Posts

By Tim Hauserman 

North Lake Tahoe has an elaborate and inspiring network of hiking and mountain biking trails. And that network has been expanding, especially with new trails that are designed specifically for mountain biking. And guess what, those new trails do not appear by magic. They are built, mostly by volunteer labor, by the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA) and other organizations like the Tahoe Rim Trail Association.  You can join in the effort by contributing your labor at a volunteer trail day sponsored by TAMBA. It’s very rewarding to actually create the trail that you soon will be able to ride. And as John Clausen from TAMBA says, “We cannot make this fun stuff happen without you.” 

TAMBA has two trail days coming this weekend on the north shore of Tahoe: 

Saturday, Aug. 24th, Tahoe City, Stumpy Super G

Sunday, Aug. 25th, Westshore, Stanford Rock

Bring long pants, long sleeve shirt, helmet (bike helmet okay), full finger gloves, glasses, and sturdy shoes. Pack along water & snacks, and any other needs for your particulars. So if you are riding in, bring a backpack with whatever you need. 

Here’s the scoop about the trail work directly from TAMBA: 

STUMPY SUPER G 

Saturday, Aug. 24th

We have 2 off-line booters and a couple other fun factor features to construct on segment 1, as well as cutting in the tread on the beginning of segment 2. Come out for a couple of hours, or come out for the day and enjoy lunch on TAMBA (RSVP by 10am Friday if you wish to be included on the lunch order – super eats from Dam Cafe, Syd’s Bagelery, Westshore  Market, The Station – A Truckee Eatery, Front Street Pizza, and New Moon Deli). RSVP to johnnyxride@gmail.com. or text 530-386-0944.

Meet in Tahoe City, at either: 

The TCPUD parking lot across from the Tahoe City Fire Dept, 221 Fairview Dr., 8:30am, to carpool up the 4wd dirt road. 

The Stumpy DH/Meadow trail if you prefer to MTB in, anytime between 9:00am and 2:00pm (we pack up at 4:00pm)

Those dates don’t work for you? How about these:

Sept. 5th, Thurs.

Sept. 14th, Sat.

Sept. 20th, Fri.

Sept. 26th, Thurs.

Oct. 11th, Fri.

Oct. 17th, Thurs.

The Stumpy Super G is near Stump Meadow or the top of Gold Trail for you nordic skiers. It will replace a very steep straight up and down trail with an awesome flowing switchbacky one. Here’s a map of where to go: 

STANFORD ROCK TRAIL

“BIG TRAIL DAY” Sunday Aug. 25th, 9am-1pm.

At this Stanford Big Trail Day, TAMBA will be providing lunch and beer afterward in Kilner Park

Work will be near the bottom of the trail and is part of a nearly top-to-bottom single track re-route of this heritage west shore route which has been located on a steep, dirt road. 

Meet – West shore, Stanford Rock Trail; lunch afterward in Kilner Park. Questions and/or RSVP-  sandor@tamba.org, Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association on Facebook or txt to 415-686-1172

You could also get out with the Tahoe Rim Trail Association in September to fix a few challenging sections for riders up in Ward Canyon.  To volunteer on those dates, register with the TRTA at tahoerimtrail.org. 

Sept 5, Thurs.

Sept 7, Sat.

Sept 12, Thurs.

Sept 14, Sat.

If you have never worked on creating trail, give it a go. It’s hard work, but there is always a great spirit of camaraderie and most importantly satisfaction with creating something that folks will love. 

By Tim Hauserman 

Recently I was hiking along the Tahoe Rim Trail out of Tahoe City when I came upon a group of seven guys on mountain bikes. They all had identical bikes so I assumed that a) they were members of the racing team for a bike manufacturer, or b) they rented them from a bike shop. After watching them ride and talking to several about their less than stellar biking experience I guessed the latter. This section of the TRT is a pretty challenging ride for inexperienced riders, with lots of little rocks and twists and turns. These guys were not having fun, which gave me the idea to write this post. 

Tahoe is loaded with awesome recreational opportunities. And there is certainly a go have fun and push the envelope sports atmosphere here whether it is jumping off cliffs skiing in the winter or mountain biking down the gnarliest trail in the summer.  But in the words of Sergeant Jablonski on Hill Street Blues it’s important to remember:  “Let’s be careful out there.”

For most of us, it’s really about going out and having fun, not trying to keep up with the images you see on a Red Bull Video. So be sure and embark on a Tahoe adventure that’s well suited to your actual ability level, which might be different than your in your dreams ability level.

Before heading out, seek information and find out what a trail or a sport is really like. If it’s a challenging mountain bike trail and you have never ridden before, it’s the same as a beginning skier taking on a double black diamond ski trail. Find a trail that is suited to your ability…you will have a lot more fun. Finding information might require more then just asking someone you see riding by with a really nice bike. Remember, to a super strong rider what they call an easy trail, to you might be a scary adventure. While not usually intentional, the biggest lie heard in Tahoe is: “That trail, no, it’s not that difficult.” 

The same goes for going out on a hike. I’ve found myself a number of times hiking out of Desolation Wilderness in the late afternoon scratching my head when I see folks with almost no water, the wrong clothing, looking tired and wondering where the lake is (three more miles and 1000 feet of climbing…and it’s dark in two hours…and you have on a T-shirt). 

The same holds true for kayaking, paddleboarding, motor boating, road bike riding and any other activity you might participate in at Lake Tahoe. Being careful out there begins with having correct information on the difficulty with the task ahead, and being honest with yourself about your true abilities. That is how to make your Tahoe outdoor experience a great one. 

P1040313

By Tim Hauserman

Who say’s May is the off-season? It’s actually a fun time of year in Tahoe City. It’s getting warmer, the crowds are small, but there are lots of fun things to do. Check out these two events for example right in the middle of our fair city.

May 19, 6:30 pm
Running 172 miles on the Tahoe Rim Trail

Join Gretchen Brugman from the Donner Party Mountain Runners, as she tells the story of four friends thru running the Tahoe Rim Trail. For those of us who have struggled to hike that baby in two weeks, running it sounds like quite the accomplishment. It’s not just the mileage, but over 26,000 feet of climbing and descent that would do you in. The Donner Party Mountain Runners is a non-profit organization dedicated to “inform and inspire mountain runners in Truckee-Tahoe.” A $3 donation is requested. Any questions call Alpenglow at 530-583-6917.

May 30, Noon to 7 pm
Trunk Show’s Second Annual Bringin’ the Love party

The Trunk Show is an awesome little art store that packs a lot of punch, both in the store and in how involved they are in the community. For this event The Cobblestone front parking lot will be closed off for party time. The Lake Tahoe Dance Collective, will be dancing. There will be beer from the Tahoe Mountain Brewery, and margaritas from the Trunk Show, and music from Mr. D of Deep Tracks. Then of course there will be lots of art and artists demonstrating their amazing talents on site. A Fundraising Art Sale Tent will be set up with a portions of the proceeds going to the Lake Tahoe Dance Collective.

Events such as this happen because of volunteers who help, and the get er done attitude of Trunk Show’s Jaclyn Woznicki who says, “Thank you again for the support that you have shown to Trunk Show over the past two years. The business has grown into something I hadn’t fully foreseen & I couldn’t have done it without all of you. Together we can all make a difference in our community by supporting small, local businesses and the people that contribute to them.”

So come on down and check out these events, and remember. Good things do happen in May.

The Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe City

By Tim Hauserman

The Tahoe Rim Trail (https://www.tahoerimtrail.org/)  reaches the lowest elevation point of its 170 mile journey around Lake Tahoe as it passes through the edge of Tahoe City and crosses the Truckee River. Two segments of the trail begin in Tahoe City. The first, starts at the Truckee River rafting access parking lot near the Tahoe City Transit Center, also known as 64 Acres. From there, the TRT heads south through Page Meadows, and past Twin Peaks into the Granite Chief Wilderness. The second, begins across from the Fairway Community Center above the Tahoe City Golf Course on Fairway Drive. It meanders north to the edge of the Truckee River canyon and travels to Watson Lake and a crossing of Highway 267 above Kings Beach on Brockway Summit. In the next posting you will hear about heading north from Tahoe City, but for now, let’s go south.

Tahoe City to Twin Peaks and the PCT

From the 64 Acres Parking lot the trail starts behind a gate. First on paved road, then dirt, you walk near the edge of the Truckee River. After crossing a gravel road you head onto single track trail, and begin a steady climb through a deep forest of fir, sugar pine and cedar. You pass close to the edge of the Tree Top Adventure Park at the edge of Granlibakken Resort (look for adventurers ripping through the air on ziplines), then begin to climb in earnest in a narrow canyon above a small stream. At two miles from the start you reach a junction at a snippet of meadow. Turn right and enjoy a mile of gentle climbing as you roll through twists and turns…great mountain biking terrain…to another junction. On this one you turn left and in short order reach Page Meadows.

Page Meadows includes five interconnected meadows. The TRT passes through one with a stunning view of Twin Peaks to the south, and wildflowers abundant in season. If you want to see the others, leave the TRT at the trail on your left midway through the meadow. The TRT is built on bricks to avoid any early season meadow mud. Past the meadow you begin a mile long descent to Ward Creek Blvd. First, passing an offshoot trail to your right. It leads to a Basque sheepherders oven, and another meadow bordered by aspen trees with a cool running stream for those who need to filter water.

Five miles from the Tahoe City Trailhead the TRT reaches Ward Creek Blvd. (good shuttle location). The trail now follows Ward Creek slowly uphill a mile and a half on an old dirt road, to a bridge crossing of the creek. Then climbing gets steeper as you begin a long ascent to the ridgeline. You pass fields of mid-summer wildflowers, McCloud Falls, and an ever enlarging visage of Twin Peaks.

Eventually, you reach the ridge at just over 5 miles from Ward Creek Blvd., where a junction has you turning right, and another mile of winding uphill brings you to a meeting of Blackwood and Ward Canyons, and a challenging use trail to the top of Twin Peaks. The TRT continues on to the Pacific Crest Trail and the Granite Chief Wilderness. At 6.7 miles from Ward Creek, and 12.7 miles from Tahoe City, you might have had enough, but hang a left and head gently downhill for the expansive canyon views just a hundred yards below the junction. From here, it’s another 4.8 miles through wildflowers, along steep traverses, and past volcanic knobs to Barker Pass. Enjoy!

 

P1010092

By Tim Hauserman

It’s officially in between seasons. That time after the first snow, but before ski season kicks into gear.

About a week ago we had the first real snow of the season, waking up to about four inches of the white stuff in Tahoe City, with a bit more up top. A few days later, the temperatures warmed, melting the lower elevation snow and making it a nice time to get out and enjoy what the Sierra has to offer. The problem of course is where: Up high there is still enough remaining snow to put hiking and mountain biking out of the picture, but not enough to ski. The key is to stay low and south facing, where the combination of sun and the still warm ground give us a last bit of beautiful hiking.

On Sunday, I headed out on the Tahoe Rim Trail north from Tahoe City. It’s one of the lowest elevation trails around Tahoe and is located on a south facing slope. The TRT starts out with a series of steep switchbacks climbing quickly to glimpses of Lake Tahoe and downtown Tahoe City. In about 20 minutes you round a bend to take in a full panorama of Tahoe and the Truckee River. This is where it gets really good. Over the next two miles as you walk north you are right at the top of the Truckee River Canyon with frequent views of Tahoe and the Truckee River below. While in November you can hear the cars on Highway 89 far below, mid-summer the road sounds compete with the laughter of the river rafters.

While the lakeviews are spectacular, you also pass a number of huge Sugar pines, incense cedars and junipers dotting the edge of the ridge. Apparently they thrive in the roaring winds that attack this ridge during winter storms. In just an hour of brisk walking you reach an excellent lunch spot where Twin Peaks, the Truckee River and the mountains north of Squaw Valley all come into view from your spot next to ancient junipers.

This section of trail is an awesome way to spend a November day. But don’t dilly dally. Because before we know it, we will be skiing instead of hiking.

P1030551By Tim Hauserman

This is the time of year when people ask how my summer was? WAS?! I’m just starting to get used to it being summer and you think it’s already over? Sure those poor suckers, ummm, I mean our beautiful children, had to go back to school. But guess what, once the crowds disappear, the Tahoe Rim Trail is still there, only with fewer people. In fact some of the best hiking and biking is in the fall. Here’s your primer:

Hit the lakes first.

Hike into those glorious bits of wetness in the Desolation Wilderness or Star Lake ASAP while they are still warm. Desolation especially is meeting it’s prime, the crowds are gone, the swimming, while getting a bit brisk, is still glorious, and the trees and bushes will just start to show a hint of color but…

Save the leaves for later

Fall colors, which start getting exciting in late September, can be found in a number of spots on the Tahoe Rim Trail. One favorite is the area between Spooner Summit and Marlette Lake. A great loop is to head up the TRT to Snow Valley Peak, then follow the old dirt road to Marlette Lake, and then hike through the aspens along the Marlette Lake Trail back to Spooner. The Ophir Creek Trail off of the Tahoe Rim Trail in Tahoe Meadows, and Page Meadows, just outside of Tahoe City, are other spots to catch the turning of the aspens.

Mountain biking? Wait for the rain.

Just after that first fall drenching the powder days begin for mountain bikers. Start at the Tahoe Cross-Country Ski Area trailhead, and find your way to the Tahoe Rim Trail and/or Watson Peak. Or ride around Page Meadows and enjoy the special pleasure of returning to the trailhead with a bike that isn’t covered in dust.

Need more information? Pick up a copy of the official guide to the Tahoe Rim Trail at a host of local booksellers, including Alpenglow in Tahoe City and the Bookshelf in Truckee.