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Charlie Ferris

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 […]

Ownership change revives Sorensen’s

Editor’s note: This is part II of a look at the history of Sorensen’s Resort. Johan Hultin had quite a vision for Sorensen’s and Hope Valley. Depending on how you look at it, things either turned out not so well for Hultin, or turned out very well for Sorensen’s Resort and Hope Valley in general. […]

Outside with Charlie: Hiking season

This is probably the last week for downhill skiing at most of the resorts in Tahoe. Squaw Valley, Northstar, Kirkwood, Mt. Rose, Heavenly, and Boreal are listing Sunday as their last day for this season. Bear Valley over on Highway 4 will close too. The storm that blew through early last week helped keep the resorts […]

Outside with Charlie: Fine-tuned

Snow is predicted to fall on and off this week — just where and how much won’t be known until it’s over. It’s that time of year when your plans can be changed by how the storm door works. What would be nice is a massive blast of snow. Right now though, we’ll take anything. […]

Travels to resort have produced many stories

The story of Sorensen’s Resort is complex. From the first actual cabin built in 1907, through the years to what it is now. The resort has been an ever evolving story of determination, gumption, blind faith and luck. Travel through Hope Valley long ago was very different from it is today. Travelers, on foot, horse, […]

Outside with Charlie: Shoulder season

Skiing is getting less likely as each warm day goes by. Currently, Heavenly, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, Northstar, Boreal, Kirkwood, and Mt. Rose remain open. Alpine Meadows will close April 5. Generally, the season between shutdown of the resorts and full-on late spring/summer activities is much later, referred to as the shoulder season. This year, […]

Outside with Charlie: Spring’s here

Winter handed off the reins to spring on March 20th, bringing with it a small bit of snow overnight on the 22d. It was good to see it, and to have rain in the places where it doesn’t snow. If anyone has a direct line to the head of the Weather Gods Union, call them. […]

Outside with Charlie: Closures

By now you may have heard that Sierra-at-Tahoe has suspended operations due to the lack of snow. General Manager John Rice said that the lack of new snow, coupled with the recent warm temperatures, has made it necessary to shut the slopes down for now. Sierra-at-Tahoe is known for its varied terrain and very friendly/family […]

Outside with Charlie: Extra light?

Once again, the clocks have been pushed forward as daylight savings time has landed. Before anyone starts hopping with glee about the extra hour of daylight, take a breath. There is no extra hour of daylight. The only thing that happened is that the clocks were set ahead an hour. Sun rise and sunset haven’t […]

Outside with Charlie: Keep the hope

A nice, cold storm blew through over the weekend and Monday. It wasn’t a drought buster by any means. It did coat the high country with a bit of wonderful, powdery snow. The amounts varied from around 6-8 inches in Hope Valley, to over a foot at South Lake Tahoe. Sierra-at-Tahoe reported over 17 inches, while […]

Outside with Charlie: Snowshoe trek

Up Highway 88 there’s some good news for the snowshoe and cross country crowd. It’s hard to imagine when you drop down from Luther Pass onto Highway 89 and  see Hope Valley devoid of snow, but there are a couple of possibilities. A small bit of snow dropped over the weekend and added a few […]

Outside with Charlie: Finding snow

Despite the snow that recently graced the mountains, it’s still slim pickings for the cross country crowd. The downhill resorts made out pretty well though, and reported up to 40 inches of new snow at the top of their mountains. New snow is always good, especially if you are running a ski resort of any […]

Outside with Charlie: Some snow

The storm door has cracked open a bit. The recent storms brought high winds, lots of rain, and in the high country, snow. Now if the East Coast would just ship its storms out here … The resorts in Lake Tahoe, the ones that are open, all reported good new snow and very good ski […]

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