Archive for September 2014

Sierra Nevada Fires, Blizzards and Earthquakes, Oh MY! …and Other Disasters. Are You Prepared?   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi

 

King Fire

Arial view of the King fire

 

As I’ve sat here choking on what passes for air here at Donner Lake due to the King fire, it occurred to me that most of us are woefully unprepared for these unfortunate events.  The fire in Weed, California blew through town in a matter of 15 minutes. That’s not a lot of time to grab anything other than your loved ones, especially if you haven’t done some due diligence ahead of time should you have to bug out in a hurry.  We empathize with those for whom disaster has struck, but rarely does that motivate us to do what we know we should preparedness wise, thinking it won’t happen to us.

There but for the grace of God go we…

However, with the fire recently in the Hellhole and French Meadows reservoir area, a mere few miles from Alpine Meadows, Squaw Valley, Truckee and the West Shore of Lake Tahoe, the possibility of evacuation became uncomfortably real. Just a few weeks ago there was a small earthquake recorded outside of  Tahoe Vista. I took those as a cue to get my ‘disaster preparedness’ act together.  Here are a few tips to help us all get started.

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Defensible Space. We’ve all heard this before, but get those pine needles, pine cones and other detritus away from the house. They go up like a Roman candle once aflame. The best defense against fire is to not give it any fuel to get started in the first place.

In addition, the forest service has bans on campfires in any back country and restrictions within campgrounds. Check out their latest alerts before you go. And no throwing cigarette butts around. I’m always stunned when I see people doing this out of car windows on the freeway or just tossing them on the ground.  As Smokey the Bear says, ‘Only YOU can prevent wildfires’.

 

 

 

 

 

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Standard plastic file box can hold your most important papers and a few valuables and/or sentimental items.

 

A ‘Bug Out’ Box.  My name for it.  As I looked around my home, I realized that most of it was just ‘stuff’.  They were things I would be sad if I lost them, but they weren’t imperative for survival…or at least survival in the modern world.  Take photos of it all and have it on your portable devices or online photo sites for insurance purposes. For the important things though, gather up necessary paperwork like passports, marriage license, social security cards, car titles, medical records, insurance policies, you get the idea…all in a waterproof file box, ready to grab at a moments notice.  These items are a pain in the neck to replace and/or track down if lost. It’s bad enough you are evacuated or even lost your home. Proving to various government agencies and corporate entities that you actually exist is a nightmare you really don’t need on top of it. If you have valuables such as jewelry, or small, sentimental items you’d be heartbroken to lose, consider dropping those into the box as well.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Laptop, Nook Book, Toiletries, jeans, long sleeved shirt, underwear...

Laptop, Nook Book, power cords, toiletries, jeans, long sleeved shirt, underwear…

 

...and the 15" W x 11"H bag isn't even close to being full yet.

…and the 15″ W x 12″H bag isn’t even close to being full yet.

The Overnight Bag  A refugee who grew up in a war torn area had some insights on how having a few everyday items became much valued luxuries in an emergency. While they wouldn’t be considered necessities for actual survival, they went a long way in keeping her feeling somewhat human and hopeful when everything around her was falling apart. A pre-packed overnight bag in the house or left in the car is handy should you have to evacuate on short notice. Include a change of clothes, underwear, socks, hair brush, travel sizes of toothbrush, toothpaste, shampoo and soap, wash cloth and any other items to make you feel more comfortable. My overnight bag also fits my laptop, nook book, power cords and such, – and no, it’s not huge.

 

 

Just another standard sized file box full of emergency items.

Just another standard sized file box full of emergency items.

 

The Car Box.  Due to our area, most of us are somewhat prepared for bad weather.  I know people who’ve gotten stuck on I-80 overnight, and we’ve all heard about people stranded in their cars in the back country during a freak storm, so my sleeping bag and a warm, wool blanket stay in my car year round.   Along with the emergency box of jumper cables, flares and quarts of oil for the car, why not also have an emergency car box for you?  Mine has a travel rain poncho packet, a gallon or two of water, flashlight, toilet paper, large garbage bags, matches in a jar, candles in metal containers, mess kit, a multi-purpose tool, some canned food, a can opener… AND – this is huge for me! –  some instant coffee and a metal coffee cup… among other items.  I originally started the box as an impromptu camping gear box, but if you’re stranded in your car or have to evacuate, especially in cold weather,  some of these items can be the difference between life and death.
And if you have pets, don’t forget some food for them too!

 

 

 

 

FEMA suggests a 3 day supply of food and water. A gallon of water per person per day for 3 days worth.

FEMA suggests a 3 day supply of food and water. A gallon of water per person per day for 3 days.

All Through The House.  Not all disasters involve evacuation. Weather and earthquakes can barricade us IN our homes or just cut us off from all access to ‘the grid’  that we’ve become so reliant on. Here in snow country, we’re fairly used to the power going out, sometimes for days at a time.  But the sewer not working? And it’s hard to imagine not having access to water, especially when we have so much of it around us. But what if? It’s always a good idea to have a few gallons of potable water stored, (or at the very least, some chlorine to purify it) and non perishable food stocked up. Here are a few other items that we should have on hand in case of an emergency.

*Emergency radio, preferably battery operated or solar powered with hand crank. Some can be used to power up your cell phone.

*A standard land line phone for when the power goes out.

*Flashlights, extra batteries, candles, oil lamps, matches and such.

*First Aid Kit.

* A stash of Cash

 

* A 5 gallon bucket or two.  Good for toting water and a variety of other uses. Add a small toilet seat on top and you have an impromptu commode. Keep a bag of peat moss or sawdust for sprinkling over the ‘output’. You now have a compost toilet that doesn’t stink.

* A full, small, propane tank if you have a propane BBQ.  Charcoal briquettes if you don’t.  Hot Coffee!  Hot Grub! You’re golden!

Sadly, I am not currently living in a home with a wood stove, but when I did, I always appreciated that I could do two of the most basic winter needs in life.  Stay warm and cook a hot meal in a pinch. And of course, make coffee!

For more ‘In Case of an Emergency’ ideas and check lists, here are a few sites to visit.

FEMA Emergency Supply List

CDC Emergency Checklist

Preparedness.com

Sign up for a Nixle account,  or the  El Dorado, Nevada (YubaNet) or Placer County sites for text message alerts to your cell phone about imminent dangers in your area.

 

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Stay Safe, My Friends.

 

 

 

And if you have some great ideas of your own to add to the list, please feel free to leave a comment.

 

THINK OF ME, LYNN RICHARDSON, FOR ALL OF YOUR LAKE TAHOE AND TRUCKEE REAL ESTATE NEEDS!

 

 

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Legacy Trail connects Downtown Truckee and Glenshire   Leave a comment

By Tim Hauserman

With the recent completion of the Legacy Trail between downtown Truckee and Glenshire, a great new avenue of access to the Truckee River has been created, and bikers and walkers in Glenshire will now have the opportunity for a safe and fun route into town.

 

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Legacy Bike Trail, Truckee CA

 

From downtown Truckee, The Legacy Trail begins at the Truckee River Regional Park, or you can meet the trail by riding to the end of East River Street, and taking the bike bridge across the river. Either way, follow the river downstream as the trail gently twists and turns under the Bypass bridge, past the Truckee Riverview Sports Park, and through an open forest of pines. While the riding is smooth, it’s also a popular trail for dog walkers and stroller pushers so keep your speed under control.

Soon enough, you reach the recently opened section of trail, and marvel at the substantial rock wall that has been built to enable the trail to stay close to the Truckee River. You then pass through an open meadowy area to a bridge across Martis Creek. Opportunities abound to take a break and enjoy the sound of the river at one of the many benches along the trail. Finally, via a series of long, sweeping switchbacks through a humongous pile of basalt tailings, you climb up to the edge of Glenshire. Enjoy sweeping views of the Truckee River and the Sierra Crest before reaching trails end at the entrance to the Glenshire development.

 

View of the Truckee River on the Legacy Bike Trail

View of the Truckee River on the Legacy Bike Trail

 

In addition to providing new access to downtown Truckee for Glenshire residents, the Legacy Trail gives Tahoe/Truckee bike riders another connection and opportunity for a longer ride. I left my house in Tahoe City and rode to the entrance to Glenshire in just over an hour (it took longer on the return because of a headwind and a few hundred feet of additional climbing). Except for the narrow shouldered section along West River Street, which is hopefully slated for improvement in the next few years, the whole ride was on bike trail or wide bike lane. Each year, new trails and improvements get added to the network of Truckee/Tahoe trails, and there are a lot of bikers that can’t wait to take advantage of these new opportunities.

 

Legacy Bike Trail, Truckee CA

Legacy Bike Trail, Truckee CA

 

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Go Take A Hike, Part 5 – Long Lake, Soda Springs CA   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi

 

Nestled behind Royal Gorge Ski Area in Soda Springs is a series of lakes well hidden except for those who know how to find them. It’s about 4 miles of a bumpy ride to access them from Royal Gorge’s parking lot, but you will be well rewarded for your efforts.

I didn’t have to put my Suzuki ‘Tonka Toy’ into 4 wheel drive to get there, but a 4 x 4 is suggested- if for no other reason than its higher clearance. The road can be fairly rutted.

You will first pass Kidd Lake Campground, which is owned by PG & E and is also part of their hydroelectric system. Designed mostly for tent camping, there are spaces for RV’s in the parking area. If you would like to camp in the area while you explore,  make reservations by visiting their website: pge.com

 

Long Lake, Soda Springs CA

Long Lake, Soda Springs CA

 

If you’re just looking for a short day hike, continue on the road until it ends.  You will see a Royal Gorge warming hut which marks the head of the Palisade’s Creek Trail. Note the Cascade Lakes reservoir to your left, which is also part of the PG & E hydroelectric system.  Cross over the reservoir’s bridge. From there, it’s less than a mile to Long Lake. Hike along the granite shores, sunbathe on a rocky outcrop or go for a swim. In the distance are views of Granite Chief Wilderness west of Squaw Valley, Devil’s Peak and Castle Peak.

 

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Rope swing at Long Lake swimming hole

 

How to get there: From Donner Lake,  continue west up Donner Pass Road to the summit. Turn left on Soda Springs Road and right on Pahotsi. It turns into dirt road fairly quickly. Continue on the dirt road approximately 4 miles (supposedly it’s Kidd Lake Road,  it isn’t marked as such) past Kidd Lake to Cascade Lakes. The map isn’t quite accurate, as the road does continue to Cascade Lakes. Park the car and follow the Palisades Creek Trail to Long Lake.

 

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