Archive for the ‘Donner Lake CA’ Tag

Summer Fun at Donner Lake, Truckee CA   Leave a comment

By Michelle Portesi

 

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Sunset at Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi

 

Let’s face it, the big blue, Lake Tahoe, tends to get most of the attention and press during our busy summer months. But right here in Truckee is Donner Lake, chock full of fun things to do in a much less busy environment.

I’ve lived here off and on for years, and what’s nice about the area is that when crazy holiday weekends descend, I don’t have to venture very far for food and fun. Instead of fighting the crowds, I can hoof it to most anything I might want to do, including finding basic sustenance.

THINGS TO DO AT DONNER LAKE:

Take a bike ride. The bike trails are well defined along Donner Pass Road and goes most of the way around the lake. You can continue on through the campgrounds at Donner Memorial State Park to get back to Donner Pass Road.

Go Fishing! There is a dedicated fishing pier and handicapped ramp about half way down Donner Pass Road along the lake. Or try your luck off of the many public piers. Make sure to pick up your California fishing license online.

Have a picnic. Near the Fishing pier is a picnic area right on the lake complete with picnic tables and grills. Picnic areas are also available at Donner Memorial State Park. Plan ahead and come early, these spots fill up fast.

Go for a swim. Dunking oneself  in Donner Lake during blistering hot days is a given, but many have been the evenings when the temperature doesn’t drop with the sun and my place still feels like a stuffy broiler. On those occasions, nothing is more refreshing than donning my bathing attire and taking a moonlight dip.

 

Kayaking at Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi

Kayaking at an inlet at Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi

 

Rent a kayak or paddle board at Donner Memorial State Park. The water in the mornings at Donner Lake are often a crystal clear glass calm. It’s the perfect time to ply the waters without fighting the waves whipped up by the winds, or even jet skis and boats.

Go for a boat ride. Donner Lake’s Marina is one of the few areas still deep enough in the Lake Tahoe basin despite the drought to launch your boat.  Or you can call ahead to rent a pontoon boat ride.

Go Camping. Donner Memorial Park’s campground is right near the lake and features pleasant campsites, bathrooms and actual showers! The campground also hosts many campground events during the summer. Visit www.parks.ca.gov for more info.

 

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Coldstream Canyon. Photo by Michelle Portesi

 

Go for a Hike. You can take a leisurely hike on the trails throughout Donner Memorial State Park, or for a little more effort, Coldstream Canyon starts at the east end of Donner Lake Campgound. Follow the creek over easy to moderate terrain to back country ponds and environmental reclamation sites. See Go Take a Hike # 4 for more info on this hike. yourfriendinhighplaces.net/2014/08/19/

 

Sunset over Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi

Sunset over Donner Lake. Photo by Michelle Portesi

 

Get Yourself Some History. The new memorial museum at Donner State Park has reopened with new exhibits about the area’s history.

Just Hang Out. Read a book, sunbath, play fetch with your dog, have a glass of wine, watch the sun set. There are a wealth of public piers all along the north side of Donner Lake along Donner Pass Road just perfect for doing absolutely nothing.

If you’re a resident of Tahoe Donner, you can laze away the summer days at the Tahoe Donner Beach. There’s a snack bar and rental concessions for kayaks and paddle boats.

 

Dock at Tahoe Donner Beach area. Photo by Michelle Portesi

Dock at Tahoe Donner Beach area. Photo by Michelle Portesi

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Don’t want to venture into town for food and/or a few items? Then you’ll be grateful for these businesses:

STICKS MARKET. Located about a mile from Donner Memorial Park is Sticks Market, featuring fresh made deli sandwiches, espresso drinks and a generous selection of wines, beer and other beverages along with the usual basic staples. They even have a fairly decent array of meats, cheeses, fruits and vegetables if you just need a few items and don’t want to fight the crowds in town for them. For a small little market, they pack in quite a bit.

DONNER LAKE KITCHEN.  Known for serving breakfast and lunch, now during the summer, they are open Saturday evenings too. They will be featuring ‘Oysters on the Deck’ from 2-8 pm and also serving dinner, including steaks, burgers and sandwiches from 4-8 pm.

You’ll always find plenty to do at Donner Lake!

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

www.lynnrichardson.net

Hike it Now!   Leave a comment

3By Tim Hauserman

While many of the higher elevation trails around Tahoe and Truckee are still covered in snow, this mild winter has made it possible to hike a few lower elevation trails that you rarely encounter snow free before May, let alone March:

Negro Canyon and the Donner Lake Rim Trail

Photo by Tim Hauserman

Photo by Tim Hauserman

 

A few miles east of Truckee, just off I-80 at the Donner Lake Exit, you will find the Wendin Way Access Trail to the Donner Lake Rim Trail. The snow melts fast off this sun baked south facing bowl, and the well graded trail is a pleasure to hike. After a mile, you join the Donner Lake Rim Trail, where you find another mile of steeper climbing to the Tahoe Donner Cross-Country Ski Area’s Drifter hut at the top of the ridge. If you’ve skied to Drifter before, you will find this hike a piece of cake in comparison, and yet you still get awesome views of the snow covered Sierra crest.

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Vikingsholm

Photo by Tim Hauserman

Photo by Tim Hauserman

Now, when crowds are absent, is the time to enjoy Lake Tahoe’s most popular hiking trail to the Vikingsholm mansion in Emerald Bay. Take the one mile descent to the waters edge, then follow the south facing shoreline on the Rubicon Trail to the entrance of the bay, and then along Tahoe’s west shore towards Bliss State Park. A sit at the end of the Boat Campground pier, with it’s views of Maggies Peaks and Eagle Falls, makes for a nice break.

 

Tahoe Rim Trail-North from Tahoe City.
From the trailhead along Fairway Drive in Tahoe City, the Tahoe Rim Trail climbs through cedar and fir while dishing out views of Lake Tahoe and Tahoe City. In about a mile, a wide panorama of the lake opens up, as well as views of the Truckee River Canyon. If you have more time and energy, keep walking, as you pass nearly constant views of the Truckee River and Lake Tahoe.

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East shore beaches

Photo by Michelle Portesi

Photo by Michelle Portesi

 

While skinny dipping in March might not be on your list of things to do, perhaps enjoying the lovely beaches of the east shore with clothes on, but crowds gone, sounds attractive. Several short trails lead from Highway 28 down to the lovely, rocky shore of Lake Tahoe. Wander past all the tidy little coves and pick your perfect little secluded beach to ponder the beauty of Tahoe.

 

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

Living Amongst the Wildlife of Truckee-Tahoe   Leave a comment

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Bears at your house

Bears coming up the stairs from a home on Lake Tahoe during the fall. ~Photo by Michelle Portesi

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Residing here in the rural mountains of the Sierra Nevada, wildlife sightings are fairly common, and it is one of the cheap thrills of living here.  Learning to live with the nature that surrounds you does also come with some responsibility on our part, so that we can both coexist, with neither one of us becoming a nuisance or a detriment to the other.

Anyone who has lived here for any length of time finds out quickly that unsecured trash, unattended open windows or leaving food around will invite one form of opportunistic scavenger or another – usually insinuating themselves where they are not particularly wanted. Animals are like any other force of nature…path of least resistance.  Unlike ourselves, survival is not based on waltzing down to the local grocery store for a meal. For the animals, it requires a great deal of expenditure of precious energy hunting and gathering to make it in this life. Anytime someone offers a much appreciated (by them) short cut, they’re going to take it.

As we head into winter, bears especially become extremely active this time of year, their need to fatten up before hibernation intense.  Metal bear boxes have become the only real solution of choice, as even a metal can secured in a locked garage can prove to be none too effective in keeping out a truly hungry bear, resulting in property damage in the process. God forbid they should get into the house itself. And if it’s not the bears hitting the trash cans waiting for disposal pick up, it’s the raccoons, the coyotes or the neighborhood dogs…(and to be entirely honest, the dogs make a much bigger mess. Bears tend to plop down and eat  trash where they found it. Dogs strew it all over the neighborhood!)

Our early snowfall covered up many food sources that animals would normally be attracted to this time of year, berries, grasses and seeds that would make up much of their diet in the fall. In this case, the early snowfall and some poorly secured trash resulted in a rare serendipitous sighting that almost made the mess worthwhile. Below are photos of a Sierra Nevada red fox! That’s right, a species that is considered near extinct in the Sierra Nevada.

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Photo by Michelle Portesi

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Now, I’ve never even seen a fox of any sort in the Sierra’s in all the years I’ve lived here, let alone a rare red fox. But my friend Michelle, who helps me with the blog, caught site of one right on Donner Pass Road at Donner Lake the evening of Halloween, foraging through an ill gotten trash bag. Fortunately she had a cell phone and snapped these few pictures before he scuttled off looking for more edible booty.

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Photo by Michelle Portesi

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For more information on this rare but beautiful creature (as one joke goes: They’re just dogs with bad P.R.), you can go to the following links:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sierra_Nevada_red_fox

http://www.sierraforestlegacy.org/FC_SierraNevadaWildlifeRisk/SierraNevadaRedFox.php

These animals are so rare, that the California Fish and Wildlife department does research to get an idea of their numbers and range, and asks you to report it if you’re lucky enough to see one yourself. (Michelle had no luck with the form on either Firefox or Explorer, so she e-mailed the department directly)

California Red Fox Survey

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

YOUR FRIEND IN HIGH PLACES

Lynn Richardson . Coldwell Banker Real Estate . Lake Tahoe & Truckee

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