Swinging from a Pine Tree over the Royal Gorge in the Sierra…Now that’s a Hike!

It’s November 1, and the snow still hasn’t arrived in the Sierra. Join the Foothill Hilers as we take a nice 8.5 mile hike on the series of trails owned by the Tahoe Donner Land Trust. These trails are spectacular and have just enough ups and downs to give you a good workout. The views are incredible! Don’t miss the swing at Point Mariah!

It’s thrilling to soar over the Royal Gorge on a little board tied to a pine tree!

Tahoe Donner Land Trust Site and maps: http://tdlandtrust.org/royal-gorge The track of our hike: https://www.wikiloc.com/hiking-trails…

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FIRE on the Mountain! Mt. Lola

We spot a fire, see some weird structure remains at the top, and get some awesome views!

This summer I probably did about 20 Sierra hikes with eight separate peaks hikes thrown in. I hiked some of those eight peaks multiple times with a total of 12 peak hikes!  At over 11K feet, Mt. Rose was the hardest for me.. but being stubborn, I did that one twice!
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Mt. LOLA

Named after local Gold Rush celebrity, Lola Montez, the peak formed by ancient volcanic mud flows 4 to 12 million years ago was used as a platform to survey the west by triangulation in 1878. The first time this was done in the world!
Using telescopes and mirrors aligned from the top of Mt. Shasta, Mt. Lola and Mt. Helena the Coast and Geodetic Survey observed the longest triangulation line ever used on Aug. 1, 1878.

Rock structures and brick pillars remain at the top from that summer long ago when George Davidson stationed atop it sending a flash of light to the station on the top of Mt. Shasta.

More on Lola Montez here 

More on the the survey here

Thank you for watching my videos.. my labors of love!

We are Fleas on a Dog.. but WHAT A DOG!

During all of my hikes over the Sierra the past few years, I’ve had soooo many questions about how and why things are the way there are, geologically speaking.  I’d see a huge lava outcropping and I’d wonder when that got there and how?  Was it blown to it’s current resting place from a distant volcano? Did it pop out of the ground from an ancient fissure?  Just how old are the Sierra anyway?

I’m finally taking some time to seriously study Geology.  I have some answers and my hikes are that much more interesting!   This Earth has been evolving for 4.6 billion years and we’ve only been here 200,000 years of it.  Heating up, cooling down, over and over again with many variations of life forms that have come and gone over the millions of years.  Continents moving around, and still on the move. The Hawaiian Islands are moving in a Northwest direction about 4 inches a year! Eventually they will join up with Japan! Australia is moving Northward about 2.7 inches a year. All the plates are moving, some faster than others.  Don’t believe me? Study Geology!   I would love to drive to Australia..  Mountains pushing up and STILL getting higher.  Think Everest is high now? Just you wait!   What will be here a million years from now? Us? Something else?   Nothing?  Hmmm…..  things I think about when I hike!  Geology is COOL!

Today, we take a short hike up to an ancient lava flow plateau that was formed during the creation of the Sierra Nevada when the entire range was bubbling with volcanoes and molten lava being pushed up everywhere!!  Here is some interesting reading about the Sierra.

With winter around the corner, the trees are singing their songs and a warning that a big change is soon to come.

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From Dreaming to SAILING!

For a couple of years now,I’ve been sailing around the world…..from my couch!  I’ve been obsessed with a few YouTuber channels called Sailing LaVagabonde, SV Delos, Gone with the Wynns, among a few others have taught me all sorts of sailing jargon and terminology not to mention I get to visit places I’d probably never see in my life (in person).

I can tell you what “taking a reef” means… or What a Spinnaker is… or the difference between a Ketch and a Sloop and a slew of other random sailing facts.. but I’ve NEVER stepped foot onto a sail boat – EVER – in my whole entire life until last weekend!

I was nervous , excited, afraid I would puke (drugs worked) and I waited for two whole months for this day to arrive! Would I do it again??? HELL YES!  So, here we go on my first sail from Richmond CA to Angel Island and around the San Francisco Bay thanks to “Captain Ed” who graciously took a group of six out for a glorious day on the bay!

AHOY!

 

Mt. Judah & Donner Peak! WOW!!!!

This wonderful trail in the Northern California Sierra, with abundant spectacular views is a must-do if you traverse around Donner Summit. The trail starts on the PCT just down the road from Donner Ski Ranch. You then take the Mount Judah loop trail from the PCT. Don’t forget to hike up to the summit of Donner Peak while on your way around and look out the “window” onto Donner Lake! WOW!

 

Let’s take a Walk Back in Time!

Bridgeport in Nevada County California is a hidden gem of Northern California!  If you are into gold rush history, you are gonna LOVE this place! Just up Hwy 20 near Penn Valley, you can make a day of meandering the hills on the various hiking trails, looking at the cool historical exhibits, swim in the river and have a nice family outing!

It just costs $5.00 to park! What a deal!

And the best part is the awesome covered bridge that is the largest standing covered bridge in the world!

We Met our Strange and COOL Neighbors today!

We live right next to Beale Air Force Base! Our property is just outside the back gate!  Living next to an Air Force base can be weird at times. We hear all types of strange announcements over the loud speaker, weird sirens, and see odd planes coming and going.  There is also a gigantic over-the-horizon radar structure that we immediately get asked about by friends who come over for the first time. The radar was built in the Cold War to give early warning of a nuclear attack.  I guess that’s a good thing? When we first moved in 18 years ago, we couldn’t use our VCR or analog answer machine without hearing pops and static over our movies and messages because of this radar!! Thank goodness we are all digital now! However, it still interferes with some of my recording equipment and camera microphone on certain days.

The military has its secret,s and when they are your immediate neighbor, it spurs your imagination and sometimes paranoia. I can’t just go walking up to their door and say “howdy neighbor what’s going on here” without a large – fully automatic rifle pointed at me!  I better have good reason to be there!

A few years back, there were 5 large planes from the base that circled our neighborhood at about 2000 feet for several hours every night!  These planes carried a crew of six and were outfitted with equipment to listen in on phone conversations.  We were told they were just training and not really listening to us..  hmmm…….

Our neighbor also has the U2 Spy plane that takes off like a rocket daily, flying to foreign lands to see what’s going on.  The U2 can go check out the happenings in the middle east and be home by dinner!  When it takes off, we can hear it climbing to its 70 thousand foot cruising altitude for a good 15 minutes!  The pilot has to wear a space suit! Oh and our neighbors have a really REALLY cool drone called the Global Hawk!

Today our mysterious neighbors invited the public to enter this secret-mysterious land and treated us to an airshow free of charge!

With the Sutter Buttes as a backdrop, the show was pretty spectacular! If you are into airplanes, you are gonna LOVE this video!

 

 

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A Spring Flight Hunting for Wildflowers!

Spring is HERE and the wildflowers are off the charts! One of the best shows for wildflowers in Northern California is Table Mountain just outside of Oroville CA. It’s amazing and a must see! The hike is very easy. The window of opportunity to see the flowers and waterfalls is pretty short. As soon as it stops raining and the temps rise, the flowers die and the streams dry up.

We also get a good look at the re-constructed spillway at Oroville Dam

Here is the link to Table Mountain: https://www.wildlife.ca.gov/lands/pla…