Possible Plethora of Wildflowers

June 30, 2009

Because of the late, cool spring rains, the wildflowers in the Sierra Nevada may be in bountiful bloom in a few weeks. The warm weather that is expected this week will start them on their way. Actually, we’ve seen blue lupine, white prickly poppies, pink, red and light purple penstemon, and California poppies along the road already.

Some of our favorite wildflower books for the high desert are Sierra Nevada Wildflowers by Karen Wiese and Great Basin Wildflowers: A Guide to Common Wildflowers of the High Deserts of Nevada, Utah, and Oregon and Wildflowers of the Eastern Sierra and Adjoining Mojave Desert and Great Basin both by Laird R. Blackwell. Laird Blackwell also has Tahoe Wildflowers: A Month-by-Month Guide to Wildflowers in the Tahoe Basin and Surrounding Areas for the Lake Tahoe area.

Our mode of operation on our car trips, mainly on Highway 395, between LA and Reno is for me to give the high sign that I want us to pull off to the side of the road so I can pull out the books and camera to identify and record the latest splash of color along the road. According to the books, Horseshoe Meadow and Onion Valley are showy places. Also off of Highway 88 on Blue Lakes Road is another super spot. The mountainsides along 395 on the other side of the road from the Walker River splash with color. Carson Pass is another good place to find different wildflowers.

Youth Backcountry Camps for Ages 13-18

June 29, 2009

This summer, the Tahoe Rim Trail Association and Sierra Nevada Journeys will be offering four sessions of three-day, two-night Youth Backcountry Camps. These camps are intended to engage high school youth in a true wilderness experience and a service learning project on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

From the website:
“The Youth Backcountry Camps provide a valuable wilderness experience to youth in the Lake Tahoe Basin and surrounding areas. These camps combine wilderness education, trail operations and maintenance, outdoor education, and Leave No Trace outdoor ethics, all while camping in the backcountry in a life-changing outdoor program. Participants learn valuable lessons and gain outdoor experiences that will help them to connect with the environment and infuse environmental stewardship for the future, allowing them to spread their new found knowledge and skills throughout their community.

The TRTA Youth Backcountry Camps engage young adults between the ages of 13-18 who love the outdoors and want to learn more about backpacking, trail operations, ecology and outdoor leadership skills in an advanced wilderness setting.


* Session 1: July 13-15th
* Session 2: July 16-18th
* Session 3: July 19-21st

Several topics incorporated will be:

* Map and Compass Orienteering
* Leave No Trace: 7 Principles for Minimum Impact Recreation
* Shelter building skills
* Flora and Fauna Identification
* Backcountry survival skills
* Team building exercises
* Leadership skills

Each camp has the capacity for 12 students and will be fully supported by TRTA and SNJ staff. The cost for the program is $99 (scholarships are available). Participants are provided with all necessary camping gear and food for the program. Participants only need appropriate footwear and a passion for the outdoors!

For more information or to register, contact Katy Washington

775.298.0238 or.katyw@tahoerimtrail.org”

Full Moon Hikes

June 29, 2009

Have you ever hiked at night by the light of the full moon? Ok, with maybe a little help of a flashlight? In the Reno/Tahoe area there are two series of full moon hikes being offered by two separate groups.

The Tahoe Rim Trail Association is offering full moon hikes for members (Membership is $20 annually) starting at the Tahoe Meadows Trail trailhead. Per the event calendar: Everything changes after dark – the trails, the trees, and the lake. Experience the Tahoe Rim Trail in a whole new light with full moon hikes led by experienced hike leaders. Take in inspiring views of the lake as the moon rises over the Lake Tahoe Basin. Experience the peace, tranquility and beauty of the Tahoe Rim Trail at dusk. Expect casually paced hikes for all ages, while slowing down to enjoy the flora and fauna, current happenings in the natural world and nighttime senses.

TRTA Membership is required to attend.

Space is limited; please call the TRTA office at (775) 298-0012 or email katyw@tahoerimtrail.org to reserve your spot. Bring a flashlight, layered clothing and water. This may not be the best hike for children under 10. Please, to respect the night sounds and wildlife, no dogs this time! The dates are July 7, August 6, September 4 and October 4.

The Squaw Valley hiking center guided moon hikes begin at 6:30 p.m. at High Camp (accessible via cable car). The hikes are approximately three hours long and are moderate in level. The dates are July 6 and 7 and August 4 and 5. The cost is $15 for adults, youth and seniors and $5 for children. Bring drinking water and flashlights and wear warm clothing.

The Squaw Valley hiking center also has guided sunset hikes July 10, 11, 17, 18, 24, 31 and August 1, 7, 8, 14, 15, 21, 22. For more details call 530-583-6985 or click www.squaw.com

Volunteer Vacations

June 28, 2009

USA Today reviewed two books loaded with ideas for vacations where you can make a difference. Check it out!

The 100 Best Volunteer Vacations to Enrich Your Life, by Pam Grout and
Volunteer Vacations Across America by Sheryl Kayne

While on Amazon I also found:
Volunteer Vacations: Short-Term Adventures That Will Benefit You and Others by Bill McMillon, Doug Cutchins, Anne Geissinger, and Ed Asner

The Great American Backyard Campout is TONIGHT!

June 27, 2009

The Great American Backyard Campout is tonight. I wrote about this before. The Reno Gazette-Journal has an article here on Backyard Bonanza by Maggie O’Neill.

Do it! Have fun and take pictures! Send the best one in for a contest!
From the RGJ (Reno Gazette-Journal):
Send in a photo of your family participating in the Great American Backyard Campout for a chance to win a copy of Richard Louv’s book Last Child in the Woods: Saving our Children from Nature-Deficit Disorder. Your photo could be published in the RGJ. Send submissions to moneill@rgj.com

Picture America Contest

June 27, 2009

USA Today published the three top winners of the Picture America Contest on Friday, June 26. The pictures are awesome!! First Place went to Sunset Reflections at Flying A Guest Ranch in Pinedale, WY by Joanne Panizzera of Sebastopol, CA. Here are the other finalists. All 1,035 entries are at discoveramerica.usatoday.com. USA Today and National Geographic sponsored the contest.

Michael Jackson’s Legacy

June 27, 2009

So, so sad about Michael Jackson’s passing. Though he seemed strange in many ways, he was so talented and such a philanthropist. The world will certainly miss him as he did make a big difference. He donated millions of his own money and helped raise more millions with different concerts and other functions. Michael co-wrote “We Are The World” with Lionel Richie that raised millions of dollars for famine relief.
Here’s a video from USA Today remembering Michael Jackson.

The Candy Store

June 26, 2009

When you are visiting San Francisco and suddenly get an urge for something sweet, head for just off upper Polk Street in Russian Hill, The Candy Store is San Francisco’s premier candy boutique, offering a wide range of sweets, sours, gummies, gumballs, licorice and chocolates.

They have old-fashioned nostalgic candy and the newest candies, too! Come in for an eye-opening-wide array of yummy candies that people of all ages will enjoy!

The Farmer’s Market

June 25, 2009

Whenever we went by a street lined with tents, Austin would point and say, “I did that!” Mommy had to explain that he meant he had gone shopping with her at the local Farmer’s Market. Now, no matter where they see the tents, he’s done that! The L.A. Farmer’s Market is great, but so are all the little ones. It is a great learning opportunity for teaching names of fruits and vegetables to the kids!! Lots of fun can be had!! 🙂

Marine Science Adventure Camps – Summer 2009

June 24, 2009

Long Beach Marine Institute has two series of camps this summer. Ocean Adventure Camp is for ages 5-12 and Junior Oceanographer is for ages 13-16. The following information is from their poster:

Ocean Adventure Camp for Ages 5-12
Unique experience with hands-on marine science

Available June 22-August 21
$180/week or $680 for four weeks
Prices include all field trips

Each week has a different ocean related theme and is filled with projects, crafts, and aquatic fun designed to promote ocean sciences and conservation. Campers will enjoy weekly field trips, kayaking, snorkeling, an expedition aboard the Long Beach Marine Institute research vessel and lots more!

Week 1 & 6: Liquid Jungles
Kelp Forests and Coral Reefs
Session I: 6/22-6/26 & Session II: 7/27-7/31

Week 2: Mysteries of the Deep
Deep Sea Creatures and Habitats
Session I: 6/29-7/3

Week 3 & 7: Whales and Friends
Marine Mammels
Session I: 7/6-7/10, Session II: 8/3-8/7

Week 4 & 8: Invertebrate-A-Mania
Study of Invertebrates
Session I: 7/13-7/17, Session II: 8/10-8/14

Week 5 & 9: Shark Days
Study of Sharks
Session I: 7/20-7/24, Session II: 8/17-8/21

Junior Oceanographer Teen Camp for Ages 13-16
This oceanography and marine science camp is created for teens enthusiastic about learning and exploring our marine environment. Campers will have the opportunity to participate in oceanographic research and exploration while they live aboard the Research Vessel Conqueror. This week long excursion will allow campers to discover marine habitats along our coast and on Catalina Island. This camp will better acquaint students with the basic elements of geology, physics, chemistry, and biology. Hands-on activities such as snorkeling, kayaking and dissections are utilized to conduct investigations to re-enforce concepts learned. ** Inquire about school credit!

Price includes all room and board

Session I: July 13-17

Session II: August 10-14

Long Beach Marine Institute
6475 E Pacific Coast Highway #281
Long Beach, CA 90803

For more information, visit the Long Beach Marine Institute website.

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