Monday, October 29, 2012

Big Pines Hwy 89: Lake Tahoe

  Ponderosa/Jeffrey? Pine: cbh 22 feet, 8 in (above)
I drove out to Lake Tahoe over the weekend. I wanted to do a little more tree hunting along Hwy 50, and I wanted to witness the Kokanee salmon spawning in Taylor Creek again this year. I wasn't planning on spending a lot of time looking for trees on Hwy 50, but as soon as I entered the forest, the pines captivated my attention. It wasn't long before the sun was beginning to set.
 Ponderosa Pine: cbh 23 feet, 9 in. (above: This is the largest Ponderosa I have found to date)
Snow fell in the Sierra last week, but temperatures were warm during the day this weekend. I was comfortable in a t-shirt. The snow made it difficult to walk around, my feet quickly became soaked, but there was an added blessing. At one point on Saturday, I dropped my camera and didn't notice until about 20 minutes later. I was able to retrace my footprints and find my camera laying in the snow.
Ponderosa Pine: cbh 21 feet, 3 in (above)
After spending Saturday afternoon looking for trees along Hwy 50, I drove into South Lake Tahoe for the evening. Altitude was affecting me, I noticed I was short of breath and very tired while hiking around. I decided to car camp at the Echo Lakes trailhead. At one point, my car got stuck in the snow, while trying to reach the trailhead. Thankfully, I was able to put the car in reverse and drive backwards until I reached plowed pavement. I slept in my vehicle for the night in one of the side lots near Echo Lake.
 Sunday morning, I drove back into South lake Tahoe and had breakfast at Denny's. After filling up on eggs and coffee, I made my way towards Taylor Creek. When I arrived, it became clear that I had missed the peak spawning. Last year, the creek was packed with fish around the 23rd of October. This year, a couple I talked said that the peak was about 2 weeks ago. There were lots of salmon carcases floating in the creek. However, there were still a few pockets of living activity.
 The highlight of the trip was a small section of forest I found along Hwy 89 that contained some monster pines. The largest Ponderosa Pine I have seen to date was growing there. An epic tree. There were many other large pines growing there too, and I spent an hour or so wandering around.
 Ponderosa Pine: cbh 19 feet, 2 in. (above, right along the highway)
I couldn't shake the feeling that this could be the last time I visit the Sierra for some time to come. I don't know if this premonition will hold water, but I tried to appreciate the moments I had in this glorious land.
Emerald Bay (above , Lake Tahoe)

Kokanee Salmon: Taylor Creek

More Big Pines: Hwy 50 (Sierra Nevada)

 Sugar Pine: cbh 20 feet, 5 in. (above)
 Red Fir: cbh 25 feet, 3.5 in (above)
 Ponderosa Pine: cbh 19 feet, 4 in cbh (above)
 Sugar Pine: cbh 20 feet (above)
 Ponderosa Pine: cbh 21 feet, 3 in (above)
 Ponderosa Pine: cbh 19 feet, 5 in (above)
 Ponderosa Pine: cbh 20 feet, 1 in (above)
 Ponderosa Pine: cbh 21 feet (above)
Ponderosa Pine: cbh 22 feet, 2 in (above, right along highway)

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Albino Redwood

 I payed a visit to an albino redwood that I found last year. Actually, it was the first redwood albino I'd ever seen in person, located in a secret spot. I was amazed how different it looked. It appeared to be thriving for whatever reason.
Last year, it was just a few sickly looking branches here and there. Now there were plenty of white branches to be seen. From what I read online, the albinos can come and go, become very expressive, and then other times literally disappear. Ghostly is an appropriate description...

Monday, October 22, 2012

The Rainy Season Has Arrived

 The rainy season arrived last night with our first rain storm of the season. I had the afternoon off from work so I decided to celebrate the occasion by going for a hike in Montgomery Woods.
 I would guess the redwoods are relieved that the dryness of summer has come to a close. Today's hike contained a variety of lighting. The sun would appear from time to time in between rain showers. Mushrooms should be popping out of the soil as well pretty soon.
Rain is expected the next couple of days...

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sugar Pine Cone

Here is a picture of the cone from the Sugar Pine. I picked this up a few weeks ago, the last time I was in the Sierra.

Hendy Woods

 I took a stroll around Hendy Woods this morning. The morning started out cool, but it quickly warmed up to perfect t-shirt weather. Ravens were extremely loud all morning. I don't know what the ruckus was about, but for the first time, I wanted to yell "Be quiet!" I had to remind myself that they have been loyal trail companions over the years, not to get too annoyed.

 The tree above has a fantastic limb. The trees in Hendy Woods seem to be a bit more gnarly than Montgomery Woods. Many of the trees have interesting shapes and reiterations.

Above is the gorgeous Navarro River. I imagine that in the following days or weeks, the river will be at its lowest point. Soon the rains will come and refill the rivers. A perfect day to be outside.