Monday, October 8, 2012

Our Backyard - October 2012

please remember you can click on a photo to see a larger version

This story will be a little different; a glimpse into what we’re up to when not away on an adventure with the truck.

The county middle school girl’s volleyball tournament was Saturday. This is the Lady’s 31st year and her girls fought hard. They were undefeated in pool play and advanced to the semi finals where they were eliminated in the first match in two games, both 23 to 25. These were good games with the athletes showing good volleyball skills, especially at this age. The loss was tough on the girls but a good life lesson.

Sunday, we had some fall chores to attend to. But wait a minute, “We were inside all day yesterday, can’t we go on a quick hike? We could go up to the top of Thunder Mountain. We’d be back mid afternoon with enough time to change the oil in the truck and take the awning off from the deck.” This is what I heard the Lady say.

The Lady cooked up a batch of waffles for breakfast with maple syrup and blueberries and the packs were sitting by the door. Yeah, we could run up a mountain first. There are several handy ones in the backyard.

As we hit the trail, the Lady was in love with the fall smell of drying mule ears and the rattle of their leaves in the breeze.

The waning half moon was above the tops of the western white pines.

The trail hits the top of the volcanic ridge and heads up the spine.

The views to the north across both the highway 88 and highway 50 corridors into Desolation Wilderness were wonderful. Yeah, this was better than chores.

This is a spur ridge line west of the Sierra crest. It runs from Martin Point up to Thimble and Covered Wagon Mountain and includes the famous West Pass, the highest point on the Carson Route of the California Trail, the most used route into the gold country for the 49ers. It is also the west side boundary of Kirkwood Ski Resort.

Thunder Mountain is a high point just off to the west of the main ridge. The summit gives a nice view to the west down at Silver Lake.

The view to the north and east with Martin Point in the foreground. Red Lake Peak is to the far right. Some believe this is the peak Fremont climbed in February 1844 and where he got the first view of Lake Tahoe.

This is a view into Desolation Wilderness. Pyramid Peak and the Crystal Range are on the left. Jacks and Dicks peaks are in the center with Desolation Valley below. Mount Tallac is to the right.

To the south is the exposed Sierra Nevada granite that the Tahoe area volcanics lie on top of.

We had water and snacks on top and then headed back.

Round Top in the Mokelumne Wilderness – and the highpoint in the Eldorado National Forest – is off to the east. Round Top had a station on its summit in 1876 as part of the Davidson Quadrilateral.

This is a fun trail on many levels, including its native plants.

Kirkwood Meadows and the development associated with the ski area is down below to the east.

We wound our way back down toward Martin Point.

And past Sentinel Rock.

Off the ridge line amid the large red firs was a wonderful large western juniper.

We stepped off the trail to walk along the crest of the Carson Spur above highway 88

These are to defect the wind down onto the lee side of the ridge to help prevent cornice build over the highway.

Down below are several Gazex emplacements CalTrans uses for avalanche control.

Here is a demo of a  test firing - Gazex on the Mt. Rose Highway

Living where we do, we're lucky to get any chores done with all the wonderful distractions around. We enjoy living in the Sierra Nevada and treasure the opportunities our backyard has for adventure.  By the way, oil was changed and the awning was taken down successfully. Chores were finished at 4:30 pm.


  1. I have just spent two enjoyable evenings reading through your whole blog. As a future FWC or ATC owner, a teacher, and a Tuolumne County resident, I found so many gems to relate to. I am not sure exactly where you are located, but there were enough clues that I figure if you can get there for the weekend, I probably could too. I am not the hiker that you two are, but maybe if I get out a bit more, it will come.

    Your photography is fabulous. What camera do you use?

    1. sassygirl, thank you for the kind comments. Clues are there, as you say. Good luck with you camper acquisition, just remember it is only a tool to get us there, kind of like cameras. Composition, lighting, looking and seeing, taking pictures, capturing moments is more important then camera model or brand. I use the cheapest and lightest Nikon DSLR, currently a D3100, mainly because I use the viewfinder, hate the live view screen. Been looking through that little hole a long time; I'm a creature of habit. I hung a heavy 18-200 zoom lens on it because I only wanted to carry one lens. It does nothing spectacularly but most things okay. The camera is pulled in and out of my pack in snowstorms and desert dust. It gets tossed about the truck and camper. I've only broke one once; that's just part of the trips. Thanks again.