After a great evening with Steven’s family (so many nieces and their children!), we left their warm embrace with a plan to go to the Sierra Buttes. Sierra City was so smoky due to the Chips fire in Plumas County, we dropped down to North Lake Tahoe to wait for the fires to clear. “Stealth Camping” (hoping no one objects to overnight camping in the Lake Forest neighborhood) either by, overlooking or a block from the Lake, we are able to paddle daily with the dog for breakfast in Tahoe City. We were adopted by neighbors and had a great potluck in “The Pocket”, their wonderful patio. Everyone at the local dog park assured us that the Lake Tahoe basin has no fleas or ticks…we will be back!
After a hike at Emerald Bay, we happened onto the Camp Shelly (empty!) campground; our dog got to run free for five days as the Ranger was the only other occupant. Due to the great bike trails in South Tahoe, we used only bikes to get to our activities: stand up paddling, cocktails on the lake, visiting Sally’s old stomping grounds since age 5, (Stanford Sierra Camp), and hiking the Desolation Wilderness. The hike in the Granite Chief Wilderness up to Five Lakes, dramatic views but was akin to rush hour in a metropolis. However, hiking past the lakes to the Pacific Crest Trail provided the solitude, only disturbed by one couple hiking the entire California part of the Trail. Having just finished “Wild”, an autobiographical novel, of a young woman who hikes 1100 miles of the PCT alone to banish her demons, it felt wonderful to tread in her footsteps if only for 6 miles.
Needing to hide out during the Labor Day weekend,we stayed at Hostel Tahoe, a new, clean, friendly hostel in Kings Beach, a block from the Lake. Burning Man has just finished and the hostel and town have filled with vehicles completely whitened with flourly dust. As the FLOW Festival (Fire Arts) begins, we finally head up to the Sierra Buttes.