The county middle school girl’s volleyball tournament was Saturday. The Lady has coached her entire career. It is fun but it is a mad house with 9 teams and pool play and going on to the quarter and semi and finals for both JV (6th and 7th) and Varsity (8th grade) teams. There are shouts of joy, tears, nervousness, parents encouraging good sportsmanship, and parents acting badly. Volleyballs are flying everywhere. I go along and help. I wouldn’t miss it for the world. But it was a day cooped up in a gym. Sunday had to be different.
It was a beautiful morning at home. The front yard aspens are near their peak of fall color.
Hope Valley is close by. We know it well. Our packs were loaded up and put into the camper. We had driven through last weekend. How would fall colors be progressing now?
It’s easy to talk about past years displays and compare them to how this year is doing. It’s still so much fun to stand in an aspen grove and watch the morning sun come through the fall colors and listen to the wind shake the leaves. We are going to enjoy it.
The roads were quiet this early morning. We felt like we had it all to ourselves.
Crater Lake sits below Red Lake Peak. Stevens Peak is above to the north. It is reached by a climbing dirt road. We have skied in the area in the winter and spring. We can remember visiting only one time without snow, about 25 years ago. We drove up in our Isuzu Trooper. We don’t remember really needing four wheel drive. The road is in much worse condition now. It was 4x4 low with aired down tires. It is more difficult than the road into Leavitt Lake and it is narrower.
It was fun looking at the ski lines that we have used to drop into this little basin from either Red Lake Peak or Stevens Peak or just coming over the ridge from Meiss Meadows.
The basin is surrounded by steep cliffs. The water falls on the inlet streams have frozen up for the season.
Since we were alone, we took advantage of the solitude, circled the lake and enjoyed the vistas.
We drove back down before noon and explored other aspen groves off short spur roads before we dropped to highway 88.
We had visited the top of Forestdale Divide last weekend from the south. We decided to go in from the north, by Red Lake, on our way home. The road travels along meadows, crosses the bridge over Forestdale Creek, and begins to climb. We got to thinking about John C. Fremont.
In February 1844 Fremont's second expedition crossed the Sierra Nevada at Carson Pass. Prior to the ascent the expedition camped on the east side. This was known as the Long Camp. In 1996 a local historian believed he located the site. On his website he offers his argument and assessment: Fremont's Long Camp.
We have visited the site before. We wouldn’t miss an opportunity to return.
The panorama to the west, what the Fremont Expedition was preparing to cross.
Several years ago, one February, the Lady & I helped the "Lake of the Sky -the Story of Tahoe" film maker get him and his camera gear up to the mountain top north of Carson Pass to recreate Fremont's first view of Lake Tahoe in February 1844. If you enjoy Tahoe history and haven't seen these two DVD's, it worth it to pick them up. Mr. Dallas did an outstanding job. I have seen them for sale at the state parks surrounding Lake Tahoe, Sorenson’s Resort in Hope Valley, and on the keeptahoeblue.org website.
We enjoyed the solitude and the vistas and a day that felt like fall. It was time to head home. “Aren’t you baking me an apple pie this afternoon?” I asked the Lady.
“Yes I am!” she answered, “and you’re doing southwestern stuffed bell peppers on the grill.”
We headed back north on Forestdale Divide Road.
“Where are we going to air up the tires? The Lady asked.
“I was going to stop when we get out to the highway.”
“Why don’t we stop here where it is beautiful? We’re almost out.”
She was right.
I am reminded of what my parents said to all their sons, “Try to marry a woman smarter than you.”
As we busied ourselves with cooking after returning home, I asked the Lady, “Why do you like a day of just exploring like this?”
She replied, “I love to be outside. I need to be outside.”
A very good answer.