Outside with Charlie: Changing seasons

By From page A11 | May 10, 2013


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, you’ll find that Pope and Baldwin Beach, along with the Visitors Center and the Tallac Estates, are closed. Farther up at Sugar Pine Point, good bike trails in Tahoe begin to Tahoe City and another to Squaw Valley.

If that’s a stretch, drive to Tahoe City, park, get on your bike and follow the trail to Squaw Valley. Superb ride and uncrowded but it won’t be when July and August arrive.

On the other hand, we have our own El Dorado Trail with wildflowers all over the place. Just because Daffodil Hill closed early due to weather doesn’t mean there aren’t any wildflowers to enjoy.

Due to the lackluster winter, snow in the high country will be gone sooner than normal. Early spring is a joy all over the west slope and into the Tahoe Basin as possibilities to get outside pop up. With every bit of snow melt, more of the high country calls out.

Greeted with a snow field while hiking up in the mountains is normal in early spring. While the snow looks good and solid, you just don’t know what’s under it.

All the water you’ve stepped over on the way up the trail came from the snow. It’s called, oddly enough, “under-melt.” What is created is a snow bridge.

At some point physics takes over and the snow bridge won’t hold your weight. And keep in mind that snow changes everything. The tracks you left may not be there when you come back.

Losing the trail, and having to search around for it, deep in the forest, is an unnerving experience.

Remember to dress in layers, synthetic ones. It’s still plenty cold in the mountains, especially when the sun rolls out of sight.

Enjoy the spring weather. Stay safe. Get outside!


Charlie Ferris

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