Outside with Charlie: Autumn hike

By From page A9 | November 01, 2013


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 are already patches.

We probably have a few more weeks of high country hikes in store before we’ll need to get out the snow shoes. Maybe not.

In the meantime, take advantage of the gorgeous fall weather.

A fine hike that isn’t technical is up on the south side of Spooner Summit. A Tahoe Rim Trail trailhead is there and if you make it up there while the aspens are still vibrant, you’ll appreciate it even more.

The first bit of the trail is a series of switchbacks and you’ll be hiking through some aspens at first. That will give way to Jeffery pines, red fir, and doug fir.

Keep a steady pace and stop along the way to take in the lake. You’ll see evidence of faded wild flowers, though not too many.

About a mile and a half in there is a high knoll on the north east side of the trail. As you hike past that, you’ll also notice that it’s pretty steep.

About 10-to-15 meters past the rocky outcropping, you’ll see a couple of faint trails going up the knoll. The trails are faint because the sides of the knoll are largely decomposed granite. Look up. That’s where you are headed.

It is steep, and the trail is loose, so just take your time. It’s relatively short, and when you get to the top it is immediately clear how come you did it.

At the top of this knoll some kind hiker has built a sundial out of rocks. We’ve never seen one on any other hike.

Look to the east and the Carson Valley will span your view. You’ll be looking down at the Nevada desert and the mountain ranges that are on the far side of the valley.

Go over to the west side, and Lake Tahoe is what will greet you. To the north east is Mt. Rose.

This is a fine place to have lunch, relax, and then head back to the trailhead.

Always remember to take the right gear, food and water with you. Check the weather, then head for Spooner Summit and the Tahoe Rim Trail. Get outside!

Charlie Ferris

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