave. This one has a new feature – intersections! We go left at the first one, and at the second one we decide to turn around. But just for fun we turn our lights off first. Are we looking in the same direction when we turn back on? It’s dizzying, but we make our way back successfully.
We return to camp for some relaxation, but then decide to hike to one final cave, the biggest of all.
Skull cave was formed by three separate lava flows, and has the feel of a giant railway tunnel. Animal and human bones were once found inside, which seems appropriate somehow. At the end it turns downward into a chamber with an ice floor.
That seems like a full day of exploration, but there are lots more caves, trails, and historical sites at this park. We’re all impressed.