No Rush

Have you ever met someone who is never in a hurry? Can you think of someone who always seems to be in a hurry? I tend to lean toward the latter. As much as I have longed to be just someone who can say, “I’ll get to it when I get to it. It will wait,” I am not that person (yet). It’s as if I think that if I keep at it I’ll reach that magical point when all the duties and chores will just be done, as in finished – never to need an update or revisit. And that if I don’t get right to it in the mean time, it will pile up and bury me alive. Oh, drama! hahaha!

To be fair to those like-minded individuals, life sometimes just demands an extended period of busyness. But maybe we could still try to take a minute in the short windows between the next thing to do or place to be. I’m mostly talking about a mindset.

-Lake Tahoe-

Those who are never in a rush seem to possess a secret way to navigate life’s demands without panic over the when, where, how it will all get done. I haven’t figured it out yet, but I have learned to take the initiative to lean into the current more freely than I used to. One of our family members recently said how she loved the wave pool at the water park – the one with so many stories of people having a near-drowning experience in it. It’s tough to know what the waves will do once you’re at their mercy, so many panic and fight them. Another family member said that the LAZY river was his favorite. I laughed at him choosing that over all the other exhilarating experiences the park has to offer. He’s got the idea!

-Lake Tahoe- near sunset

It’s wonderful how different we all are. We can watch and learn from each other. Different stages of our lives hold different priorities. Different people enjoy different things. One of the gifts that can give us time and inspiration to consider those values and reflect on how to live them and where we are in it all is the beauty of God’s creation.

-Lake Tahoe- very windy day

It is not always possible for a get-away or for a retreat into the mountains to hike or to soak in the sun on a beach, but given the opportunity for even an hour or two outside for refreshment, I will take it. That’s when I find it easiest to forget about my to-do lists and my worries.

-Lake Tahoe – looking as vast as the sea

This last weekend we were able to spend a few days at Lake Tahoe. Last year we stayed at the same time of year, before the official start to summer, and it is just the best way to experience the lake! There is NO RUSH. There are no crowds blocking the way or standing in lines. It’s quiet and peaceful. Starting just next week, that will all change for the next few months. People come from all over the world to visit this magnificent lake, and they are willing to make their way through the sea of tourists. It’s that great a place!

-near Nevada Beach on Rabe Meadows Trail-

We stayed at Zephyr Point in an old cozy cabin that had a wood burning fireplace. That was our favorite thing – the crackle of the wood and the movement of light that performed so beautifully to create a sit-and-stay atmosphere. Just what we dreamed for our weekend.

-cabins at Zephyr Point-

The Zephyr Point Conference Center where we stayed is a Christian organization. These pillars have the names of the four gospels engraved on them: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John

A couple cabins down from ours was the first cabin built on the grounds – 1920s (I believe the barista said) and is now a coffee spot. Cozy, nostalgic, and great coffee!

I will take as many opportunities as I get to enjoy the warm weather and the sunrises, sunsets that happen every single day. Some of my favorite pictures throughout the years are those I took all alone on an early morning walk before that day’s hustle and bustle demanded my attention. I’ll try to remember and notice and drop the “hurry” more often.

A Little Walk, A Lot Of Beauty

So much uncertainty surrounding us these days. More than I can remember in my lifetime (collectively, as mankind). It does my heart and mind infinitely good to get out and be surrounded by CREATION, which reminds me with clarity of the One True God.

View from the trail that runs along the bottom of the mountains at Hidden Valley Regional Park

Scooby and I arrived at the Hidden Valley Regional Park at around 7:20 a.m. The sign says that the park doesn’t open until 8:00 a.m., but the gate and the bathrooms were already open. Thank goodness (coffee drinker)!

Located in South Reno, the chances of seeing wild horses dotting the landscape, and even up close, are pretty good.

I took these two photos of the horses at a previous visit to the park.

There is a dog park that is always full of people and their beloved companions. It really doesn’t matter what time of the day, there are always dogs running around playing in that portion of the park.

My sweet puppy, Scooby, however, does not handle encountering other dogs without extreme excitement. He expresses himself in such a way that people have looked at us with judgment, concern, fear, and pity as they pass by us. Scooby only wants to play, but he can’t contain his hysteria. His yelps sound like there are four or five coyotes carrying on at once. I don’t know how he does it – some sort of vocal trick! He jumps and yanks on the leash and WILL NOT settle down. We’ve tried everything, and it all works a little, at first. Inevitably, he gets too crazy to calm down anyway. He is getting better, but he has a looooong way to go.

Here, he can hear or smell the horses we had seen previously, but disappeared out of sight. I saw them before he did (thankfully) and we promptly turned to a different direction!
He always turns around to check on me when we are out walking.

So thankfully, at this park, there are also trails along and in the surrounding mountains where you can see for miles and miles, literally. When the day is clear you can see nearly the entire valley and the surrounding mountains in the distance. The views are stunning and as a safety net for dog hysteria, we can keep an eye on any potential dog traffic!

A couple times the fog engulfed us and the trail nearly disappeared. You can spot a few horses on the upper left side of the photo.
You can see the Grand Sierra Resort peeking out through the fog where you normally can see all of downtown Reno.

Scooby does best when we are somewhere way out with no other dogs or people and we can let him off his leash. He stays near us and comes back at our calls. I wasn’t going to dare to do that here, though we were just about alone, because I don’t know what he’d do if he encountered the wild horses. I could end up on the news!

The thing to see this morning was the uncharacteristic fog that blanketed our valley. When I set out to head to Hidden Valley with my dog for a morning walk, I didn’t know what a bonus I would get. I had packed my camera because it’s always beautiful up there, but I was extra glad that I did.

I’ve said it before, and I will probably say it many more times; Nevada is beautiful!

Lake Tahoe – A Big Deal

Living so close to one of the most beautiful places in the world can tempt one to take that place for granted. When my husband and I were deciding where to spend our vacation week, we discussed several options that would have meant some extended travel. But when we had the idea to stay close to home to save travel time and the expense of traveling a considerable distance, we knew our choice would be Lake Tahoe.

sailboat on Lake Tahoe at dusk from our vantage point on our front porch

The outdoor entertainment options around the stunning Lake Tahoe area are plentiful. We discover something new to see or do almost each time we visit. During our stay, we hiked around the nearby Glen Alpine Lake and stopped in at Fallen Leaf Lake to take in the sights.

from top left, clockwise: waterfalls at Fallen Leaf Lake, Glen Alpine Lake, cabins at Glen Alpine Lake, Glen Alpine Lake from other side, countryside on way to Fallen Leaf Lake, coyote on way to Fallen Leaf Lake, another vantage point of Glen Alpine Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake, Fallen Leaf Lake

Our vacation spot of choice last week was at Camp Richardson, just a short drive from South Lake Tahoe, right on the famous lake itself. As many times as we’ve driven past the signs, we’ve never turned in to investigate what exists beyond the inviting entrance. We could see there were cabins and decided that sounded like a positively lovely way to spend our time off.

sunset view from our cabin
my husband – playing his guitar at dusk

Now, it helps that we went in May, before the rush of summer tourism, but our time there was truly dreamy. The cabin was so reasonably priced that we didn’t know what to expect. The dwelling was perfectly clean and cozy and comfortable. We could not believe our good fortune when we pulled up to the cabin that had our reservation’s name on it. It was front and center – nothing in between (aside from a few tall, venerable pines) us and the deep blue vastness that is Lake Tahoe! “What?!” I laughed. “How did we score this?”

We saw other people here and there during our stay, but for the most part, the grounds and the beach were our own!

We were there a couple weeks before all of the shops and historical tours are set to open up. The restaurant is open year-round, however, and we ate there twice. We ate outside where the views surround, and the food was delicious.

The historical sites, thought not open when we were there, still made for a beautiful and interesting walk through the trails. The signs told the stories of the families who once lived and worked there.

one of the historical buildings on site
an old boathouse turned into a musical theater

We rented bikes just a ways down the road and had so much fun exploring via nearby paved and dirt trails alike. We discovered a couple of beaches we never knew about and plan to go back and visit. The weather was unseasonably warm for May (as it is still May here in Northern Nevada and we had snow the last two days!). The air and the scents from the trees and blooming flowers and trees fulfilled their role to brighten and cheer. So GLORIOUS.

as soon as we got on the bikes, we just started laughing like we were kids again
I grabbed my coffee and bundled up to enjoy the sunrises – complete solitude and contemplative beauty

I think my favorite experience was walking the 15 or so seconds from our front porch to the beach late at night. Not a soul was out, save for the two of us. We saw the zillion stars in the black sky and listened to the soft lap of waves just feet from our sandy perch. We sat out there in the rare silence, where many voices, feet, and toys will soon occupy. Whether we had traveled from across the country or the ocean or the short one hour or so to stay at Lake Tahoe, it was amazing and did not disappoint!

A Stunning Afterthought

I had spent the entire morning walking along the incomparable Lake Tahoe on the East Shore Trail. I used up several hours on the bliss of heavenly views that would boost my mood for days, and I could have gone home then with immense contentment. But I didn’t want to return quite yet. I felt like the small child at a playground who cannot be convinced it’s time to leave all the fun.

So I headed south on HWY 28 until I was almost to the HWY 50 junction. I still didn’t know what the rest of my day would look like, but when I passed Spooner Lake on my left I knew what I would do. I could see through the trees that the lake was frozen! I have been to Spooner Lake a number of times, but never in the winter. How on earth did I not know that it froze in the cold months? I turned around at the first opportunity and headed to the icy lake.

After paying my $10 parking fee (worth it for such beauty and good restrooms, if you ask me!) I parked my car and switched out my walking shoes for the snow boots I had brought along just in case I ended up in snow somewhere that day.

As soon as I got out to the lake (only about 300 yards from the parking lot), I couldn’t believe what my eyes were telling me…there were two people walking/standing on the lake next to what looked like a chair they’d brought with them. They were likely ice fishing. I looked it up when I got home, and yes, people ice-fish on Spooner! Who knew (probably everyone but me)?

Spooner is a man-made lake constructed to store irrigation water. There is a trail around the lake that is only 2.1 miles, and it’s not difficult. We have been on this trail in the fall when its many aspen trees are in their full golden splendor. It’s a beautiful trail to walk in autumn to be sure. I have been drawn to the bare aspens as well. They are slender and straight, existing in pattern-like bunches. Their bark and branches are silvery white, many of which bear the marks of initials carved by sweethearts throughout the years. I find it doesn’t matter the location, aspens all seem to beckon the name carvers.

During this visit I found that it was a controlled burn day all around the lake. There were smoldering fires everywhere, filling the cold, breezy, winter air with that mountain cabin chimney smell. It added even more to the experience. There were plentiful firefighters on duty to monitor the conditions that made for beautiful scenes along the path.

Spooner is also a popular location for cross country skiing. I crossed paths with a couple of skiers who asked me if the lake was good to travel over. I told them that I am from around here and I never even knew that Spooner freezes! I was definitely not the one to ask. Other than these two and the firefighters I didn’t encounter any others on the trail. I tried hard to see some wildlife but no luck there this time.

I feel so fortunate to live so close to countless destinations such as this one. Nature is such a gift from God.

Almost Dog Time

The meteorologist on the local news I often watch in the mornings is a great help in suggesting new ideas for walks and hikes around the area. Some of the ideas are new to me, ones I haven’t known of before seeing his pictures. More than once I have taken out my cell phone and jotted down his recommendations so that I won’t forget to go.

That’s how I heard about Kings Waterfall in Carson City. The trail is in North Carson City, tucked back in an area I didn’t know existed. It’s rural and farm-like, filled with cozy homesteads of warm beauty.

The hike (loop) is only 2 or 3 miles (I had to turn back at one point due to ice and impossibly slippery portions of the trail, so I don’t know the exact distance). The falls are right there at the start of the hike, maybe a quarter mile away from the parking area.

They are pretty and worth seeing. The surrounding views are worth the trek and the drive – even without the falls, I would say.

The only other person I saw the whole time I was there was a young woman and her huge, fluffy, happy dog. This dog was in the process of training and he ran to lovingly greet me against his master’s commands to come. He was adorable!

Our Sydney is 15 years old this winter. She is still healthy and happy, though not young and fit enough to take on all those hikes on which she used to accompany me. I miss her when I’m out and about and I notice more and more that I am in the minority walking without a furry friend to keep me company.

Sydney loves people, loves, loves them. When she could still hear she would squeeze her eyes closed in pleasure and feel your loving words as strokes on her belly. She is compassionate and kind and her thoughts run deep (sometimes you just know, okay?) She has always been afraid of other dogs, even my sister’s tiny little dogs. She runs away from them and will never stand her ground. In her day she would chase coyotes and rabbits and the occasional cat, but dogs terrify her.

We would have gotten a young dog for her in her old age. She could have helped us train and teach the new pup the rules and maybe even rub some of her personality onto the newcomer. We just don’t want her to be afraid in her last years. What if she never got used to a new dog and was always running away for dear life? How sad that would be. If there comes a possibility for a new furry member to join our family, we would need to try the living situation out before we committed to adopting, but it is getting closer and closer to getting a new dog time.

Sydney would have loved this trail! It probably would have been fine for her too as it was low on difficulty.

There are a few signs that indicate deer commonly occupy the area. I tried hard to spy some, and…I did! A bunch of them caught my eye on the way back down the trail.

A lovely little trail that I will visit again.

A Morning Walk in My Nevada

I have bragged on my Nevada a number of times on this blog. Today I’ll do it again!

Hidden Beach

Winters aren’t typically my favorite, at least as I get older. Feeling cold in my bones, not so much either. The short days and limited sunlight can wear me down. Usually, come February, I am ready to pack up and move to Texas – I am quite serious.

In light of that, I am determined to get out and explore more this winter than in the past. The landscapes aren’t as green and lush, but the skies are pink and charcoal and downright haunting at times. The worse the weather, the more fascinating the skies.

In the winter, somehow the air is visible. I’m not referring to smog. The cold is visible if you pay attention.

Views of snow-capped mountains could grow commonplace for those who forget to pay attention to their majesty. My Nevada shows off with her plentiful mountain views. Bless her for that (wink).

I happen to live within an hour or less of one of the most beautiful lakes in all the world – Lake Tahoe. Many people from all over globe love Lake Tahoe, making for some crowded conditions during the summer months, especially.

Your best bet in visiting Lake Tahoe is to get an early start to your day(s). I left my house before 7 a.m. and almost had the place to myself for the first hour or so after arriving at around 8 a.m.

Yes, it is January, and yes, I did go early on a chilly, Wednesday morning. By the time I wrapped up my hike and sight-seeing the trail had plenty of foot traffic and some bicycle traffic. Not a lot, but it was still only lunch time. Had I waited any longer I wouldn’t have had the magical solitude of the morning on my side.

There is a new walking/biking trail in Incline Village, NV (my destination this blustery Wednesday in January). From the Tunnel Creek parking lot it is a 3 mile paved walk to the famous Sand Harbor Beach. There are shuttles that run if you don’t want to walk all the way back. I didn’t check the schedules for them. I preferred to foot it.

Along the way there are named and labeled locations accessed by narrow dirt paths that take you right down to the shore. Each path is beautiful and unique as is its destination.

Sand Harbor

My favorite spot along the way is Hidden Beach. It’s the first marked trail after walking through the tunnel (taking you underneath the highway right to the lakeside) which sides are covered in awesome colorful murals.

The weather man said it would be quite windy and maybe rain. Knowing that bad weather makes for worthwhile photos, I wasn’t daunted.

Hidden Beach
Hidden Beach

I wrapped up my morning walk back at the parking lot. At the beginning of the trail sits the Tunnel Creek Station Cafe. Such a cozy little cabin-like place that makes amazing coffee. I sipped on one of those coffees and ate my packed lunch while writing this blog with a pen and paper I brought along from home.

I wasn’t ready to head back home and headed up the road to Spooner. I will share that soon in a coming blog…

Best part of the hike was the rainbow that followed me almost the whole way!

Golden Autumn

Each fall we head out to see the aspen trees. This year my husband, youngest son and I found another favorite spot to add to our tradition. I’ll get to that in a bit. For now I’ll will share the photos of the aspens in the Hope Valley area of California off HWY 88.

All of our usual places to stop and wander were glorious as usual, but this year we headed home a different way. We took the turnoff toward South Lake Tahoe through Myers. We decided to visit Fallen Leaf Lake off of HWY 89 toward Emerald Bay. We have heard great things about this area, but never imagined this kind of beauty! We have missed out on this treat for far too long.

I had been in this area years ago while visiting Angora Lake (I need to go again), but had never explored this lake (Fallen Leaf) and it’s surroundings. Thankfully, we traveled too far up the road from where we should have turned. We saw meadows and aspens and horses in ideal settings. Sometimes missing your turnoff yields fruitful results.

We found the day-visitor parking lot (one spot left) and headed up a short trail to the lake. We were amazed at the vibrant scene before us. The water and sky, deepest of blues, and bright golden aspens tucked into impressive pockets to stun the eye and fulfill their glorious purpose.

It was our intent to walk around and explore a bit. This was our last stop after an already fully satisfying day so we didn’t anticipate spending a whole lot of time here. Thankfully, we readily tossed our intentions aside and spent a couple of hours walking on trails in and around the lake.

We crossed over the dam to a wonderland of trees and trails. We just kept walking, unable to part with our surroundings.

We came across an enormous chimney that stood in the middle of a rock foundation. You can see the scale of its size if you are able to spot my son sitting on the ledge in the middle of it (hint: He’s in the second chimney photo).

There was a spooky cabin, long abandoned, that would have made the perfect holiday lodging.

Against my advice we took a different trail and what ended up being the LONG WAY AROUND back to the car. We even needed to walk across the creek over a huge log in order to get where we needed to go. These moments are the most fun and memorable.

No doubt, the story will be told three different ways, but I get to tell my side first 😂. I suppose if they had listened to me we wouldn’t have had the extra adventure.

A perfect day with fun companions, to be sure!

May Day

Last night we found a beautiful bouquet of flowers on our front doorstep!  The note said on one side, Happy May Day!, and on the other, You Are Loved.  Apparently, it’s tradition to leave a basket of flowers on someone’s front porch, ring the doorbell, and then run off (we looked it up).  Who knew?  Well, to the dear one who delivered such a beautiful display of kindness, THANK YOU!

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There couldn’t have been a better end to our ‘May Day’.

We left our house at 6:50 a.m. yesterday to take our local weather man’s advice to visit the River Fork Ranch Trail.  It took us around 45 minutes to get there from Spanish Springs.  The trailhead is walking distance from Genoa and runs along the Carson River.  It is just a little over 4 miles round trip, and all level ground.  I’ll just share with you the stunning views with the photos I took and let them speak for themselves!

P.S., I may just take up the May Day tradition and bless someone else the way I was blessed!  Maybe you should, too!

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Warm February Days

D475FD73-8CF4-423F-951C-581A2A277AF2Winter used to be a more tolerable season for me.  These days I find myself longing for warmth long before Spring is set to arrive.  We have had a string of unseasonably warm winter days that beg you to get out and enjoy the fresh air!

8B996320-AE4C-4857-97F5-4F72844A8594My youngest son and I both needed a day spent in nature.  We took off to try to capture some of Lake Tahoe’s beauty.  Traveling to Lake Tahoe from our home takes no time at all, and in February there is virtually no tourist traffic.  It’s a different story when you travel around the lake in the summer – terrible traffic.  So this was such a treat to be able to drive and see things at a slow pace.

We stopped at a couple of view points and took in the stunning vastness of the lake.  Living so close to a wonder like Tahoe, one might assume you would find it less impressive over time.  Not so, quite the contrary.  It’s more inviting and accessible the more familiar it becomes.

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We ended up spending the majority of our time at the Eagle Lake Falls trailhead across the street from Emerald Bay.  We had hiked the trail years ago in the Spring.  Then, a couple of years ago we tried to visit the location again, but were unable to due to the time of year (Summer).  The destination was heavily crowded and we had to continue on our way.  Disappointing, but a blessing in disguise because that’s the year we found what has proved to be one of our favorite places to visit in the Lake Tahoe area – Sugar Pine Point State Park.  (I highly recommend this as a destination during the summer months.  It is not overly crowded and there are many things to do – beaches, walking trails, small museum with store, and tours of the historical mansion on the grounds.  Great story there.)

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00509E23-ECF6-47B6-967C-627C82F560E0We were only able to complete a portion of the trail because although it was a gorgeous day, the trail quickly became a ground of solid ice.  I couldn’t keep my feet underneath me!  My son did much better with the boots he had, but I just couldn’t find an ounce of traction.  It must have been a sight to see!

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We continued on and drove around the lake, taking in all the things that are difficult to notice in the warmer months when there are so many tourists.  I think we saw things we’ve never seen before.

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I know we need the snow and for winter to do it’s provisional thing for our water supply.  But I will take these warm February days as rare gifts and be grateful for them.

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Just the Two of Us

D69ED6EA-0C3F-4CAF-9FBE-CE9E64C36D68Last week was a first ever experience for me and my husband.  Being a homeschool family for so many years, we got used to and cherished always having our kids with us.  We loved having the freedom to create memories with both planned and impromptu outings – trips to the mountains, lakes , trails, creeks, etc.  We took family vacations that usually involved the outdoors.   Camping memories for our family include the kids swimming, exploring, playing board games and the usual rituals like marshmallow roasting around the fire at night and blueberry pancakes and bacon cooked over the fire in the morning.  That’s why my heart squeezed and my breath shortened a little this weekend when my husband and I reached our campsite and set up camp without the usual clatter of noisy excitement.  Our kids stayed home this time and for the first time ever it was just the two of us on a camping trip.  The contrast was unmistakable and I had the opportunity to bravely embrace this new season of having our kids all grown up.

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I have noticed that God prepares us for these things ahead of time.  He has already done such a work in my heart regarding these specific changes, teaching me to simply follow Him.  At first I had a difficult time defining my changing purpose and role as a mom after my kids had all graduated from high school.  But in His perfect timing God swooped in and rescued me from the despair I temporarily lived in.  He showed me the things I was clinging to were in the past and that He had new things for me to do.  He had mercifully already healed my heart’s feeling of loss in this area.  I am able to see that He will still use my life to greatly affect my kids’ well-being, just in a different capacity than before.  And in these times of change, there are really cool new things – gifts to realize and be thankful for…like camping dates with my husband!

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We thought we knew where we were going to camp and headed in that direction.  Turns out we took the wrong road and had to turn around after about forty minutes of driving on a lone, yet beautiful highway.  We passed a sign for Grover Hot Springs Campground while heading back to Markleeville, and we decided to check it out.  I had recently heard good things about this place, so it seemed a safe place to try.  Wow!  It was so very beautiful!

The hike to the falls was perfect for my husband because he needs to have less exertion at higher altitude levels.  It was only a mile and a half each way from camp and is virtually level!  Just his type of hike. (smile)

The mountains and the meadows surrounding the area were a seeming hidden treasure that we had happened upon and uncovered.  It didn’t hurt that the weather was unseasonably cool the whole weekend.  In fact it was so cold at night we almost missed our morning campfire.  We stayed in longer than usual but still managed to indulge in a cozy morning fire.

We only had one night, but we sure enough squeezed all we could possibly squeeze out of those two days on either side.  Going off-trail has always been a favorite of mine and the boys (our sons).  In the morning my husband and I did just that before we checked out of the campsite and headed for other adventures.  It was as if we were all alone in the beautiful meadow along the creek, taking in the majestic beauty of the mountains around us.