Monday, February 17, 2014

Stebbins Cold Creek Canyon

Ah those stairs! Love them. The trail starts off Highway 128 where the parking is pretty limited. It's a pretty gentle hike for the first mile or so and then... the stairs. But, once up the stairs, it's a more gradual ascent. There's a nice place to stop for a rest where three trails intersect. We went right, up the spine. It's a pretty steep climb but the trail is well maintained. Any time you want to stop for a rest, there's a beautiful view any way you look. Lake Berryessa is the most obvious scenery that you'll see. Once you make your way over the spine, it's down down down via several switchbacks. It's also where you'll run into more people coming up the opposite direction.

Once you get down, the traffic will probably be worse so be careful walking along the road to your car. Then head down for a bite and/or drink in Winters. Lots of cute places to check out.

Monday, February 03, 2014

Cross Country Skiing & Snowshoeing - Big Sky, Montana

I went snowshoeing yesterday and cross-country skiing at about 7000 feet today. I got to Big Sky, Montana yesterday and haven't had any issues with headaches or any other altitude issues. I've been drinking water like crazy so I'm sure that is helping. I'm also not drinking coffee after my usual one. In the past when I've been here. I've had coffee all day. Uhh… why?

Anyway, the snow has been great. I could definitely feel the lack of oxygen but I haven't really feel limited at all. I was pleasantly surprised!

Snowshoeing takes off from Big Sky Resort and crosses over the ski hill into the woods where the Zip Line then flies overhead. The trail is easy to follow as it goes in and out of the woods, sometimes paralleling a ski run. At the top of the trail, you can go right or left. I went left, which took me to a Yurt where they apparently host dinners for people who are carted up there in some kind of motor drawn sleigh. The trail is back the same way but with more familiarity, it was more comfortable to go off trail a bit.

Skiing was at the Long Mountain Ranch where the trails were very well groomed. About 10 of us took the shuttle from the resort. We climbed pretty consistently for about 3 miles and then realized that we wouldn't be able to make the entire loop we were trying to complete and we needed to catch the shuttle. The downhill was pretty interesting after not cross-country skiing for two years. I snowplowed a lot of the way down and then tried the groomed tracks. My body didn't remember what to do on a corner and my mind wasn't quick enough to adjust. So the skis went out of the track and I slid across the skate ski track and fell into the powder. POOF! Didn't get hurt at all but I couldn't get out. lol Gary, one of the two men I was skiing with, was waiting for me to come around the corner to get a photo of me. He said he didn't take a picture of me when I fell but then teased that maybe it would show up randomly somewhere. I hope he did!! He also had to pull me out of the powder. About 2 minutes later, Marshall came around a different corner and he fell too. We continued down toward the ranch and ran into the 7 other people in our party who had been taking a lesson. So we all got to finish together.

A great few hours out in the cold fresh air of Montana getting some exercise. Awesome!

Wednesday, January 01, 2014

Cold New Year in the Redwoods

We spent New Year's Eve at Samuel P. Taylor State Park hidden from the sun. There weren't many people there on December 30th but it seemed pretty populated for December 31st. Most people seem to have celebrated New Year from a different time zone, us included. But there was a bit of noise at midnight for a few seconds… and then silence.

We had a couple visits from raccoons while we were still finishing dinner. We learned from last time to put food away right immediately but they didn't even have the manners to wait until we were done eating. One of them actually got away with a box of crackers! Bugger! I don't know if it was the same one or not, but we had another visit later after all the food was put away. It walked up on the table and seemed to look at us like we were not following protocol by having put our food away. We made noise and, of course, it took off. But with our headlamps, we could see its beady little eyes looking at us from a tree with his bandit mask on.

We also used our Dutch Oven for the first time and I followed a very easy recipe for Monkey Bread…. basically cinnamon buns. I burned the bottom in the fire a little but the rest was baked perfectly and tasted awesome. I just need to learn some of the finer points of Dutch Oven cooking. Good first effort though!

For future reference, camping in the redwoods in the winter is just a tad cold. The sun doesn't penetrate the cover so the ground never warms up and the air is always chilled and humid. Even Jambo was cold! Can't complain too much with what the midwest is going through with their constant below 0 temps. But I can comment anyway.

Finally, we were in Site 14, which we did not reserve. It was right next to Site 16, which we had last time. Site 14 was a good site with just enough space for our tent with garage attached. The car was able to block us from people driving by and there was good tree cover between sites so it was pretty private. I would stay in that site again at SPT SP.

Endnote: Just an FYI that we spent Christmas in Las Vegas. So we had the full spectrum of celebrations this season!