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Trips, Trails, Paddling and Cycling

07/26/12

Trips, Trails, Paddling and Cycling

New this summer, Squaw Valley is offering free, guided hikes on the upper mountain, Friday, Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m. and 2:30 p.m. The one-hour guided hikes leave from High Camp, at an elevation of 8,200 feet, and travel across Squaw Valley’s mountaintop meadow. Navigating your kayak by moonlight is a mystical experience. California State Parks and West Shore Sports team up for this unique opportunity at Ed Z’berg-Sugar Pine Point State Park on the West Shore Thursday, August 2. No experience is necessary and all ages are welcome. The tour is $25/person and includes park entrance, kayak rental, life vests and instruction. Tahoe Trips and Trails will host “Lake Tahoe Photography and Hiking” Thursday, August 2 through Sunday, August 5. The...

Posted at 09:47 PM | Permalink | Comments

North Lake Tahoe News & Events

07/23/12

North Lake Tahoe News & Events

It’s late July, and it’s going to be another beautiful week in North Lake Tahoe with clear and sunny skies with highs predicted to reach 83 degrees by Friday. Here are some highlights for the coming week: Lake Tahoe continues to boast environmentally friendly transportation with the launch of the North Lake Tahoe Water Shuttle August 3. The vessel carries 12 passengers, crew and up to eight bikes and is ideal for those taking public transit from one side of the region to the other. The program employs a paperless reservation system, with tickets booked ahead of time. Participating docks are West Shore Café, Tahoe City Marina, Gar Woods Grill & Pier and the Tahoe Vista Recreation Area. One-way rates start at $10/adult and $7/child up to 12 years. Lake...

Posted at 09:13 PM | Permalink | Comments

A Hike in Squaw Valey Punctuates Lack of Water

07/17/12

A Hike in Squaw Valey Punctuates Lack of Water

It's good to get out of Benicia if you want a really good vertical hike, and Squaw Valley is my favorite disctractions. Its majestic bowls and rare granite outcroppings awe-inspiring. As much as I enjoy a good hike just about anywhere that poison oak doesn't grow, Squaw has an added spiritual component that always leaves me with a feeling of deep gratitude. Once you get to 7,500 feet, you are treated to cascading waterfalls and fields of wildflowers. On a recent hike up to High Camp I even had a stare-down with a huge marmot. It was so large that I had to look for a long time to make sure it wasn't a rare sighting of the elusive wolverine, which is making a very slow comeback in Tahoe after a 50-year absence. I figured it couldn't have been a wolverine since they are...

Posted at 08:04 PM | Permalink | Comments

Healdsburg Offers Unique Wine-tasting Experiences

09/01/11

Healdsburg Offers Unique Wine-tasting Experiences

Healdsburg is always a fun day trip on its own, but getting outside the downtown shopping area adds a new level of enjoyment. A recent trip found us scoping out the Russian River Valley wineries, then meeting friends for dinner Downtown. Two winery gems just up 101 to the north that share the same driveway at 11455 Old Redwood Highway are Rodney Strong Winery and J Winery. Both are picturesque, have unique, even elaborate, tasting rooms and beautiful grounds. Start at J Winery, which produces sparkling and specialty wines, and pinot noir, chardonnay and pinot gris. The cooler temperatures make for some really good pinot noirs, and when you enter the winery, you encounter a hostess station where you are offered your first taste—a sparkling wine. A light appetizer or two,...

Posted at 01:32 AM | Permalink | Comments

Decoding Online Travel Reviews

07/25/11

Decoding Online Travel Reviews

Before booking a trip where I’ll be staying somewhere new, I consult the ever-expanding industry of online reviews. Navigating the different sites can be annoying, there are so many of them, each with different posting protocols. Some sites can be manipulated to favor advertisers, so I generally rely on TripAdvisor.com. They post all reviews and tally the ratings by category, based on a 5-circle system:AllExcellentVery GoodAveragePoorTerribleThey tally the number of reviews in each category show the results in an easy-to-read bar graph. They also break down the reviews by group: Business, Couples, Family, Solo, etc. You can click on any group to read the reviews by people in your travel category.Reviews can be very helpful if you know how to use them. First, check out how the...

Posted at 10:55 PM | Permalink | Comments