Charlie Ferris

Outside with Charlie: Options

Winter is just about here. From here until the Vernal Equinox in March, the days slowly get just a bit longer. It’s subtle,  don’t ditch your flashlights just yet. What we all hope for is a robust dumping of snow. It’s good for the ski resorts and all kinds of snow sports. The forest does […]

Outside with Charlie: Snow! :)

You probably have noticed that friends who ski, snowboard, or snowshoe are sporting great big smiles. The snow that fell Friday and Saturday coated the Sierra with a superb coating of light, powdery snow. Late autumn storms like this one give a huge boost to the ski resorts. While they have been busy making snow […]

Outside with Charlie: Essentials

Daylight savings time is over. Autumn continues its colorful march through the trees and forests. It is a completely wonderful time of year. For those of us who enjoy wandering about in the forest it’s also a time of year to fully understand the changes, and to respond to those changes. Since we are back […]

Outside with Charlie: Autumn hike

The transition into autumn is always gorgeous. Down in the valley, it really doesn’t mean much. In the mountains, the change is much more than simply losing daylight. The cold fronts that make their way into our area bring rain and snow to the mountains. Up in the high reaches, on the north slopes, there […]

Community Gift Trees go up

Community Gift Trees will be up from Tuesday, Nov. 5 to Monday, Dec. 9. The tree is an opportunity for the community to share the gift of giving. The Community Gift Tree is a collaborative effort started in 2006 between the El Dorado County Office of Education, Child Development Program and Choices for Children. These […]

Outside with Charlie: Fall colors

The autumn display of color in Hope Valley is well under way with the trees showing their colors in wildly differing patterns. A recent trip along Highway 88 revealed absolutely gorgeous trees, ones thinking about being gorgeous, and ones done with it all. Another annual color show is at Taylor Creek, about three miles north […]

Outside with Charlie: Changing colors

Autumn blew into town on wings of wind, rain and snow last month. Now it’s time to take advantage of this wonderful time of year. One of the big questions is about the aspens in the high country. Eagerly anticipated is the hope for annual show of reds, golds, yellows and browns in the aspen […]

Outside with Charlie: Autumn’s in the air

We are in the waning ‘Dog Days’ of summer, aptly named because Sirius, the dog star, is on stage in the sky. There’s about two weeks of summer left. The autumnal equinox is Sept. 22, at 1:44 pm. PDT, marking the end of the long days/shorter nights we’ve enjoyed. On Sept. 22, day and night […]

Outside with Charlie: Kayak/canoe fun

Kayaks and canoes anyone? This is a really good time to launch your kayak or canoe in one of the fine lakes that are close by. If you’ve never been in a kayak or canoe, now is a good time to change that. They really aren’t that tippy, despite the myths about them. The flat […]

Wonderland of mountains and lakes

Camping in the nearby high country is one of the benefits of living in our neck of the woods. August comes good camping weather. It’s time to pack your gear and get up to the mountains while there’s still time. The Crystal Basin Recreation Area has more camping opportunities than you may think possible. One […]

Outside with Charlie: Take a hike

Every year there is the great question of when the wildflowers will be in full bloom up in the high country. Carson Pass and the trail to Lake Winnemucca is the local gold standard of color for quite a few people. Timing a trip to catch everything at the most brilliant best is a gamble […]

Outside with Charlie: Hope Valley

The goal with very young children on hiking trails is to get them started early to build an appreciation for the great outdoors. If your child did well on hikes around Sly Park Lake, Granite Lake above Silver Lake and then to Lake Margaret without being carried, this hike is the next step. Hope Valley is […]

Outside with Charlie: Low-tech hike

After you have taken the youngest hiker in your family around Sly Park, or up to Granite Lake, what’s next? Lake Margaret. The trailhead for Lake Margaret is just east of the Kirkwood Cross Country Center on Highway 88. The entire 5 mile round trip hike is a series of gentle ups and downs and starts with […]

Behind the scenes of Sierra’s offseason

The last day of skiing is always bitter-sweet before fond farewells and the long wait till next season. Sometime in late November or early December, if we’re lucky, it snows enough to head back to the slopes and start skiing all over again. You drive up to Sierra-at-Tahoe and everything is ready. The staff is on […]

Outside with Charlie: Starting young

Since we live in an area that has more trails than one can possibly count, you may wonder what is needed to introduce a young child to the joys of hiking. When your little one is capable of walking around most of the day, without having to be carried too much, it’s probably time. There […]

Outside with Charlie: Call of the wild

This is a time of year to tune up the hiking legs, check the gear and choose a destination. The Sierra to the east of Placerville has many choices for hiking and this time of year is perfect for short, awe-inspiring jaunts into the forest. Prior to taking off for the mountains, always check the […]

Outside with Charlie: Changing seasons

It’s transition time for those who feel being outside a necessity. Bike trails are clear of snow and seasonal businesses have switched from skis to bikes. The bike trail running along Highway 89, past Camp Richardson, Valhalla, the Tallac Estates, and the Visitors Center, is a wonderful place to ride. If you ride the trail, […]

Outside with Charlie: Changing seasons

The time of year has come that puts everyone who heads outside for fun in a bit of a pickle. Just exactly what is it that you are going to do? The ski resorts have started the season pass dance and the price is about as inexpensive as it’s going to get. If you are […]

Outside with Charlie: Spring at Sierra

The vernal equinox, otherwise known as the first day of spring, rolled in this morning at 7:02 as spring took over from old man winter who’s apparently rather tired. For the ski crowd, it’s been spring skiing conditions. Icy in the mornings, a bit slushy in the afternoons. In the shaded spots, it’s a bit […]

Outside with Charlie: Gunk, guck and grit

Riding your bike on the road, in the moutains or around town in winter always brings with it some road crud that starts to coat your ride. Wet weather in the valley, snow and ice in the high country, are part of the winter scene around our area. The best of intentions to keep all […]

Outside with Charlie: Stamina’s the key

“More snow please.” Apparently, that plea worked. There’s a nice new layer of the white fluffy slippery stuff up in the high country. We really need it, and more. “There’s too much snow!” is a term I don’t understand. The resorts, skiers, and boarders are thrilled with the new snow. Snow, like many things, is […]

Outside with Charlie: Scenic treks

Snowshoe enthusiasts have to go high into the mountains for good conditions. The area around Echo Summit is a good place right now. Echo Summit is 7,382 feet in elevation. Just short of the summit if you come from the west is Johnson Pass Road. Take this road and drive 1/2 mile to the Snow Park. The […]

Outside with Charlie: Making tracks

Those of us who head into the back country on cross country skis or snowshoes are a typically independent lot. Getting away from the crowds and enjoying the solitude and beauty of the unspoiled forest trump the ease of skiing at a resort. The quietude and wonder of being on the snow, in the winter […]

Outside with Charlie: Get your snowshoes on

Snow, white, fluffy, powdery, slippery. That’s what we have going up in the mountains right now. Starting at Pollock Pines, it just gets better and deeper as you drive up to Lake Tahoe. The cold front that made our teeth chatter for the last couple of weeks has kept the snow that’s fallen from melting […]

Outside with Charlie: Avalanche awareness

Snow in the mountains always brings unfettered joy and fun. But Snow in the mountains also means avalanches. Recently, Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows, and Donner Ski Ranch had avalanches in which skiers were trapped and subsequently died. If avalanches can happen at the ski resorts, what happens in the back country? What happens are avalanches. Some […]

Outside with Charlie: Let it snow

Skiing over the winter break is the dream of all skiers and snowboarders. It’s not always possible. Some years there’s just not much snow at Christmas time. Other years, like now, we get lucky. The storms coming in just before the schools get out for the winter break are swinging down out of our chilly […]

Outside with Charlie: Less rain needed

Just when it looked like a never-ending season of snow, the pineapple express shows up. Lots of moisture coming out of the pacific straight from Hawaii, which when translated means “warm,” meeting up with the low pressure that pushes it onshore. The result is rain, lots of it. The other result is high snow levels. […]

Outside with Charlie: Turkey day skiing

Look east. The mountains are white. Ski season is here and it looks more and more like skiing on Thanksgiving will be more than a token run here and there this year. The early storms put down a good blanket of base and everyone who could blow snow, blew it, big time. The result is […]

Outside with Charlie: Some snow, more needed

Looking east at our local slice of the Sierra, snow has blanketed the high country. A couple of ski resorts have already had skiers and boarders make tracks: Squaw Valley opened for a day, and Boreal is open for very limited hours, on limited runs. Most of the rest of the resorts will stick to […]

Outside with Charlie: Fall colors

Right about now, every year, the same question pops up. Are the aspens in Hope Valley changing yet? The annual question is much like the one about the wildflower blooms around Carson Pass in spring. The color show is a rolling one. Hope Valley, as of recently, is starting to look pretty good. There is […]

Outside with Charlie: Salmon, bears & beer

October brings shorter days, cooler temperatures and fine, colorful fall foliage. At Lake Tahoe, it also brings salmon, bears and Oktoberfest. This weekend (Oct. 6-7) is the annual Kokanee Salmon Festival at the Taylor Creek Visitors Center. The center is located three miles north of the “Y,” on Highway 89. This is a fantastic family […]

Outside with Charlie: Two fine Autumn hikes

Summer faded out rather graciously, with a soft and colorful sunset. Autumn has whispered in right on time and brought with it beautiful hiking weather. The days will get a bit shorter each day and the light will change. With some luck, the high country will show reds, golds, and yellows soon. Here are two […]

Outside with Charlie: Echo Lake

Echo Lake is a beautiful spot to visit any time of the year. Located just shy of Echo Summit, the lake is easily accessible right up until it snows. There are actually two lakes here, Upper and Lower Echo Lakes. During the summer season, the Echo Lake Chalet is open. They close after Labor Day […]

Outside with Charlie: Go camping

Summer ends in a little over three weeks. September 22 is the Equinox. Daylight and night will be equal in terms of time, hence the title “Equinox.” Autumn begins, and the days get shorter, the nights longer, in small but steady increments. What to do with the remaining bits of summer? Enjoy it with camping […]

Outside with Charlie: Two cool lakes

August has arrived, bringing with it a lot of heat. Beating the heat can be done. A trip to the pool, park, river, or lake can take the edge off a hot summer day. Getting into the higher mountains, though, means cooler temperatures. Along Highway 88, a treasure trove of outdoor opportunities, Caples Lake sits […]

Outside with Charlie: Horsetail Falls

Horsetail Falls is a spectacular sight any time of year, cascading down a jumble of granite that feeds Pyramid Creek. Located just off US Highway 50 at Twin Bridges, the trail head and parking lot are easy to get to. The trail head has toilets and water, and a pretty good map of the Loop […]

Outside with Charlie: Eye popping hike

The Highway 88 corridor is not only supremely beautiful, it’s also easily reached from El Dorado County. All along its path are places to fish, hike, ride and paddle your canoe or kayak. The views from the ridgetops are world-class eye poppers. Choosing a hike along here is relatively easy. For anyone looking for a short […]

Outside with Charlie: Outdoor adventures

Hiking season is on and it looks to be a good one. Two recent trips to the high country have been very nice, with great weather and an appreciation for the beauty of El Dorado County and neighboring Alpine County. The last time I wrote about Carson Pass, there was still a bit of snow […]

Outside with Charlie: Canoeing or kyaking

June is coming to a close. It’s brought summer to us, along with all of the typical ups and downs of June weather. We are surrounded by some of the greatest lakes anywhere, varied in size, altitude and boating possibilities. If you haven’t been out in a canoe or kayak, it’s a good time of year […]

Outside with Charlie: Take a hike

June always comes with weather surprises. From sunny and warm to storms that drop the snow level to 4,000 feet, it’s an interesting month for the outdoor crowd. Early season hiking is here, finicky weather and all. Keep in mind that the higher into the mountains, the more likely you’ll find snow on the trail. This […]

Outside with Charlie: Outdoor adventure awaits

The Memorial Day weekend was a mix of snow, hail, rain, wind and sunshine. The unofficial start of summer wasn’t at all summery. It rarely is. Take heart though. The opportunities to get outside and have fun grow by the day. Just look east to the Crystal Basin and the melting snow fields. The American […]

Outside with Charlie: Spring highs and lows

With sunny and mostly mild spring temperatures, the spread of outdoor recreation opportunities just continues to grow. While everything is in bloom here in the lower elevations, the higher reaches are still working towards budding out. Along Highway 50, the American River is flowing fast as river kayakers are taking full advantage of the spring […]

Outside with Charlie: Unplug this week

Are you and yours spending too much time tethered to the electronic grid? If so, perhaps it’s time to assess what you are able to do outside instead of inside. Screen Free Week asks that you do something very simple. Unplug yourself from the TV, Internet, and the various other electronic devices that you spend […]

Outside with Charlie: Springtime is the right time

Ski season is rapidly winding down. Most of the resorts will close between April 15 and April 22. Back country skiers will have a bit more time if they head to the high country. The recent snows have added to the snow pack, but this time of year typically sees a dwindling number of skiers […]

Special Publications »

Use of this site constitutes acceptance of our Terms of Service (updated 4/30/2015) and Privacy Policy (updated 4/7/2015).
Copyright (c) 2015 McNaughton Newspapers, Inc., a family-owned local media company that proudly publishes the Daily Republic, Mountain Democrat, Davis Enterprise, Village Life and other community-driven publications.