Monthly Archives: March 2013

Sunrise anyone?

Have you seen a sunrise in the Reno or Tahoe area that you didn’t like? Whether waking up early to purposefully catch the sun rising, or being up already for work and catching it on my way in, I don’t think I’ve ever seen a sunrise in this area that wasn’t something to stop and look at.

I never used to be an early riser. I signed up for class at 10:15 every semester, I hated having to wake up early in high school, and if someone asked me to meet them somewhere before the sun was up I would laugh. The first really cool sunrise I remember seeing was in high school because our soccer team had to leave at about 5:30am for a game in Elko that same day. We were driving through Reno on the day of the Reno Hot Air Balloon Races and to see the sun rising over our eastern mountains and hitting the balloons on the clear morning was memorable.

Since, I have changed my ways. I intentionally wake up a couple of times each year to watch the sunrise in a peaceful place. I am even lucky enough (not really) to work a 7am shift at my work, so now I get to see the sunrise almost every morning. The first time I decided to intentionally watch the sunrise was with my girlfriend after Christmas a year ago. We drove from Gardnerville up to Emerald Bay in Lake Tahoe early in the morning. We were lucky to catch one of the best sunrises I have ever seen.

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Sunrises can mean many things to many people. I love the colors that are reflected in the sky just before the sun is about to rise. I physically like feeling the heat of the sun on my face as it rises over the mountain. I also enjoy watching the sun’s light creep across the landscape that I am watching it from as it rises up higher into the sky.

Personally, it is a good time for me to reflect. Because the sun rises slowly, when I am sitting there taking in the details I am also able to think with a clear, open mind. I will meditate on my physical body, or really think about my current life situation and what I am doing. Or I’ll think of ways to slow my life down, and make clear what I’m doing, because so frequently I am doing too much at one time.

Lake Tahoe is an excellent place to see the sunrise, and so is Reno, so I recommend you try this just once. Set aside one morning, wake up early, go to peacefully place and watch the sunrise. Whether you enjoy the visual appealing beauty or the time it gives you to reflect, see what happens, I’m willing to bet you won’t regret it!

If you have a favorite place to watch the sunrise, please share it here!

An Easy Way to Help Keep Tahoe Blue!

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What is 25$ dollars to you? For some it may be a nice dinner, for others a couple albums on iTunes, or maybe groceries for a few days. What if you knew that a small sacrifice of $25 could be your way of helping to maintain the beauty of our stunning lake. For many of us it is a couple hours of work, maybe even one hour that gives you membership for a year with The League to Save Lake Tahoe, the group that distributes the classic Keep Tahoe Blue sticker.

If donating money isn’t for you, there are so many opportunities to donate your time. If Tahoe truly is something you cherish and you understand that you must pour into things in order to keep them beautiful, healthy, and successful, then it is easy to understand what needs to be done. The same way that I buy myself healthy food, stay active, exercise, and challenge my mind in order to remain healthy and proactive, I want the same for Lake Tahoe so that it can stay beautiful for generations to come.

In case you don’t know who The League is, or need an introduction into the group, you can visit my previous blog that explains who they are and what they are trying to do. This is an amazing group that never gives up on maintaining the water clarity of the lake. Today, I am going to walk you through, step by step, how to become a member of their league. It is quickeasy, and you can know that you are giving to a responsible group who is going to do the best thing possible with the donations they receive. And if you needed another reason to join, your donation is tax deductible!

The first step, is to go to www.keeptahoeblue.org. You will see a button labeled “Donate” in the upper right hand corner.

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Next, you are taken to screen where you can choose the amount you woud like to donate. Fill out your billing information and hit donate at the bottom of the page, it’s THAT easy! If you don’t want to donate to a specific area, your donation will go to the area of greatest need. If you donate at least $25, you become a member of the league for a year, and join “one of many showing support for our leadership role in advocating to protect Lake Tahoe and promote conservation action to Keep Tahoe Blue now, and for generations to come.”

If you have any questions at all, you can contact the league, they are all very helpful and willing to talk to you about any aspect of their organization, Lake Tahoe, or other local things. Email: Info@keeptahoeblue.org    Phone: 530-541-5388    Fax: 530-541-5454                     

Now go out there and either donate your time or money! You don’t have to donate to Lake Tahoe if you don’t love it, but let’s all practice pouring into the things we do love. Let me know how it feels to give back to the things you love! Share what it is on here!

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Outdoor Activity #2 – Skiing!

Grab your sticks, there’s still snow in those mountains and some great spring skiing conditions! I’m going to run through the basics of skiing and some of my favorite places to ski in the area. It is a great winter sport and definitely something to try if you live in the area and have yet to make it out.

The Basics:

The first thing you need is to make sure you have the proper gear. Skis, boots, pass, goggles, gloves, poles are the basics, but I’d also recommend a helmet, sun screen, warm waterproof clothing that is comfortable, and of course a proper vehicle to get you up to the mountain. The skis should be the proper length, here is a great guide for determining the length of the skis you should be using. 

If you would like lessons, every resort offers them for different skill levels and I’d recommend calling in advance and reserving a lesson so you don’t miss out when you get up there. If you are feeling confident, that’s awesome, go for it! Don’t be afraid of the mountain and don’t let other people’s skill levels discourage you, everyone is out there to have fun! 

Resorts:

Heavenly 

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This is the largest resort in the Tahoe basin. It spans over California and Nevada and offers some of the best views of the lake. It has terrain for every skill level from long, flat runs on Boulder to steep and deep vertical in Mott Canyon. I grew up riding this mountain and would definitely recommend it as it is one of my favorites. It can be crowded on the weekends but midweek is an excellent destination. If you love tree skiing this is a great place for it!

Kirkwood and Squaw Valley

Kirkwood and Squaw Valley are excellent ski resorts. They are similar in that they offer very challenging terrain. Kirkwood is known for receiving more snow than most ski resorts and on a powder day it will be the place powder hounds flock. Squaw is an awesome hill and offers more open, steep terrain than most ski resorts. If you are an intermediate to expert ski level looking for a challenge I would point you to either of these mountains. 

Mt. Rose and Diamond Peak

These two mountains are more family-oriented, small scale operations. They have excellent programs for children learning to ski and are great places for the family to spend ski days together. Mt. Rose does offer steep, challenging terrain in The Chutes and also generally has cheaper day ticket prices (ranging from $40 to 80 a day). 

Alpine Meadows and Sierra-at-Tahoe

These resorts are both medium sized resorts on opposite sides of the lake. Alpine Meadows is in the north, and is the sister resort of Squaw Valley. It offers steep terrains and generally is not as crowded as Squaw. I enjoy going to Alpine on days when I know that Squaw is going to be a zoo. It is also has terrain from beginner to expert and has terrain you can hike to if want to go for a backcountry type of ride. Sierra-at-Tahoe is tucked away in the trees south of Tahoe. It has some of the best tree skiing and also is a popular destination on a good powder day as it also gets more snow the most resorts. On a sunny, bluebird day I would choose Sierra if I was staying in the South Lake area. 

Here is a map of ski resorts in the area. 

I really encourage you to get on the hill if you have yet to this season! Skiing is such a blast and a great way to spend a winter day. For me, skiing is a way to get outside, challenge myself, have fun with friends, and see some spectacular views from the tops of mountains. Go try it, come back here, and let me know how it went! Or if you already ski, tell me why you love it and where you ride!

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One Step Back, Two Steps Forward

Have you ever not been able to do something you love? Was it because of an injury? You didn’t have enough time in the day? Or maybe someone convinced you to do something else? I’m sure we’ve all fallen under one of these categories.

The day before yesterday I had surgery because my left labrum was torn from dislocating my shoulder several times. My recovery time is 3-5 months, and in this time I won’t be able to do many of the outdoor activities that I love. I haven’t gone stir crazy yet but I’m not exactly the personality that is able to sit on the couch and hang out for long periods of time. I find a release, motivation and energy from the joy I get by running, biking, working out and other activities.

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Before I went in for surgery I went skiing and snowboarding three days in a row. It was perfect spring conditions. We went to Squaw Valley, Sugarbowl, and Mt. Rose. I got to ski with friends and family each day. I enjoyed doing something I love with awesome people, to me it can’t get much better than that.

Each day I stopped at the top of the mountain and took time to reflect. I thanked God for the beautiful creation before me. I was thankful for the time I was given to do the things I love. Also, as much as I hate to admit it, I’m thankful I had surgery and that it went well, even though I’ll be out for some time.

My girlfriend does a good job of reminding me to think about the long term. As hard as I want to go and do stuff now, if I don’t stop to take care of my body now then it won’t last long term.  I do want to ski until I’m 80, bike the rest of my life, and be able to rock climb again. In order to do those things I must take time to rest my body and take good care of it.

This is the same way I’ve learned to think about the environment I love. If we aren’t caring for it now how is it going to last long term? We need to take the time to make sure that our environment is healthy so that it stays beautiful in the long term.

This is why I asked if you are unable to do the things you love. Are you making excuses? I know when I truly am not grateful for my ability to do the things I love is usually when I don’t end up doing them. You have to be true to yourself and what you believe in. Don’t make excuses because there are those out there who physically can’t do the things they love who would love to be in your shoes.

What’s preventing you from doing the things you love?

Now get out there and do those things!

Sugar Pine Foundation

I want to share another organization, similar to Keep Tahoe Blue that is making an effort to conserve and restore the beautiful environment around us in the Reno and Tahoe area. The group is called the Sugar Pine Foundation, have you heard of it?

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This group is specifically dedicated to restoring the white pines in our area by involving the community in forest stewardship. They have an awesome mission that is trying to restore and ensure the “natural regeneration of sugar pines and other white pines in the Tahoe Basin and surrounding areas.”

The awesome thing about this group is that they want to involve our community in this form of forest stewardship. They want each individual to become aware of the regeneration process because at the end of the day the group can’t do it all. They need us to step up and be responsible for our environment and the footprint that we leave. 

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To look at the organization in further detail, The Sugar Pine Foundation is a non-profit group that was founded in 2004. They specifically are looking to save the trees and forests from the threat of white pine blister rust, otherwise known as “Cronartium ribicola.” This is a non-native, incurable fungus that kills white pines. The foundation seeks out trees that are resistant to the fungus, collects their seeds, and plant the progeny through the Tahoe Basin. 

Patagonia partners with this group and helps to fund the awesome work that they do in our area. At least once a year my work takes volunteers out with the foundation to plant seeds, work in the forests, and learn about the fungus. It is Patagonia’s way of helping to fund their mission and let the volunteers know how they affect and can help this white pines in our backyard! You can visit the organization’s website or their Facebook page

The weather is continuing to look nice for this weekend! What are you going to do outdoors this weekend? Come back here and talk about it!

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Outdoor Activity 1: Road Biking

Have you seen the weather report for this week?! Highs in the 70’s will be coming to the Reno/Tahoe area. With this warm weather teasing and tempting us, I am ready for summer and all of the outdoor activities to come! We have been in winter mode and I understand that if you don’t ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or do any other winter sport, chances are the weather keeps most indoors. I personally know that when the weather is warm I will see ten times more people out walking by the river near my work.

With this warm weather coming our way I am going to share some great outdoor activities to do in the spring in Reno/Tahoe throughout this semester. When the weather is really warm for spring, you can spend all day outdoors. In the spring there is so much to do in this area; I will describe several activities every couple weeks for you to try!

The first one I am going to start with is road biking. This is one of my favorite outdoor activities. It is an awesome sport and such an economical way to get from one place to the other without a motor. As described in my blog about riding around Tahoe biking is also a great way to see your environment in more detail and time than you would in a car.

My favorite ride in Reno is the Verdi Loop. It is along paved roads, bike paths, and quiet highway roads that take you outside of Reno to the west. The ride is very popular among riders and you will more than likely ride by several. It is not a super challenging ride, and for those looking to get into the sport it is great because there aren’t any super challenging hills and traffic is minimal. The ride goes out Old Highway 40 out to Verdi and then loops through the neighborhood and back onto the highway into town.

Exploring Tahoe on a road bike is one of my favorite things to do. Sometimes I’ll drive up there, park somewhere I haven’t before and just take off and try to find good hills, quiet roads, and awesome views. Aside from riding around the lake, I enjoy riding up the lake side of Mt. Rose. This is a good climb that offers excellent views and a nice wide shoulder to ride on.

If looking for something a little less steep, parking in Tahoe City and riding south along the lake on the bike paths can be really fun. This ride is great for groups or for working on speed or your pace on flats. The path runs in and out of trees, along the main roads and has some great lake views. Not to mention there is a general store in Tahoma that has the best deli sandwiches out there!

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I hope this gives you an idea of some fun rides in the area as well as what it’s like to be on a bike. I love breathing the fresh air in my lungs, flying down the hills, and the feeling of my own strength and endurance propelling me from one place to another thanks to the beautiful invention of a bicycle!

What rides to you like to do in the area? Please share!

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Keep Tahoe Blue and Groundswell

I had the opportunity to meet with Jesse Patterson, the deputy director of Keep Tahoe Blue and the League to Save Lake Tahoe last week. Patagonia and Camelback sponsored and organized a video premier called “Groundswell,” and the proceeds went to Keep Tahoe Blue.

The premiere was at Moody’s in downtown Truckee. The video was made by Patagonia and followed one of the company’s surf ambassadors as they traveled down the coast of Canada surfing and understanding how a possible oil pipeline could destroy the habitats and ecosystems that live there.
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There is a local population of natives that live on the coast. Hearing their perspective of how the pipeline would affect them was inspiring. They have such a deep respect and close relationship with their environment (animals, rivers, plants, and ocean). They understand the flow of the ecosystem and are truly doing everything in their power to conserve the beauty around them. It was very motivating to see because I look to do the same thing for this area I have grown up in.

My meeting with Jesse went very well and we were able to collaborate on how to increase knowledge and grow the membership of Keep Tahoe Blue. In future blogs I will be sharing their objectives for 2013 and how they progress as the leading group attempting to preserve the clarity and beauty of Lake Tahoe.

With daylight savings kicked in and spring around the corner we are going to have some longer days and more sunshine. I personally will enjoy this by running and mountain biking outside. Share how you are going to enjoy the extra hour of daylight here!

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