Tag Archives: Tahoe

RTO – My First 178 Mile Relay

I am reviewing the Reno Tahoe Odyssey, which I ran over the weekend. It was a great event and an awesome experience. I was on a 12 man relay team that ran 178 miles from Reno, around Tahoe, through Carson City, out to Virginia City, then back to downtown Reno. We had an awesome team and we did better than we expected ourselves to. The camaraderie was incredible, there were costumes, decorated vans, and runners and teams everywhere for 24 hours, all having a great time. The event was very tolling on our bodies, everyone ran between 15 and 17 miles each, by the time the third leg came we had only slept about 2 hours and were exhausted.

Although it was a difficult event, I totally enjoyed every minute and would do it again in a heartbeat. I want to encourage everyone to do something similar, something that they haven’t done. I really want to encourage you to do something like this that you’ve never done before. These events keep life exciting and you usually do things and have experiences that you wouldn’t otherwise.

Outdoor Activity – Trail Running

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Have you ever headed out to a nearby trail and ran? If you haven’t, I’ll paint a picture of my experience trail running. I usually like to run on trails in the mountains. I’ll pick one and jump in my car and drive. Once I get there, I lace up my shoes and plug in my music.

I enjoy trails that zig and zag through tall pine trees. You run through them and feel the coolness in the air from the elevation and the shade of the trees. My ideal trail run goes up and down in elevation as it zips through the forest. Eventually, my favorite trails end at a beautiful destination, such as a mountain lake, stream, or overlook of a valley. That’s why I’m out there, to enjoy the beauty. That why I work so hard to get there, because it is worth it.

In the Reno/Tahoe area, my favorite places to run are along the Tahoe Rim Trail. This trail goes all the way around the lake, and offers some of the best views of not only Lake Tahoe, but the valleys and areas on the other side of the mountain range that it follows.

I prefer trail running to street running because trail running usually offers more difficult terrain. There are more obstacles you have to look out for, always keeping your mind focused. It is also enjoyable for me to get out and get away from the city or places where lots of people are. It’s a great way for me to get out by myself and really have some good thinking time.

If you don’t trail run, I highly suggest you try it out! You can start hiking if you are more comfortable with that, it is a great way to see beautiful areas as well! What is your favorite trail run and why do you like it?

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Outdoor Activity – Beach Day!

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Now that we are really getting into some heat in Reno and Tahoe there are not as many cool weather or winter activities. The ski season is just about over, as backcountry stashes are melting away, but there is so much to do in the summer that it isn’t bad news! The warm temperatures of course give us the opportunity to ride bikes, hike, run, and camp, but there is another activity that hot weather allows us to do.

Ever since we could drive my friends and I would do beach days as much as possible. We loved driving up on the weekends and laying out in the sun, playing volleyball, swimming, and just being around our friends outside. The beach is a perfect place to do all these things.

When it gets a little too hot for comfort you run down to the water, and dive in to the freezing lake. Then you jump up because the cold water has taken your breath away and run back to the shore, refreshed and feeling good. Our group of friends would stay up at Tahoe all day until it started getting dark. Then we’d come home, eat dinner, wake up and do it again the next day.

When we were seniors in high school we had “early outs” so we would drive up to Zephyr Cove Beach during the week since it was 25 minutes away and hang out for the afternoon. We’d play doubles volleyball until the sun set and then stop for food on the way home. These are some of my favorite memories with my friends and being outside.

I encourage you to find a local beach and make some memories. Or I challenge you to find a new spot you haven’t explored yet. Just last weekend I was able to go to a different, new beach in Tahoe with a group of friends. The weather was perfect, it was about 80 degrees and felt hot since it hasn’t been that warm yet this season. We played bocci ball, frisbee, hung out and just relaxed. Not to mention, we were up in Tahoe, in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Could we be luckier?

The water was freezing! There is still some snowmelt running into the lake so it was about 57 degrees. I don’t think I’ve felt the lake that cold in a LONG time. My girlfriend, Johanna wanted to jump off the dock so we went out there as a group. I jumped in, felt my breath leave me, and my muscles go numb as I paddled back toward the surface. I had just gotten out when she said “your shorts aren’t even wet!” and pushed me back in again. Double the freezing, but it was totally worth it because I have memories that will last forever and couldn’t imagine spending a day any other way.

Get out there and share your favorite spots to hit the beach in the Reno/Tahoe area!

Here’s a list of beaches to get you started. Here are some photos of beaches in Lake Tahoe if you need a little more motivation.

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Planting with the Sugar Pine Foundation!

Today I had an opportunity to help the environment literally right in my own backyard. Patagonia, where I work, is located right on the Truckee river. On the opposite side of the trail are trails, a ditch creek, and some good hikes.

Many employees go walk or run the trails on lunch breaks and many non-Patagonia employees hike on these trails everyday. The hill used to be a forest that ran up to the river on the south side, but deforestation has left it a desert.

Today the sugar pine foundation came to our work and employees volunteered to plant baby Jeffrey Pines along the hillside. I was able to participate and the group planted over 250 baby Jeffrey Pines!

First, you find a nice flat, north facing area that can provide shade for the baby tree. Areas where water will naturally run were preferred because Nevada is so dry that these trees need as much water as they can get.

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Here are some baby seedlings that we planted.

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A picture of the seedling in the hole before filling it.

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Dig the hole about a shovel head’s length deep. Fill it with dirt and pack it down. Throw some mulch over it and then give it some water.

Patagonia employees planted 250 trees along the side of the hill that is on the other side of the river. If everybody helps out, waters the seedlings, and we get some good rain, we should be able to see some trees on the desert hill soon!

It was awesome to help out and give back to the area where I spend time working and running on my lunch breaks. I can’t wait to come back in years and see these trees grow up big! I love giving back to the earth that gives me so much.

I encourage everyone to get out there and do at least one event or volunteer opportunity like this, because everyone helping out can do so much for our environment that we enjoy everyday. Get out there and give back this spring, come back here and share what you did!

 

Get Out & Do Something for the Earth that Gives You so Much

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Spring is coming, Earth Day is around the corner, and people are getting outside. Daffodils are blooming in our area, trees are blossoming, and nature’s beauty is starting to reveal itself all around us. 

It takes a lot of work to renew this beauty from season to season. People have begun working hard on their gardens, preparing them for planting. Plant nurseries are stocking up and getting ready to help people make their homes and gardens more beautiful. Everyone wants their own properties, yards and gardens to flourish, but who is going to look after the beautiful areas that nobody owns? 

We all desire to live in a visually appealing community. We want our rivers to be clean, our forests to be healthy, and our neighborhoods to be tidy. How many of us really go out of our way though to make the places around us beautiful? I know that I fall short here. I could volunteer or just go out and look out for the local ecosystem better to ensure that my environment is cleaner. 

One of the problems is that people feel that what they contribute negatively to the environment isn’t making that much of a negative impact. That’s correct, there are a lot of people who do “think green” or volunteer a couple of times throughout the year. But when enough people who don’t care have a little bit of a negative impact, it adds up and it hurts our environments and ecosystems. This results in originally beautiful places that no one wants to visit. Can you think of a place like this?

So what can we do in our area? I have researched different groups and opportunities to volunteer in the Tahoe area. 

Keep Tahoe Blue is constantly working on projects and events to help keep the lake clean and pure. They always need volunteers, so if you have some time I’d suggest contacting them to see what up coming project they may need help with. They can be reached at: 530-541-5388. They also participate in Tahoe Forest Stewardship Day, Coastal Cleanup Day, Storm Drain Marking, and tabling events throughout the year. 

The United States Forest Service also has several opportunities to volunteer. A Forest Service Volunteer can teach glasses, give guides and tours, do trail work, and garden. For more information contact: Joy Barney (530) 543-2685.

Desolation Wilderness Volunteers help manage our desolation wilderness. These activities include resource monitoring, ranger patrols, wilderness information, and a variety of other activities. For information about future volunteer opportunities, visit www.desowv.org.

OHV consists of the Rubicon Trail Foundation and the Friends of the Rubicon, who work to maintain the trail and preserve resources. The North Tahoe Trail Dusters work in the North Lake Tahoe area and specifically volunteer on Bucks Lake Road and the Middle Fork of Blackwood Canyon Road. The Lake Tahoe Hi-Lo’s work in the South Lake Tahoe area and specifically in the Twin Peaks area.

If you like Tahoe history and meeting new people, then the Tallac Historic Site is for you! The group needs docents, gardeners, and historic site volunteers. They also do maintenance and restoration projects. Call Jacqueline Dumin at (530) 541-5227 for more information. 

Trail Crew Volunteers work hard, and enjoy seeing their physical efforts protect resources. The Tahoe Rim Trail Association and the Pacific Crest Trail Association, along with other hiking and equestrian groups, assists the U.S. Forest Service, State Parks, and other agencies with the care of the many hiking trails in the Lake Tahoe Basin. From removing blow-downs, moving rocks, repairing wash-outs to cutting back chaparral, trail crews do it all. Visit the Tahoe Rim Trail Association or the Pacific Crest Trail Association for more information. 

Now you have some different groups to get you started, there is no excuse. If you love playing in the Tahoe area, get out there and spend some time giving back what it needs in order to stay beautiful. 

Come back here and tell me about your experience. Or please share a group or chance to volunteer that I didn’t talk about!

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Outdoor Activity #3 – Mountain Biking

Mountain biking is an activity that is perfect for the Reno/Tahoe area. It is an awesome way to get away from the city streets and explore the dirt trails that are everywhere in Northern Nevada.  There are great rides just north of Reno, south, and in between here and Tahoe.

I’m very thankful that growing up my dad always had a mountain bike for me. He taught my brother, my sister, and me how to ride and one of my favorite things to do today is to go on rides with him. Riding with a group of friends is tons of fun, and memories will for sure be made. It is also nice to go out on your own and either clear your mind or go as fast or slow as you want.

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Today I’m going to share with you some basics of mountain biking, some tips, and some great rides in the area.

The Basics

The number one basic of mountain biking is safety.  Just because dirt is softer than pavement doesn’t mean you don’t need to be safe. I have experienced worse injuries mountain biking than I ever have road biking.  Your helmet is your best friend, and needs to fit right.  Some people don’t like them, but I would recommend gloves for anyone starting out. Your hands do get sore, and if you were to crash gloves provide key protection between you and little rocks that like to get lodged in hands.

Next, make sure that your bike fits you properly.  You want to be able to stand over the top tube and have both feet flat on the ground without the bar up in your business. If you were to have to jump off the bike or put your feet down immediately you want to make sure that you have enough clearance there.

Some Tips

It’s also important to have your seat at the correct height. You want to maximize your effort on the bike. If your seat is too high or too low while pedaling you won’t be getting the most out of your efforts. A good height is one where your legs are almost straight when making a full rotation while pedaling.

It’s a good idea to understand how the bike shifts before your first ride. I can tell you from experience when I first started riding that if you don’t understand how to shift properly you will wear yourself out fast. Check out this video on how to shift correctly.

Rides in Our Area

One great thing about Nevada being mostly desert is that there are so many trails everywhere to explore! There are also tons of rides up in Tahoe, especially around parts of the Tahoe Rim Trail. If you want to stay in Reno, Keystone Canyon and Galena are great places to ride. In Keystone Canyon, there are big loops to do, lots of different options, and a downhill course made by the UNR Cycling Club.  It offers easy to difficult terrain and is a great option if you work in Reno and wish to go out for a couple hours after work. Galena is in south Reno, scattered in the forest below Mt. Rose. There are lots of downhill trails and the area is less crowded than Keystone Canyon would be on a weekday.

Tahoe is my favorite place to mountain bike.  The Tahoe Rim Trail offers designated days for bikers to ride the trail and has the best views. There is also a ride called “The Bench” which starts at the top of Kingsbury in South Lake Tahoe and goes north towards Spooner Summit above Carson. This ride is difficult and I would recommend it for intermediate to advanced riding levels.

Check out Stephen’s blog about another great ride in the area, Corral Loop Trail.

Now that you’ve got the basics, some tips and some rides in your head, the weather is shaping up for mountain biking, get out there and go do it! If I missed one of your favorite rides, please share here!