I went in search of Sierra snow last weekend. As I drove farther and farther east on Highway 88 I was worried I’d embarked on a futile adventure; while Aspen and I didn’t find much, we did find some for her to romp around in once we got high enough.
Destination: Fallen Leaf Lake
Mileage: 1.5 round trip
Trailhead: Fallen Leaf Campground Gate off Hwy 89
Elevation: 6,400 feet
The original plan for this hike was a nice snowshoe stroll through Fallen Leaf Campground to Fallen Leaf Lake only by the light of the full moon. However, the only snow to be found was a dusting on Mount Tallac across the lake. This added to the view as the moonlight bounced off the rivers of snow, but it meant the snowshoes sadly stayed in the car.
The hike wasn’t as much of an adventure as I’d hoped, but Toad got some great photos (see the moonlit night photo) while we enjoyed some warm beverages on the shore. All the while I was imagining the sea of beach umbrellas that probably crowd the shore during summer months. In the meantime, we had it all to ourselves.
I think this would be a great option for a family full moon hike, ideally with snowshoes. Park in front of the campground not blocking the gate, stroll down the campground road, and take a left at the kiosk to follow the path to the lake shore. Don’t forget to pack your thermos with your beverage of choice.
Destination: Sierra Canyon
Mileage: 19.11 round trip
Trailhead: Centennial Dr and Snowshoe Lane in Genoa, NV
Elevation: 4,900 up to 8,440 feet
I didn’t wrap my head around how long this hike was until the descent when I was reflecting on past trips to distract from my throbbing blisters and angry toes. Our party converged at a switchback and I pointed out that the Half Dome hike is shorter than this blister march…
Don’t blame the trail though, this was my fourth hike with a new pair of boots – also their last. Folks in the boot department at two different stores recommended trying a sturdier boot than my Keens for backpacking. I thought the increased support sounded like a good idea, but I was terribly wrong and am now suffering the quarter-sized blisters to prove it. As folks on the trail say, “hike your own hike.” My Keens and I are going to do just that! Enough of my blistery side note. Sure the hike was long and rarely level, but if you have tried and true footwear this is a great training “hill” for upcoming epic backpacking trips. The Genoa Trail System requires dogs be leashed in residential areas, but other than that just voice control. I mostly wanted to clarify that so the picture above didn’t look like I was a complete rule breaker! The Sierra Canyon Trail starts in Genoa and switchbacks its way up to the Tahoe Rim Trail. Probably not where I would choose to access the TRT, but as I just said – hike your own hike! Plus, after your hike you can visit the historic Genoa Bar and Saloon and drink your own drink!
A note to my backpacking companions that typically have blister issues. I honestly don’t know how you muster the self-discipline, strength, and/or courage it takes to put your boots on over angry blisters and hike another day of long miles. Squirrel made a good point though, after you hike into the wilderness there isn’t much of a choice to putting the boots back on. Either way, take as much time as you need to wrap those little piggies; I’ll be over here giving my Keens a hug.