Tag Archives: Outside

River Clean Up!

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On Tuesday our work did a river clean up in honor of Earth Day. Patagonia employees worked from 9 until 2 filling trash bags and trying to keep the river area around our work and surrounding area clean. My department took hour long shifts and I was assigned to work from 9-10.

Just looking at the river, it doesn’t look bad. I have defnitely seen dirtier rivers around the country. However, when taking a closer look, there were plently of things to be gathered, recycled and cleaned.

I walked from Patagonia along the river bank towards Mayberry park. I was keeping my eyes peeled for little items that the people before me had missed. I found headphones, bottle caps, fishing lures and other small things. The item that most people overlooked that was causing some damage was fishing line.

I’m guessing when fishermen get caught on something if they aren’t able to pull their line in they cut the line loose. Whatever the line was stuck to then stays there, and eventually will get free. I found yards and yards of line stuck in bushes along the bank. When the water level goes down, whatever was stuck in the bushes is then suspended in the air. The fishing line acts as a tiedown that groups the debris to the bushes. This line is not good for the animals that live in and around the river.

It was very intricate work, but I got as much line out of the bushes as I could. There were tons of random things found, from a dead raccoon to a huge piece of metal that had sunk to the bottom of the river (pictured below).

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All in all, it was a great river clean up! The area looked cleaner, and people were excited to get out there and help clean up the area that we call home for 8 hours a day. Does your work do anything like this? If not, what would you like to see your work to? Share 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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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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