Outside with Charlie: Some snow, more needed

By From page A8 | November 07, 2012


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 their original plans of opening around November 21.

Steven Hemphill, Communications Director at Sierra-at-Tahoe, said that the 21st is still their target opening day. Of course, if enough white gold floats down, that could change. It isn’t likely, but snow sports people are hopeful.

The outdoor opportunities around here are still extremely good. Snow just adds to the mix. The trails in the high country at about 5,500 feet, are snow-covered, meaning snow shoes required, while Telemark and Randonee skiers have to hike higher to find skiable terrain.

For everyone who isn’t particularly fond of snow, or cold, or both, autumn still has wonderful opportunities for hiking, cycling, kayaking, or just taking a fine walk on a colorful autumn day.

The El Dorado Trail, both sections of it, are particularly nice right now. The colors are building and that unique autumn fragrance is in the air. Perhaps one of the nicer aspects of the trail is that it is close to Main Street for an after trail coffee and crumpet at Zia’s, Centro, or the Cosmic Cafe.

Sly Park in Pollock Pines is very colorful right now and the trails surrounding the lake are relatively dry. The same thing goes for Ferrari Mill Road and Fleming Meadows. Iron Mountain Road (Mormon Emigrant Trail) has snow on the east end. Unless you are sure of what the conditions are, and/or have 4 wheel drive, don’t count on being able to get through to Highway 88.

The Crystal Basin is generally good, as SMUD does an exceptional job keeping the Ice House Road open. The road to Wrights Lake is closed though.

Cronan Ranch Park is a spectacular place at this time of year for hiking, mountain biking, or leisurely strolls.

Go over the county line a bit and float your kayak or canoe at Lake Natoma. The shore line along the lake is beautiful and autumn has made an impression here too. Sly Park is open for your boats, too.

Cyclists can enjoy most of their regular routes, with one exception. Apple Hill, from Friday through Sunday, is a car park, stem to stern, and is a bad place for a bicycle.

A walk around Main Street in Placerville at this time of year is a joy. The shops have their autumn finery on display, as do the trees surrounding the area.

Autumn is a special time of year in our county. Get outside and enjoy it.

Charlie Ferris

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