Johnny Cash Trail-Folsom, California

A stretch of the American River bike trail has been dedicated to the man in Black – The Johnny Cash Trail. I had driven my multiple times seeing a piece of large art in the shape of a guitar with no clue as to why a random giant guitar was on the side of the road. I later learned the city dedicated the area to Johnny Cash.

The stretch of the beautiful bike trail runs parallel to the Folsom Prison tying it all together to his famous song “Folsom Prison Blues.”  The trail is very pleasant and very easy. My only criticism would be several signs with plans for public art related to Cash which are planned for the future but not yet complete. The portion of trail I walked on had no direct connection to Cash other than the Robber’s Ravine Bridge with a marker noting some Cash trivia.  Well, actually come to think of it I do have one other criticism, the portion of the trail which overlooks Folsom Lake does not have parking and was too far to walk with a baby in a stroller so I never made it to the end where the overlook and Cash guitar Pick art would have greeted me.

Regardless, the trail is worth a visit in cool weather. But, other stretches of the bike trail are frankly far more beautiful and parallel the water while one is walking. I’m glad I went because now my curiosity is sated. But, until the public art is complete I likely won’t be back.

Robber’s Ravine Bridge

This would have been even prettier a month or so ago when everything was still green

I couldn’t help but think that this little wild flower was trying to break out of prison

For you parents out there my son learned how to “moo” on this walk!

Maidu Museum & Historic Site -Roseville,California

California spring has sprung and its only a matter of minutes before temperatures will top one hundred degrees. Little baby and I broke out of our fortress of solitude to visit the Maidu Indian Historic site only minutes from the house. The Southern Nisenan Maidu people lived on and visited the site until the Gold Rush people brought disease with them on their search for gold. 

The site boasts a lovely little museum and walk. Along the walk visitors can view well-worn petroglyphs and hundreds of grinding rocks/mortars used to mash local acorns. Native plants like soap root and rattlesnake grass still exist as well as visuals used primarily to educate groups of elementary school kids.

I’m very happy I finally visited this site whose mission is to protect the site and to share Native American culture. The fresh air was much needed. 

Proud California Poppies

They assure me there is a petroglyph on this Rick but it is too worn to see without close examination

Anyone feel like making acorn mush with me?

Cold Memories of Bryce Canyon

I was thinking recently of our camping trip through Utah and realized I never shared any photos of Bryce Canyon in a proper post.  Bryce was particularly memorable because we camped here in ten degree weather.  Ten degrees! Icicles on the inside of our trailer!  It is this very cold and icy weather, plus erosion, that helps form the interesting geology in the National Park.  The red, orange, and white hoodoo views were spectacular and the hikes warmed us up. There are too many vistas to share so I just picked some of my favorites to show you.

The park skirts along the Colorado Plateau and the Paunsaugunt Plateau.  Bryce is higher in elevation than Zion, @ 8-9000 feet, which makes it cooler.  (Not cool like a 16 year old but cool like a snowman.)  The park is humongous covering 35,835 acres.  There is an 18 mile loop drive that can take you around a good representation of the park providing drivers some spectacular vistas.  But, those who have the time and the legs for it should definitely choose a few of the hikes, short or long, so they can experience the canyon from below.

If you are lucky enough to stay nearby or camp in the park do yourself a favor and be up for sunrise and around for sunset.  The shadows play on the rocks in glorious fashion.

We didn’t have enough time to visit Zion sadly!  Has anyone been there?  Do you have a preference over Bryce?  Or are they both beautiful and you don’t choose one over the other?

To visit other locations in Utah like Arches National Park click here!

Snow Shoes and Winter Colds – Lake Tahoe

Christmas is over.  The presents are unwrapped.   The family has been visited.  Merriment has been spread.  I have a cold to show for it like I do most years.  What to do now?  Find some snow and bring the snow shoes!

I love to snow shoe for a lot of reasons.  Its easy on the body and its free. You can just find some snow, put them on, and go for it.  Unlike skiing which requires expensive lift tickets and dealing with crowds, and for me a whole lot of bruises the next day.

A lot of people enjoy skiing and snow boarding for the rush.  For me I have always preferred a slower pace so I can see and hear and smell and observe the small things like icicles, and bird foot prints, and beautiful vistas.  For these reasons snow shoeing is right up my alley.

Part of highway 89 is always closed in winter for obvious reasons.  We like to drive until we find the road closed and then snow shoe the rest.  In this case we went to Vikingsholm at the magnificent Emerald Bay lookout.  We shoed until we got tired which isn’t boding well for my cold the next day.

We were the only ones there!  We hiked down the trail in thick perfect powder making the first foot prints that didn’t belong to a bird or a deer.  It was awesome and quiet.  The only noise came from the Paddlewheeler giving visitors a nice cold boat tour.  Other than that we heard running water, drips from the icicles, birds calling, and the wind.

 

 

I took this photo because I just couldn’t believe we were there with absolutely no one else.  It’s an amazing feeling to have such a popular and spectacular location all to yourself.  You just have to work a little bit for it I suppose.

No those aren’t Yeti feet.  They are mine!

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If you look closely you can see the tiny tea house built atop the island in Emerald Bay where the original owner would frequently visit many years ago.

It was pretty darn cold

Have you ever gone snow shoeing before?  If not, how do you enjoy the snow?

Happy Holidays everyone!  Thanks, as always, for reading.

Cee’s Shoe & Feet challenge!

To see more information on the glorious Lake Tahoe click here to see my list of things not to miss.

 

Postcards from Squaw Valley, Lake Tahoe

Lake Tahoe is an amazing place.  The vistas are gorgeous in any direction one looks.  Squaw Valley, and this view particularly, has always been one of my favorites.  Sometimes, like I did today, I just drive down to see it, hop out, take a photo, wave, and then continue on to my destination.  It just makes me happy.  The snow here is making everyone in California hopeful for a drought-less summer this year.  (We will need a whole lot more than this.)  I hope the view brings you some joy as well.

These Boots are Made for Walking

The great blog Where’s My Backpack came up with a fun and unusual Travel Theme of Feet!  One could go all over the place with this theme…my feet, animal feet, statute feet, furniture feet, feats of strength…this gives me an excuse to display some of the random photos I have taken while trekking around…

One thing is for sure.  Apparently, I have nothing better to do than to take photos of my feet while wandering through the world! I suppose these photos tell a story of their own separate from those that were taken directly of the attraction I was visiting.  🙂

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Relaxing in Mendocino

Spring Flower Hiking in the California Sierras

Resting at the top of one of the temples of Tikal

Cooling off in Phoenix

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Boonie Crashing at the Arch of Labna in the Yucatan

Searching for Water in California

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Hot Chili and Cool Cars in Rocklin, California

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Mendocino Mushroom Festival

Hiking in El Dorado National Forest

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Standard Beach apparel – Doran Beach

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Giant’s Causeway, Northern Ireland

Botanic gardens – Golden Gate Park San Francisco

I rarely visit San Francisco without visiting Golden Gate Park. My favorite place to visit within the park is the Botanic Gardens. Now charging a small fee for entry I often think I don’t need to visit having been there multiple times before. However, every time I go I am left recharged and looking forward to my next visit back.

The park is broken down by continent and type of tree or bush or plant. One can even experience a garden for the blind which boasts hundreds of odorific plants.

The park is an oasis in the hustle and bustle that is the City by the Bay and is hands down my favorite location in the city.

I would be honored if you would view another of my fun posts on the Japanese Tea Garden in Golden Gate Park by clicking here!

My Lake Tahoe is Your Lake Tahoe

I am so fortunate to live near Lake Tahoe.  Growing up in Sacramento I have long appreciated the fact that I live approximately an hour from some of the most epic destinations in the world.  I live close to San Francisco, the wild California coast, Yosemite, Lake Tahoe, the Sierra Mountains, big trees, Napa, etc, etc, etc.

Growing up I spent a lot of time in Lake Tahoe.  I have never lived there but I have always felt like it was my go to place to escape the heat and lay on the beach even when the water is generally too cold to swim in for very long!  (Remember it is filled up primarily of snow pack run off. Brrr.)

So, people ask me all the time, “What would you recommend to do in Lake Tahoe?”  Well, how much time do you have?  The answer depends on what you are in to because Lake Tahoe has it all and then some.  Gambling, hiking, watersports, world class skiing, great food, bicycling, tubing on the Truckee river, shopping, antiquing, and more.

So, by popular demand below are some of my favorite things to do in Tahoe starting with the 72 mile drive around the lake allowing visitors the luxury of stopping wherever strikes their fancy.

1. Whether you take highway 50 or highway 80 from Sacramento to Truckee and then highway 89 to Tahoe City one must embark upon the 72 mile drive around the Lake. If you do nothing else other than drive around the lake you will be rewarded with some of the most epic views anywhere this side of Switzerland.  If driving around the windy roads isn’t your bag hop on the Tahoe Trolley and help Keep Tahoe Blue with multiple stops around the lake.

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2.  From highway 89 Stop by Squaw Valley, home to the 1960 Winter Olympics, and hopeful home of upcoming Olympics. Ski, mountain bike, take the tram to the top and ice skate, shop at the lovely boutiques, or simply sit and eat in any of the wonderful cafes.  My favorite thing to do in Squaw Valley is to walk the trail in the valley and take in the gorgeous views.  You will quickly forget you are in California and immediately start singing like you are in the Sound of Music.

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3.  Take in some sun at Kiva Beach. I have been going to this beach since I was a girl.  It is quiet and easy to park.  And there is a wonderful walking path towards the beach that takes you through original pioneer buildings at Talloc Historic Site.  The buildings have been updated since I was a tot but they are wonderful in the summer and in the winter if you want to snow shoe in.  You will be rewarded with a lovely beach, great mountain views, pine tree shade canopy, and the sound of the lapping lake.  Just try and not relax in this place!  I dare you.

053014 -44.  Visit Taylor Creek and take in the Rainbow trail. Gorgeous views of the lake can be had at this park.  But most importantly visitors can see the wetlands systems that help keep Tahoe so blue.  They also keep local beavers, salmon, and other fish thriving in their local habitats.  Children can take a small trail teaching them about Smoky Bear and hiking/camping wildfire safety.  Visitors can also enjoy an underground glass fish viewing area particularly interesting when salmon are spawning.

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5.  Rent a bike. The lake has a great trail system and there is no better way to see, smell, and enjoy the lake than on a bike.  It allows you easy access and no parking fees along with the quick ability to stop anywhere.  Keep in mind the elevation changes quickly on the lake so monitor this depending on your skill level and desire to sweat.

6. Visit the Camp Richardson Valhalla Renaissance Fair. Don’t forget to dress up and bring a mug for beer.  This event is wonderful for children with multiple activities to keep their interest occupied from meeting the Queen to learning how to shoot a bow and arrow to learning Renaissance games.  You can even see a real life Parrot show.

7.  Eat at the newly remodeled Burger Lounge if not for the food but for the enormous and amusing sign. Stop by Camp Richardson for an ice cream cone if your calorie count isn’t high enough after your burger and fries.

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8.  Rent a kayak, paddleboard, or canoe. Take them out early in the morning before the waves and current get too strong.  (Trust me, I learned the hard way.)  Carnelian Bay, Pope Beach, Crystal Bay, and Kings Beach all are wonderful places to get out on the water.  But, the important part is that you get out on the water anywhere you can.

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9.  Take in an outdoor concert at Harveys outdoor venue. While there is sadly no lake view it is a wonderful place to take in top musical acts outdoors in the cool summer weather.  Afterwards take in a club or some gambling at any one of the great Casinos.

10.  Spend your gambling winnings by eating at the fantastic and comfortable little organic café Sprouts in South Shore.

11.  Take in the Lake Tahoe Shakespeare festival. While there is no lake view at Harvey’s the Shakespeare festival encourages theatre goers to bring a chair and a blanket and some wine and enjoy the show on the beach.  I doubt Shakespeare ever had this venue in mind when he was writing his plays but it makes perfect sense to me!  Et tu Brute?

12.  Stroll along Truckee’s trendy main street. If you would have asked me years ago if I thought Truckee would be a go too destination I would have laughed.  But, consider staying in Truckee or spending a nice afternoon walking along and enjoying the shops of Truckee.  Multiple interesting and trendy restaurants have popped up as well at breweries to enjoy a pint.  Pay special attention to parking restrictions or the meter maid will give you a ticket!  (I also learned this the hard way.)

13.  Learn about California history at Donner Lake and Donner summit visiting the Donner Party memorial. You can better understand what it really meant for pioneers to travel cross country for the thought of a better life.  And most importantly, you will have a glorious lake view surrounded by more glorious mountain views.  Sit back, close your eyes, smell the pine, hear the birds, and feel the sand in between your toes.

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14.  Visit Cal Neva Tahoe Biltmore & Casino for an Old Tahoe Casino charm and nearby Crystal Bay to admire beautiful architecture and pricey wooden boats.

15.  Visit the Concours d’Elegance where tons of vintage wooden boats are on display.  Visitor’s are even allowed to step on board many of the boats to admire the craftsmanship.

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16.  Take the Heavenly gondola up to the top of the Sierras to get a 360 degree view of the lake and the Carson valley on the other side. You will feel like you are in Switzerland.  When you descend back down to earth visit any one of the fun and youthful outdoor sport clothing shops to buy a new bathing suit or pair of sunglasses.

17.  Lastly, No stop to Lake Tahoe is complete without visiting Emerald Bay. The Bay gets its color from the lake soil and the reflection from the sky.  This spot on Tahoe is one of the most spectacular sites on the lake and arguably in anywhere in California.  Hike down to Vikingsholm to see a wealthy pioneer home built in the style of the Vikings.  See the tea room built on a small island dotting the middle of the Bay.  If you still have energy go the other direction and walk up to Eagle Falls to cool off in the brisk mountain water.

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There is something in Tahoe for everyone.  I have been going here all my life and Tahoe always seems like the place I want to go to relax, to think, to have fun, to go swimming, to hike, to enjoy by myself, with the bulldog, or with a group of friends.  Everyone loves something different about Lake Tahoe, but I dare you to find someone who doesn’t fall in love with it in their own way over and over again every time they visit.

Have you ever visited Lake Tahoe?  Did you visit in the summer or the winter?  Tell me your favorite part of Lake Tahoe!