Greetings from the Sierras


Shake the winter blues and get outside! Snowshoeing is the fastest growing sport in the country for a variety of reasons.

Snowshoeing requires no particular skill. If you can hike, you can snowshoe.
Generally snowshoeing doesn’t require an admission fee.
You can take the dog and even the entire family from young to old.
Pack a lunch and a thermos of hot chocolate and you are set.
Good sturdy hiking boots and a gaiter are recommended footwear.
Outerwear to keep you warm and dry is also a good idea. Don’t forget the Musher’s Secret for the dog’s paws.

On a recent holiday I ventured away from the crowds at the local ski areas and explored the trails along highway 20. The snow was fresh and deep from the last storm coating the trees and creating a winter wonderland. All this was less than 30 minutes travel from Nevada City. At Omega Overlook I headed north out of the parking lot on a trail that paralleled the highway. I followed the trail and took the first left which looped around and headed back to the starting point. The view from the trail was spectacular. The trail can provide both silence and solitude as it winds deeper into the forest.
Snow Dragon near Omega Rest Stop
Further down the highway Steep Hollow, a nearby cross-country ski trail system marked by the Nordic Skiers of Nevada County, is located on Highway 20 just past the Alpha-Omega rest stop 18 miles east of Nevada City. For a wide open space try the area near Bowman Road. The Castle Peak area provides access to the backcountry via the Pacific Crest Trail. A Sno-Park pass is required to park for these trails.
Mountain Recreation has a full line of Atlas and MSR snowshoes, poles, and gaiters available. Rentals are $15 day and includes poles as well.
Guided tours are available from one of our professional guides. Call us at 530-477-8006.
On the snowshoe trail

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Update from Camp Argosy


I am writing this from the Argosy Airstream in the woods above Grass Valley, California. The dogs and I have been here now for almost a month. Camp Argosy has it all going on in the tall Jeffery pines. Shade most of the day keeps the temperatures down while the cool night breezes make it perfect sleeping weather. At night the vast array of stars appear through the spaces between the tree tops. Last night a golden crescent moon set early through the forest affording only a partial glimpse. Night birds eerily cry while bears and mountain lions pass silently through the forest.

The smell of the forest is an intoxicating mix of pine and incense cedar. Some days a redtail hawk lands above us and watches as the dogs lay around sleeping in the sun.

Camp Argosy

Camp Argosy

One day angry hornets chased me out of the bath house. Later I cleaned out their nests and they left.

Bath house in the woods

Bath house in the woods

 At night I like sitting in the hammock playing guitar and returning to my folk music roots while an appreciative audience of squirrels and frogs listen.

Camp Argosy

Camp Argosy- Home of the Lazies

This is what the dogs like to do.

The Other Lazies

Lazies

Yet the lazy days of summer come to an end and the flurry of busyness begins as we move into September and regretfully say goodbye to Camp Argosy. We will always be grateful for this moment.

Across to Highway 1 and Down to the Sea


Oh and by the way its Winter on the California coast. Cold and foggy weather met us even before the redwoods loomed along the Avenue of the Giants.

We found our way along the old highway 101 into the last camping space in Humboldt Redwood State Park. As I attempted to back into that space on the curve, Janet rolled her eyes and wandered away with the two dogs only to hear the honking of the ranger warning me that I was backing into a concrete post. After some maneuvering, we landed in a park that took me back in time to the 70’s when family camping was all the rage. There were actually more tents than RV’s and trailers. As usual as we had already found out on our trip, dogs were welcome but couldn’t really go anywhere but the campground. So we walked the campground in circles and ran into a Banana Slug crawling along the road.

The next day we took off for the coast trailing the Argosy around the curvy stretches up and down through the coastal range. I got used to finding the turn offs to let the traffic scream by at speeds way too fast for that road. Finally just when we were about to lose it from the drive we saw it, the Pacific Ocean. We had driven over 2500 miles across the desert and mountains. The dogs couldn’t wait to run along the sand.

Woof!

Oregon


Ashland

We had contacted our friends Matt and Claire, and their son Sebastion in Ashland and had given them a warning we were coming through. Had a great time catching up and eating Thai Food, only our second time eating at a restaurant since we left Santa Fe. The Glenyan RV Park outside Ashland was quaint and cozy. Oregon seemed different than any other places we had traveled through. We liked the courteous people and the feeling we got from folks there.

Matt had suggested that we try to raft the Klamath River from Tree of Heaven campground. Luckily we met some Santa Cruz boaters Laura, Steve and Juls of We Go Adventures. Managed to get the shuttle and a guided trip through the Class II+ rapids. What a beautiful clear river after boating the muddy rivers of New Mexico. You can see the rocks on the bottom of the river! It was just right for our intro to the rivers of California.  As we left the Cal Oregon border we made a promise to return to run the Rogue and more of the Klamath too. We headed over to Yreka across stunning gorges and two lane bridges and got our first view of Mt. Shasta’s snow capped peak rising high above the landscape.

Klamath

Klamath

Trinity Lake

We pulled into a campground on Trinity Lake after another winding harrowing steep ride down Highway 3 toward Weaverville. It was the first time that we had smelled burning brakes  and had to downshift to first gear. Trinity Lake is enormous. Once we had landed, we couldn’t move for a day or two. It was too nice. Even the dogs conked out in between lake swims and chipmunk chasing.  We will leave for the coast one of these days.

Peanuts

Lake

 

Spit Shower Trailer Camping

There is nothing like a shower on the road even if it is a small one like the Argosy has. It’s hot and feels great afterwards. We even carry water and pour it in the tank if need be. The pump only groans out enough juice to barely keep us going. The solar powered battery helps fire up the battery for such luxury. Which reminds me I have to move the panel into the sun.

Shower

 

 

Road Warriors


Road Warrior

Road Warriors

Finding a place to land is the hardest part of moving across country. Landing can be rough after spending hours on the highway. It takes us a while to settle down and relax again. We have been on the road for over a month now. Every place we have found to camp has a story. We arrive crazy and covered in grit then begin to melt into the earth and claim the landscape as our own. Even huddled in the Argosy at a rest stop while the earth shakes from the giants of the highway, we find some comfort and serenity in lunch before doing battle again on the road.

Airstreamers

Great Basin National Park

The road to Wheeler Peak is a steep long vertigo experience. We took the dogs up to the top including our friend’s Jack Russell, Jewel. Jewel wanted to get on my lap to look out the window but my driving skills needed to be full attention. I wondered how many inattentive drivers ran off that steep road. Imagine someone eating a chicken leg driving off into space. The campgrounds get full quickly there partly because of the minimal $12 a night fee and the fact that there is not much out there on Highway 50 but alkaline flats and desert.

Jewel

We met fellow Airstreamer’s John and Susanne in Green River  then spent some time at Great Basin with them. It is wonderful to meet people out here.

The Ruby Mountains

It looked like a paved road on the map. I should have recognized the omen. My friend Jude called just before we turned off into nowhere. Somewhere where Jude and I had gone previously-on roads that went nowhere even one that was buried in the lake. It was paved for a while, then 25 miles of white limestone dust and dirt through the Long Valley on 767. We saw the Pony Express route and gained a new respect for the courage and stamina  of those days. Further on we saw a miner wearing a hard hat near the road. Yes this was the right road to Ruby Lake. When we landed finally at South Ruby Campground, the inside of the Argosy looked like it had exploded. White dust was everywhere. We spent the next several hours cleaning our lives and then a shower to get off the dust. It was chilly at night in this strange wetland. We were in one of the wildest chain of mountains in Nevada, The Ruby Mountains

Dusty road.

Lamoille Canyon

The following day we left the Ruby Lake NWR.  We saw White Faced Ibis, Yellow headed blackbirds, multitudes of ducks, Night Crowned Herons and others. The road over the mountains to Lamoille Canyon looked as bad as a road could be. Of course there was no signage except a marker that said: “Hastings Cutoff”. Having read the saga of the Donner Party, I knew that it was the ill fated route that took them into the Sierras. We decided to stay on the semi paved road all the way into Elko.

We arrived in Lamoille Canyon late in the afternoon. This is a spectacular canyon with Glaciers feeding waterfalls that cascade down the sides of the canyon. We stayed an extra day to hike the trails into the backcountry.

Lamoille Canyon

Rio the Wonder Dog

Lamoille Canyon

Loaded for the Adventure

Janet

You can’t hide

Its hot out here in the Nevada Desert.

Eastern Oregon

We took Highway 140 into Oregon through what we thought was a town, Denio. We were obviously in denio when we past the Store, Biker Bar and Gas Station combination thinking there was something else more glamorous. Nada. Up on the high passes through the Pronghorn Reserve the wind did howl with a fierceness never experienced before. Coming off the high pass into Oregon was like landing a plane. We tried not to look over the edge of the twisty two lane road descending into a sea of green. As we entered into Oregon, it rained. A good sign that we were finally out of the desert. Through the mountains we drove till we came to Juniper RV Park. They were setting up for a big cowboy wedding later the next day. It was cold and rainy that night. Gatefully the showers were hot. The following night we camped at another cold high country lake. The water in the dog’s bowl had frozen over and we found ourselves sleeping in stocking hats and woolies. We headed out of the scary one lane campground road hoping not to meet another car and headed to Lake of the Woods. It was beautiful with Mt. McLoughlin’s snow covered profile in the background.

The temperature had started to warm up. We kept the campfire that we found smoldering alive until darkness and mosquitos finally drove us indoors.

Campfire

Oregon

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Lily

More tails from Oregon to come.

Small Spaces and Mosquito and No See Um Invasion Ouch


Getting used to living in a small space aint easy. Two people and two large dogs in a 20′ Argosy Minuet is tough. Turning around without hitting each other is an art. Then when the night comes around and we are settled into a camping spot, the beds are made and all is at peace, the space seems cozy. Last night the wind howled through the Great Basin. The camping spot that we found, the last one in the park was tilted so badly that it was like trying to stand on the deck of a ship at sea. Even all of that could not keep the cozy factor away.. 

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Junction Creek campground  in Durango proved to be the buggiest campground for the price so far. Each bite swelled up and started itching by the time we got to Green River Utah. I started scratching and regretted it later. Get the long sleeves and Deet out the minute you feel a bite. 

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Green River which was the lowest I have seen in years was mostly devoid of bugs. Ray’s Tavern on the other hand still had the best cheeseburger around.  The rest of the town seems to be crumbling into the desert only to resurrect for the melon festival.

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Road Warriors

Finding a place to land is the hardest part of moving across country. Landing can be rough after spending hours on the highway. It takes us a while to settle down and relax again. 

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Trailer Enchiladas

Yum a little bit of New Mexico in a cast iron pan. Red chili veggie enchiladas. 

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Until next time