Tag Archives: Sierra Nevada

Carson/Ebbetts Passes

One year after the camper van was rear-ended and a very long time at a body ship plus several more months getting rebuilt and outfitted, Darlene and I (and Hera) were finally able to head out in the van again for some exploration. We ended up camping out in four different dispersed spots we found over not quite two weeks in an area of the Sierra Nevada between Carson and Ebbetts Passes (often near the Pacific Crest Trail), going exploring by mountain biking, hiking and geocaching.

 

We had nice weather the whole time except for some wildfire smoke that started to blow in on the last couple of days.  We cut the trip a couple days short to avoid getting caught out in a bit of snow forecast for the higher elevations.

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A Tahoe Layover

Heading out in the newly restored camper van, Darlene and I had a bit of an unexpected layover in Tahoe as several house maintenance and repair chores ended up taking a lot more time and Hera developed a new health issue.  We did take a few days off for some mountain biking including some of the trails from the house near Brockway Summit and taking the Emigrant Trail out to Stampede Reservoir from Prosser Creek.

We also joined Mike and Nanci on the Flume Trail (a well known trail that overlooks Lake Tahoe along the east shore).  We started at Spooner Lake, climbed up to Marlette Lake where Mike went for a brief swim and we took a snack break:

We then joined the Flume Trail where Mike promptly tumbled off trail somehow and tangled himself in his bike frame. Happily no one chose to tumble off the steep slopes of the Flume Trail proper but then Nanci had a nasty fall on the ride down the Tunnel Creek Road.  With help from several others, we ended up waiting for emergency services to drive a buggy up to treat her with pain meds and move her down to a waiting ambulance.  At the Truckee hospital, she was found to have broken a clavicle and a rib.  Ouch, not the most fun way to end the day!

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Winter 2023 Time-Lapse

This is a time-lapse recording at the Tahoe house over the 2022-23 winter season – from November 1st to June 1st.  The house is at 6800 ft.

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Spring Skiing in Tahoe

Tahoe got just a little bit more snow in the first week of May, but Darlene and I couldn’t make it up until this past week – just as the temperatures climbed back into the high 50’s and low 60’s.  We got in three short days at Alpine and Palisades – bailing mid-day each day as the snow started getting grabby.  I got to try my new X-Wing pilot costume and Darlene borrowed my Marvin the Martian outfit:

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Even Greater Gobs of Snow

Darlene and I headed back up to Tahoe at the end of February to meet up with Jon, Stan and Bill for our annual weeklong group ski trip. Storm after storm is continuing to dump massive amounts of snow in the Sierra Nevada – 53 feet over the season at Palisades so far.  We were able to come up in a slight break in the back-to-back storms hitting Tahoe (and all of California), but we had to take the long way out because highway 17 (through the low elevation, coastal Santa Cruz mountains) was actually closed due to snow – a very rare occurrence.

There were travel troubles all around with Jon’s flight cancelled and Stan coming up early to try to beat the storm.  We were joined by Resi and Aiden on Saturday before they had to rush back ahead of the next incoming storm.  We spend the day trying to clear some of the snow and ice from the deck, roof and stairs.  So much ice keeps building up on the deck and the stairs below from the ice-melting heat trace on the roof above – it actually was overflowing the threshold of the sliding doors below, freezing them in place and leaking water into the house.

Geof and Jennifer were also able to come up and stay for the week through the storms.  Unfortunately, Geof got seriously ill and ended up quarantined in a room for much of the week.  But then even the resorts had difficulties: closing early Monday, remaining closed Tuesday and only partially open the following day due to the massive amounts of new snow in such a short period. We did still manage to get multiple days of skiing in over our stay.

4.5 minute video montage of our week of Tahoe skiing

I joined Troy at Homewood on Sunday and then Jon, Stan and Bill at Northstar on Monday (until they closed early).  The resorts remained closed Tuesday and were still trying to dig out on Wednesday when I joined Troy again for the one lift that Homewood was able to get running.  Darlene joined me, Jon, Stan and Bill at Alpine and Palisades for much of Thursday and Friday, while Geof and Jennifer hit up the same resorts separately and Kat joined us for board gaming Friday night.  Darlene and I returned to Palisades and Northstar the following Monday and Tuesday before we had to make our way home again ahead of the next wave of storms – this time bringing warm temps and rain.

A drone flyover of the house to survey the current snow load as of early March.

There’s something like over 10 feet of ice and compacted snow on the roof right now.  Hopefully it will sustain the load and the incoming heavy snow and rain until our roof is scheduled to get at least partially cleared of snow late next week!

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Great Gobs of Snow

Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada are known for huge amounts of snow but it’s still fun to enjoy great gobs of it as records are broken.  The Tahoe area has been running over 200% of average since December and it has kept on coming.  We’ve already exceeded the total season average here of 400 inches (as has Mammoth Mountain, further south in the Sierra) and it’s only early February!

I posted some pics and video in early January, then we were off to Vail for a previously-planned week-long ski trip.  So this gallery is catching up on pictures and video from mid-January as well as a rush back up to join Troy and Aiden for another nice storm in early February.  We hit up Northstar, Alpine Meadows and of course lots of Homewood on powder days:

3.5-minute video montage from mid-January to early February

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Snow in Tahoe Again

We’re off to a strong snow season in the Sierra this year with over 200% of average already and some big 24-hour dumps like 35 inches just over New Year’s Eve!  (That storm we actually missed as we went home to Santa Cruz for the weekend.)  Darlene and I spent a few weeks in Tahoe starting in mid-December and then I came back for more through early January as she went to visit her family.  We hit up Palisades, Northstar, Heavenly and Homewood and were joined at times by Resi, Troy and Aiden over the past month.

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Tahoe Summer Days

Darlene and I spent a couple weeks in late June and early July at the Tahoe house taking care of a bunch of house maintenance, including roof repair, clearing newly fallen branches and pine needles, moving the bear box to accommodate a widening of the driveway, etc.  We took some time off from all that to go climb to the top of a very windy Mt. Rose (elev. 10,785 ft.), do some mountain biking and hike up the Five Lakes trail near Palisades/Alpine Meadows.

 

We also had another bear visitor while up working on the roof:

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Among the Giant Sequoias

Darlene and I loaded up the van and the cats and headed out this past week for a short adventure.  First stop was to overnight under some dark skies in the San Benito mountains for a potential meteor storm from Tau Herculids.  (There was a decent meteor shower, but no full-on storm.)  We then spent the next five days in and around Sequoia National Park and Kings Canyon National Park, hiking among the magnificent giant sequoia trees, checking out Kings Canyon and exploring the Sequoia National Forest between the two national parks.  We also attempted an extended mountain bike ride from Buck Rock to Lookout Peak but had to abort due to a failure / total destruction of my rear hub – resulting in a long bike walk back.

We came across some black bears while hiking in Sequoia National Park.

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Ski Weekends at Homewood

These are pictures and videos from several more ski weekends at Homewood in Tahoe with Troy, Resi, Aiden and Darlene over February and March.

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Tahoe Ski Week

Darlene and I joined Bill, Stan and Jon for our yearly ski vacation week, this time in Tahoe in early March.  We hit up Northstar and Palisades Tahoe during the week, with lots of board gaming in between of course.  On Saturday, Stan and Jon joined us at Homewood with Troy and Aiden to enjoy a bit of new snow.

(3.3 minute video montage of our ski week)

And a little VR demo-ing:

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A High Speed Tour of the Tahoe Ski Areas

I took off in an F/A-18E jet from Truckee airport and visited most of the Tahoe area ski resorts in 12 minutes or less:

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Gamers Gone Skiing

A four-minute video montage of our skiing days.

We got our gaming group together in Tahoe in early February for a few days of skiing and board gaming. Geof and Nacho joined me on the slopes at Tahoe Palisades while Jennifer, Adriana, Laurie and Richard checked out the lake and old town Truckee – and Laurie got in an afternoon at Northstar.

We had exploding potions in Quacks of Quedlinburg, color confusion in Hues and Cues, pushed our luck in Diamant, placed our bets in Wits & Wagers, rolled for the top in Mountain Goats, intercepted secret codes in Decrypto, managed our tricks in both The Crew and Instinct, swam with sharks in Survive: Escape from Atlantis!, built up a map of cities and roads in Carcassonne, dodged avalanches in Slide 5, and laid out our “stained glass” dice windows in Sagrada.

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Skiing With Friends Again

We got piles of snow at the end of December, setting new records for the month (17 feet).  The storm kept all the highways closed for many days, but Troy, Resi, Aiden and I were eventually able to get up to Tahoe – and ski together for the first time since before the Covid-19 pandemic.

A little four-minute video montage of our ski adventures.

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Onward to Lassen

After a couple of days layover in Tahoe to ski some new snow and repair the van (a badly installed anti-sway bar), we headed off again – north this time towards Lassen National Park.  Along the way, we spent an afternoon riding as far as we could (before being turned back by snow) up the Mills Peak Lookout trail near Greagle, checked out the Subway Cave near Old Station, wandered around some rough forest roads, visited Burney Falls – and in Burney I was finally able to snag a covid vaccination shot!

The highway through Lassen was still closed to vehicles as they continued to clear the snow but open to biking which made a lovely ride to the top from the southwest entrance.  We made two attempts at hiking the Chaos Crags trail on the other side of the park (after getting caught in a thunder and hail storm) and pushed past the still snow covered road to check out the Fantastic Lava Beds area.

 

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Early Spring in the Eastern Sierra

Darlene and I loaded up the cats and the camper van in late March and headed out for an extended, month-long trip.  After a few days of skiing at Alpine and Homewood from the Tahoe house, we headed down to Bishop and Mammoth for some more skiing, as well as mountain biking and other exploration in the surrounding area for a few weeks while camping out on public lands.

We biked around the Mono Craters area, found a nice wading pool just outside the now closed off Mammoth Hot Springs, hiked up to the still frozen South Lake and bailed out of a swim in the still-quite-cold Owens River near Bishop.

Despite all the time I’ve already spent in the Eastern Sierra (including attending high school in Bishop), we managed a few new adventures like biking up Coyote Valley Road, skiing at June Mountain, visiting the exposed “tuff” formation along Crowley Lake, winding through Chidago Canyon, visiting the petroglyphs along Fish Slough Road, and finding an eagle’s nest (with chicks!) in the Owens River Gorge.

In mid-April, it looked like a bit of snow was going to mostly hit the Tahoe area, so we headed back up to Tahoe for a few days to catch a bit of it before heading out again and north to Lassen.

Oh yeah, and we broke the van on a particularly rough road near Mono Craters – started hearing clunking noises from what turned out to be a very badly installed anti-sway bar.

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