Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Donner Lake, Granite Chief, Tahoe: Hike and Bike Sierra Weekend

Man, it has been a busy week!
I'm glad to reflect on last weekend and look forward to this one coming up.

Last Friday after work we hopped in the car and drove up to our family cabin at Donner Lake (near Truckee). This is a change for us as usually we use the cabin in the winter when camping conditions aren't ideal. It was nice to sleep with the doors and windows open in the house and not have to climb over 5 feet of snow to get to the front door!

The van hung out in the parking spot:

On Saturday morning we had a leisurely breakfast in front of the TV (the cabin has cable--WAY more channels that we get at home...although we usually end up watching HGTV endlessly...). (And yeah, that's a mattress on the floor...the pull out bed is bad and the floor mattress is only marginally better..)

The dogs hung out:

And look who we brought! Brucie!

We went for a short walk with the dogs, and then got ready to go for a bike ride. The dogs would spend the morning napping in the van while we explored the Tahoe area on two wheels! We rode from our cabin at Donner over to Truckee, rode around there looking for an elusive bike path (we found it, it was nice but short), then rode out highway 267 to Tahoe.

267 goes from Martis Valley (low) to Brockway Summit (high) to Kings Beach (lower but not as low as Martis Valley). That is one heck of a climb!! I'm glad I didn't really know what I was getting myself into! We then rode over to Tahoe City and then back to the cabin via Highway 89. Very nice, about 53 miles total. (And I gave myself bonus points for that big climb.)

The bike path we found near downtown Truckee. Good place to walk dogs!
I was out of breath while taking this photo.
After our great ride, husband ate some lunch and then left me at home with the animals to go to a truckee-river-float-themed batchelor party for a work friend. I had the afternoon to myself to rest (and, work! I had a bunch of stuff to do relating to my job as a board member/secretary/editor for a local non-profit). 

So, I set up a mini home office in this wonderful setting:

But first, I was starving. 

So I got out the ancient retro-cool blender.

And filled it with strawberries I had frozen in late spring, plus frozen sliced bananas, a little vanilla ice cream, and some milk.

Retro-cool blender still works pretty good! I'm sure this machine is older than I am.

Perfect lazy afternoon work snack. 

Views from my weekend home office (in real life there is more lake)
Weird dog chilled out in the cat bed.

Lazy dog chilled out on our bed!
The dogs and I went on a couple of walks around the neighborhood to stretch our legs. 

Relaxing neighborhood walk. Off leash! nice.
Views of Donner!
Then Adam came home. He got some snuggles from Dude:

That night we made *amazing* dinner: smashed potatoes with blue cheese, 
grilled pork chops, grilled summer squash, and brownies. 

The next morning, we relaxed and I made some buckwheat pancakes, 
fresh eggs, bananas, and jasmine green tea. 

After that, husband went out to wash the van...our water at home is so hard that it coats everything with mineral grime, so washing at the cabin is a good choice since the water is much better there!

Yes, he's on top of the van. And yes, the van looks really big from this angle. And yes, the van is actually just really big.
After van washing we packed up the dogs (left Bruce at the cabin) and went for a hike out of the Alpine Meadows area to the Five Lakes Basin in the Granite Chief Wilderness.

This hike is a varied one, as we went through forest, exposed scrubby slopes, granite, and back into a green valley. The lakes basin isn't spectacular (a lot of folks don't realize they've passed all of the lakes)--but if you want to explore there are some good swimming areas. We went past the lakes onto the PCT and got some views of Sierran valleys. It was nice! There were a few mosquitos in the shady areas and around the lakes so I'd recommend bug spray of some sort if you go up there soon. 

Phlox (white/lavender) and Penstemon (pink).
Sierra valley views! Lovely.
Unfortunately this is as good as the portraits got during the weekend.
After our hike, we went back to the cabin and got Bruce and drove home. It was a very nice weekend! I'd recommend the Five Lakes Basin hike if you want to explore around some small (semi-hidden) lakes. You might want to go early, though--it was busy on the trail and we started around 9:30am. 

Looking forward to more weekends like this soon! Have a good week!

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