PLACERVILLE, CALIFORNIA
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Charlie Ferris

Outside with Charlie: Winter Weather

One of the constants with the weather reports around here is that they aren’t always as accurate as we’d like. The main reason is that the science behind the predictions amount to very educated guesses. Sunday brought an all day snowfall to Pollock Pines. It wasn’t exactly the forecast. We enjoyed every single flake that fell, and continue to hope […]

Backcountry basics 101

You’ve got new snowshoes or cross country gear so you’re off to the backcountry. How hard could it be? The ads make it look so easy to get out there but staying safe and getting back are a different matter. It is important to know that in the backcountry you are on your own — […]

Outside with Charlie: Maintenance

Winter conditions bring rain, snow, and wind. All of it is good. Along with all of that your gear tends to get gunked up pretty quickly. Whatever it is you are using while enjoying the winter outdoors, maintenance time goes up. No more simply riding your bike on the trails for a couple of hours […]

Outside with Charlie: XC spots

As of now all of the cross country areas around Tahoe are open. Last winter, some didn’t open at all so this is a very good start. There are 14 cross country resorts to choose from. Most have rental gear and almost all have lessons. Hope Valley Cross Country operates on the south side of […]

Outside with Charlie: Sno-Parks

The snow continues to fall, making the high country a magnet for all kinds of snow sports and play. The draw to head to the snow is especially intense this year. If you’ve headed to the snow fields to downhill or cross country ski you may have found a crowded parking lot but you did […]

Outside with Charlie: The New Year

It’s time for the annual role-out of New Year’s Resolutions. This is the year that you become a world class weight lifter, conquer any snow mountain, telemark down any backcountry cliff, ride around Tahoe without breaking a sweat, or run the Western States 100 barefoot, backwards, with a 40-pound pack, and win it, with a […]

Outside with Charlie: Fat bikes

Added to the gear that snow hounds around here can use are fat bikes. They aren’t particularly fat but its rims and tires carry extra bulk. I spoke with Andrew Molinari at Placerville Bike Shop. He said the tires are around 3 1/2 inches wide, some even wider. Rims are wider to accommodate this size. […]

Outside with Charlie: Snowshoeing

Autumn gave over to winter last Monday at 8:49 pm. Monday was the longest night, and shortest day, of the year. From here till the Spring Equinox, the days will slowly get longer, the nights shorter. Winter is here, complete with rain, snow and cold. It’s wonderful! With the snow in the high country giving […]

Outside with Charlie: XC spots

It snowed at my house all day Sunday, meaning it snowed much more up in the mountains — good news for the cross county ski and snowshoe crowd. So far, most of the resort style cross country spots are open. Royal Gorge, an iconic spot off of I-80 opened last week. Tahoe Cross Country in […]

Outside with Charlie: Tree time

We have a little over two weeks of autumn left. Winter will take over on December 22nd. Right now is prime Christmas tree time, all over the county. If you want to take your family out for a great and traditional experience, head to one of the Christmas tree farms in El Dorado County. From […]

Outside with Charlie: Work it off

Thanksgiving is a wonderful time for families, friends, and strangers to share great meals, create enduring memories, and simply enjoy being together. It’s also a time for tossing out any restraint when it comes to that Thanksgiving meal. Those extra helpings, all the way through the long weekend, not only bring satisfied smiles all around, […]

Outside with Charlie: Open trails

What a wonderful Thanksgiving treat! If you are an Alpine skier, you can hit the slopes over this long Thanksgiving weekend. Sierra-at-Tahoe opened last Friday. Thea Hardy, who handles public relations at Sierra, said that while it’s early season conditions and skiers and riders need to pay attention, the conditions on the open trails are simply […]

Outside with Charlie: Use common sense

What a difference a few days can make. Snow has continued to fall, coating the mountains and raising spirits. Most of the alpine ski resorts opened early. They continue to make snow to add to the base that’s already on the ground. The continued cold weather helps and after last year, building up that base […]

Outside with Charlie: Opening dates for local ski resorts

While it may be hard to remember, that white coating on the mountains is that cold slippery stuff known as snow. We didn’t have much of it last year, and certainly not at this time of the year. We had a couple of storms recently that graced the mountains with a very welcome coating of […]

Outside with Charlie: Shorter days

As of last Sunday, the clocks have returned to normal, meaning everything we do, the great outdoors has to change as well. The fall season means the daylight hours get shorter and night time hours get longer. For those of us who head outside to hike, run, cycle, ski, snowshoe and so on, the change […]

Outside with Charlie: Blue Lakes ride

There are some bike rides around here that are always on the list of rides that really must be done. These rides, whether done just once, or at least once each season, bring with them a very real sense of wonder and accomplishment. Some are close in and pretty easy. Both ends of the El […]

Outside with Charlie: Apple Hill

Apple Hill, in full fall frenzy, is the seasonal exposition of all things apple that puts El Dorado County on the map. The season opens around Labor Day and sometime around the end of November it morphs into Christmas Tree cutting time. What the Apple Hill growers bring to El Dorado County are jobs, international […]

Outside with Charlie: Iconic bike ride

Mountain bikes come in quite a few different styles for the professional, or at least, very serious riders. Most people like to ride them when the choice is to head off the pavement and into the woods. These sturdy bikes, with front shocks and rear suspensions allow to ride over most bumps with some degree […]

Outside with Charlie: Last call

If paddling on Lake Tahoe with your canoe or kayaks has been in your plans this year, it’s time to do it. Going now is important. The available places to launch gets limited as state and federal beaches in the Tahoe Basin start shutting down. By the third week of October, most of them close. […]

Outside with Charlie: Fish Festival

Taylor Creek, which flows out of Fallen Leaf Lake up in Tahoe, is a special place throughout the year. Located a tad past the Visitors Center on Highway 89, it takes on a special role this time of year as Kokanee Salmon swim up Taylor Creek to lay eggs, insuring more Kokanee next year. Not surprisingly, […]

Outside with Charlie: Aspiring aspens

Autumn is just around the next bend. August 23 was the Autumnal Equinox, one of two days in the year when daylight and night time hours are equal. After that, daylight hours steadily decrease and there is a general cooling down as well. This is also the time of year when colorful aspens blanket areas […]

Outside with Charlie: Alternatives

The Butte Fire wreaking havoc on our neighbors in Amador and Calaveras Counties is devastating. Hopefully the fire will be more contained as the week progresses, and everyone will stay safe. The smoke that’s generated has made things in El Dorado County very hazy and varies in intensity throughout the day — from a slight […]

Outside with Charlie: Three hikes

Labor Day has come and gone and all schools are back in session. The days are a bit shorter now so there’s less time if you want a simple hike — out of town, in the high country, preferably with a lake involved to relax by. We have just what you’re looking for in our […]

Outside with Charlie: Apple Hill rides

The dog days of summer are here. Less than a month left, which means changes are on the way. If you are a cyclist — it doesn’t matter what kind of bike you ride — and you’ve planned to ride in Apple Hill, now is the time to do it. Once the apple season starts, […]

Outside with Charlie: Horse Canyon

The Horse Canyon trailhead is just east of the Silver Lake Campground and Silver Lake, on the south side of Highway 88. The trail starts off gently enough, taking you past a couple of small meadows. They’re also great places to simply relax if you aren’t intending to go any higher. Continuing past the meadows, […]

Outside with Charlie: Round Top routes

Carson Pass is a magnet for anyone wanting a taste of the mountains. There’s two sides of Carson Pass. On the north side of Highway 88 is the trailhead for Meiss Meadow, which can take you to much more than Meiss Meadow. On the south side of Highway 88, the trailhead leads out to several […]

Outside with Charlie: Thunder Mountain

Now is a good time to hike as the weather has cooled, making for a much better experience on the trails. Consider heading over to Highway 88 and hiking Thunder Mountain. If you’ve been to Silver Lake, you’ve seen a rather incredible wall of lava at the east side of the lake. It’s spectacular. The top […]

Team has golden adventure

The gold panning group representing El Dorado County at the 2015 World Gold Panning Championships in Spain, reported having a pretty fantastic time. Once they landed in Europe, trains and automobiles were lined up and off they went to Navelgas, located in north-eastern Spain, not far from the Bay of Biscay. Each year the gold […]

Outside with Charlie: Crunch time

Next Monday, students who attend one of the four El Dorado Union High School District campuses — Oak Ridge, Ponderosa, El Dorado and Union Mine — return to the classroom. Students enrolled at Golden Sierra High are back Wednesday, Aug. 19. That’s a sign that the ending of summer is just around the corner. What that […]

Outside with Charlie: Going wild

Our area is either bordered by or very close to several national forests. The El Dorado, Tahoe, Stanislaus and Humbolt-Toiyabe are all within easy reach and there’s more to do and see out there than is possible to see in one lifetime. Taking off for a day hike in the forest is relatively easy. Most […]

Outside with Charlie: Pitch a tent

Camping is a wide-ranging term. From your backyard with the kids, to multi-day stays at campgrounds, or several nights under the stars while backpacking, it’s just a pretty big word. It could be that your idea of camping involves a motor home or a travel trailer. Tents of all shapes and sizes are the staple […]

Outside with Charlie: Taxis & trails

A friend asked about the water taxi at Echo Lakes after reading the last Outside column. It’s operated by the Echo Lake Chalet, and runs on a demand basis throughout the day. The cost is $12, each way, and there has to be a minimum of 3 paying passengers for it to make the run […]

Outside with Charlie: Echo Lakes

Echo Lakes is another of the great lakes in the area that offers quite a few choices for anyone headed out into the high country. The turn to Echo is just short of Echo Summit on Highway 50. Like many of the lakes in the area, Echo is either a destination all by itself, or […]

Outside with Charlie: Perfect place

Lakes in the high country can be destinations or jump off points for day trips or longer hikes into the backcountry. Most of the lakes you can drive to have picnic areas, camping, and some way to launch a kayak, canoe, or boat. Wrights Lake, and the area around it, is a perfect place to […]

Outside with Charlie: Happy trails

Summer is here. As county residents are headed into prime hiking time, it’s time to review what to take when you head out for a day hike in the forest. After you have figured out where you will be hiking, get a map that clearly shows the trail or trails that you’ll be on. It […]

Outside with Charlie: Gentler hikes

The weather is perfect for hiking. Up in the Crystal Basin you’ll find the paved trail at Union Valley is a gentle and very nice place to start. The key here is that it is a gently rolling trail with enough ups and downs to make your legs and lungs work without getting into a […]

Outside with Charlie: Enjoy it now

Last week’s rainstorms did a pretty good job of soaking the forest and adding a bit of run-off to the rivers and streams coursing through the mountains and foothills. Lake Tahoe reached its natural rim of 6,223 feet. A little trickle of water, for a short time, flowed into the Truckee River at Fannie Bridge. […]

Outside with Charlie: Choice options

It is a busy time of year. Schools are either already out or will be soon. Summer is about three weeks away, and the list of things to do around here is extensive. The trails are seeing more use, the lakes are welcoming and in the high country, some patches of snow can still be […]

Outside with Charlie: Openings

Memorial Day, which in not a national shopping day, brings with it solemn reminders of all the men and women in our military who died defending our nation. I do hope you took time to be quiet for a minute in recognition of what Memorial Day is actually about. It also marks the unofficial opening […]

Outside with Charlie: Placerville stage?

The 2015 version of the Amgen Tour of California has come and gone. The good news is that the start, in Lake Tahoe this year, came off without a weather-related hitch. The two stages that the pro women’s team pedaled in Tahoe were spectacular. One can only hope the Amgen will return to Tahoe in the near […]

Outside with Charlie: Amgen fever

The Amgen Tour of California has launched. The first Amgen was in February 2006, making this the 10th annual episode of this multi-stage pro cycling race. This year a three day women’s race started in Tahoe and finished in Sacramento on May 10th, the day the men’s race launched on its way to Southern California. […]

Outside with Charlie: Wildflowers?

Every year there is a guessing game that happens in late spring. It’s called “When will the wildflowers bloom in the Sierra?” Most of the time the answer spans a period of time from mid-June to July, depending on the snows of winter. A recent tid bit from Tahoe seemed to indicate that the start […]

Outside with Charlie: Camp openings

A little rain, some snow, and April does what it usually does, which is just about anything when it comes to weather. It was wonderful to have all that rain and snow over the weekend. What the snow in the high country does, even with the warm temperatures this week, is make it a continuing […]

Outside with Charlie: Ready to launch

If you have a boat with a motor, and you want to float it in Lake Tahoe, your choices for launching have dwindled. So far, Sand Harbor, National Avenue in Tahoe Vista, Coon Street in Kings Beach and El Dorado Beach in South Shore won’t open this season. The boat ramp at Ski Beach in […]

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