Saturday, April 18, 2015

Lake Tahoe to Feather River Canyon

From Carson City, Route 50 heads right up and over the mountains to Lake Tahoe.  An entirely different landscape.

Lots of pine trees and this beautiful, clear lake.

Our first stop is at Sand Harbor State Park on Lake Tahoe. This park is on the east side and is a Nevada State Park(no camping).
Well maintained with beautiful beaches  and wonderful mountain views.The group is a college group of friends taking some sun.  You would have to be college age to be in swimsuits at 60 degrees.

Lake Tahoe at 6200 feet elevation is the largest alpine lake in North America. It is also the second deepest US lake at 1645 feet deep, after Crater Lake.

What we notice most is the clarity of the water.

Parts of this cove are over 10 feet deep, yet you can see right to the bottom.

In the 1800's, the locals tested the clarity with a disk and it was clear down to 100 feet.  Now , with runoff pollution, it is down to 65 feet.  Still, pretty impressive.

Jan and I enjoy a great drive north around to the west side of the lake and Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point State Park in Tahoma, California  They are still in winter mode, but they keep 16 sites open year round.

Lady Blue likes her site--dry camping.

This park is situated in a wonderful spot.  There is a bike trail that goes for miles on this side of the lake and then up northwest from Tahoe City for a few miles as well.

There are also miles of hiking trails,including one down to the shore and the Ehrman Mansion. Open for touring in the summer, this is a huge mansion.
27 staff members to run and  11,000 square feet of living space on three floors.

Built in 1903, the first visitors to see the new summer home had a great experience of a train ride  from San Francisco to Truckee. Another train ride to Tahoe City, and then a boat ride on the lake to the mansion. There was no road around Lake Tahoe until 1914.

Once there they were waited on like at a luxury hotel.  Mrs. Ehrman was a wonderful host. The daughter sold the property to the state of California in 1965. This link gives a lot of information about the park. It opens as a pdf file. Scrolling to the bottom of the file gives a great map and trail information. Jan and I hiked the Ronn Beaudry and the General Creek Trails.   Ed Z'berg Sugar Pine Point

This is a view from the Ehrman front yard across to the eastern shore.  You can see the ski slopes and Freel Peak at 10,900 feet.

Jan and I are enjoying the grounds with perhaps 10 other people. In the summer , this is a very popular spot.

In addition to the mansion and the lake shore, the campground roads connect directly to many hiking trails, including the biathlon ski trails from the 1960 Squaw Valley Olympics.

On the trail , Jan is looking up at the trail marker on the tree.  It is blue, about 15 feet above ground.

Okay, the average snowfall here is 12 feet per year.  Since this is a great cross country ski trail, the markers are kept where they can be seen all winter.

You can tell that they are quite proud of hosting the Olympics.

Many firsts were used here.  A snow expert from New Hampshire came to groom the trails with a newly invented machine.  Electronic tabulations and photo finish technology among others.

Jan and I were impressed with the clear marking of all the trails.

One of our friends in back of our camping site.

He is a Steller's Jay.

You would think a picture would be easy, but they stay in the shadows and seem to never stop moving.

From Lake Tahoe, we follow a very scenic drive along Route 89 to Quincy, Ca.

We enjoy stopping at private parks now and then and always have great conversations with owners.

We have to mention that we were happy to stop at Pioneer RV Park.  Their campground was spotless and you could tell that they were working hard to keep it at a 9 to 10 star campground. See the link and listen to his video. Pioneer Rv Park 
As happens when we find a nice town, Jan and I parked in Quincy and did some shopping.  Jan picked up some stamps at the post office and mailed some postcards(hope you get them soon).  We also discovered Quincy Natural Foods with great breads, vegetables, and coffee beans.  A stroll up the street brought us to Jenelli's Bakery and some tasty scones, lemon squares,and bagel.  There was also a branch of our bank in town and we had some questions which were answered very professionally and friendly.

Route 89 is a more western route than 395 going north.  We noticed a lot--a lot!!- of National Forest campgrounds along the way. But they were all listed as not opening for  2 to 6 weeks.  Luckily we stopped at the Ranger Headquarters in Quincy and asked. Turned out that some had opened early. Yea!!!
Off we go , turning west on Route 70 following the Feather River.  This is one of the most popular scenic driving routes in the state of California.  This is also the lowest passage east/west through the Sierra Nevada.  Too bad the Donner party didn't know about this one.  This link is for the Donner Party( if you are not familiar--not for the queasy) Donner Party
The Donner Pass on Route 80, north of Lake Tahoe, is named for that disaster.

A turn onto Caribou Road brings us up the North Fork of the Feather River to a great campground, Gansner Bar.

Our site is right on the river with lots of trees, butterflies, flowers, birds, and some otters.

One half mile below us is the Caribou Crossroads.  An all in one market, cafe, post office, rv park and cabins.  You name it.

Of course we had lunch here, a great Philly Cheese Steak and Fish and Chips.

It is also a well known stop on the Pacific Crest Trail. There are notebooks where hikers leave messages.  A grandmother there also mentioned that a Trail Angel lived close by.  Trail Angels will give hikers a comfortable bed and food for a break from the trail.

The PCT starts in Mexico and goes all the way to Canada for 2,650 miles.  Recently, some of you may have watched the movie Wild, starring Reese Witherspoon.  This is supposed to be the halfway point on the trail.

The North Branch is almost 102 miles long.  There are many other branches of the Feather , all combining to provide much of the water for Californians.

A big part of the rivers is fishing.  Lots of fishing with managed stocking of trout for the season.

This sign indicates that with the opener and a fishing contest, our quiet campground will be anything but next weekend.

Lots of possibilities here.  There is this view from our campsite.

But also, a number of wild flowers in bloom.

Since the road is so quiet, Jan and I hike for five miles up to Queen Lily Campground and back.

Along the way are many wildflowers and blooming trees.

Wild poppies are all along the roadway.  We remember a whole section last year on the road up to Yosemite.

Sometimes, simple ground cover.

Or a whole section of what looked to us like the Bluebonnets of Texas.

By the river were these single bloom plants.

They looked to us like a kind of Beebombs.

These red flowers were happy on the hillsides.

A more familiar one was this dogwood down by the river.

This massive pipe over Caribou Road is supposed to be a water pipe delivering water from Lake Almanor to more western Californians.

If you click on the picture, you might see these butterflies better.  They kept landing facing away from us.  So , you are looking at their colorful backsides.

Lots of geckos in Southwest US.  There are different kinds and sizes.  This one was in our campground. He always loved this rock and often would not move---it was his rock!!!


  1. As always. Beautiful pictures. Enjoying your trip.
    Ed and Carol

    1. Hi Ed and Carol,
      We have been thinking of you. All kinds of places we say that Ed and Carol would probably love to stop. Are you still awaiting a new Twin King?