The Sierra Nevada is a 400 mile long, 70 mile wide mountain range that lies mostly in California with a small portion in Nevada. Home to Mount Whitney (the tallest mountain in the lower 48, standing at 14,505 feet), Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sequoia and King Canyon National Park, it’s really an impressive mountain range! Not only does this mountain range hold impressive beauty, this range is important because it provides most of California’s water by the mountains “catching” rain and snow clouds. Since California produces two-thirds of the nation’s fruits and nuts, water is essential to this area!
From Lake Tahoe to Calaveras Big Trees to Yosemite, we have been to multiple parts of the Sierra Nevada (SN) this year. Before COVID hit, we ventured to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Park on the east side of the SN with Brad’s brother and his wife. We spent the night in a cute cabin right outside the park and the next day hit the trails. The largest sequoia tree in the world by volume is in this park. Standing at 275 feet tall and over 36 feet wide, the General Sherman Tree makes one feel really small. All the sequoia trees in this park make your jaw drop and when they are snowed covered like they were when we saw them it’s even more beautiful.
We also saw snow in June! High up in the mountains is Lake Alpine at 7,388 feet above sea level. While the lake was snow free the trails were not. There was so much snow we couldn’t even make a guess as to were the trail was so we just walked around the lake instead, making friends with a sweet toddler who wanted to tell us all about his day. ☺️ A month later we returned to the same area after hiking at Calaveras Big Tree State Park just to see what the area was like. It was snow free and we easily found the trail but didn’t hike as we were tired from the earlier hike. We did find a nice quiet spot by the lake and just sat, enjoying being out in nature.
Another cool wilderness area in the SN is right outside Lake Tahoe close to Placerville, a small town known for mining and *ekk* hangings in the 1880’s. Multiple small lakes surround this area along with many waterfalls and rivers. We hiked to Bassi Falls, which was overall an easy hike to a waterfall. The fun part of this waterfall hike is one can swim in the river downstream from the waterfall and we saw some people stand underneath the waterfall. We were happy to climb around the rocks to watch others and not get in the water. Lol.
Bassi Falls was a nice hike but it was so busy! It was still early when we finished so we decided to get in another short hike to Robbs Peak, a two mile round trip hike. Driving up a dirt road, when the road narrows and is unpassable by car, that’s where the trail starts. It was just the two of us on this trail with small peeks of the surrounding landscape. At the summit sits Robb’s hut, a small cabin which can be rented out with 365 degree views of the mountains. Not a bad way to end the day, a nice secluded hike with great views.
A co-worker suggested this really great hike for wildflower blooms in July. Since her grandmother wrote a book about wildflowers in the SN, discussing this particular hike, we couldn’t go wrong! Lake Winnemucca was a pretty hike that started in the forest and than opened up to a field of flowers. Mother Nature knows how to make an entrance! It was a beautiful, clear day and I took my time taking photos of all the wildflowers and even found a cool little waterfall. We continued on to summit Round Top when the weather changed.
Wind and dark clouds took over the sky. We were so close to the top but our gut told us to turn back. It was a steep and rocky trail at this point and if rain was added into the mix it would not be good. We were glad we turned around as it took almost two hours to hike back to the car as more clouds rolled in and thunder started. We shut the car doors and it started to rain and hail! We drove out of the storm pretty quickly to clear skies but behind us where we just hiked was darker and stormer. The mountains do their own thing and it’s so important to pay attention and do what feels right. No hike is worth an injury or worse.
I think the most fun we’ve had this summer is due to getting a hammock. Looking for lake hikes so we can hang out in the hammock mid-hike has been a goal multiple times. The hammock has been to Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, the beach (twice) and just outside of Lake Tahoe to Granite Lake and Hidden Lake. This hike was easy and had nice views of the mountains, cool rock formations and two lakes. Once the hammock was hung, we had lunch and rested, hearing birds, dogs and horses! It was easy to just want to curl up and take a nap all afternoon (and maybe one of us did). It was actually rejuvenating to relax like that mid-hike. After an hour, we were hiking again with a little more zip in our steps.
Hopefully everyone has a little zip in their steps as we enter into fall. Pumpkins, apple cider, leaves changing colors….love this time of year! Stay healthy and safe everyone. Maybe the next blog post will finally be about Yosemite……till then!
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