I still can’t believe that there are places in California that only some know about. With the outdoor trend of the late years the most scenic spots of the Sierras, the coast and deserts are well known for Instagram users. Tahoe is overcrowded. Yosemite – don’t even think to visit on the weekend.
I cannot bear the crowds. I become nervous and tired.
We visited Tahoe three years in the row on Thanksgiving. And last year when even the cold weather didn’t stop the touristic wave, I knew I would search another place for the next year.
And so I did. And the search was swift. And the place was well-known already. It was so evident for me to book the stay at Chalet View after the most unforgettable Christmas stay there.
I wanted Thanksgiving to be snowy. I hoped for it. If September had snow why can’t November cover everything with the powder? (It’s a December, and most of the California mountains have no snow, and the valley didn’t get the decent rain…)
No snow meant only one thing – the majority of the road will be open. And that said – Lakes Basin area will be opened!
A few years ago we hiked Bears lake there. And I was stoked with the beauty of the region. We never planned the visit here again (I don’t know why). But all circumstances pushed me to dig to the maps and start the search for something thrilling.
It was the moment I saw Sierra Buttes and its lookout. Oh, I became obsessed with it in a second! Ans what do you think, it was the only place in the region covered with snow! But wait, there is a hike near it, with a great view of the mountains! So it was decided – Sardine Lakes overlook trail will be the hike of the first day.
The left turn from the Golden Chain Highway (Hwy 49) leads to the Gold Lake Hwy that is closed for the snow most of the Winter. But if one able to drive it, there is a beautiful pool out with the great overview of the Buttes. I have a photo from this place from the year 2015, and I still love it!
But when we stopped here on Thanksgiving day it was obvious – the storm is coming. Skies were covered with the grey clouds, and it was only the matter of time when the rain (or snow?) will start. I did my photos, and we rushed to the trailhead. The hike is relatively short – 4 miles or near. And it the trail where you get the views right from the first mile.
The snow-covered Buttes surrounded by the greenery of the woods looked stunning. But the clouds became more and more dark. And the rain slowly started.
When in the middle of the trail I saw the rainbow behind us, I caught myself on the thought of returning back. Eugene insisted on going on.
It was the last part of the trail when my jeans became wet. I covered the camera with my vest and tried hard to make photos without getting raindrops on the lens (and failed).
The trail is something impressing. It divides on two: the one goes higher to the Tamarack lakes, and the second ascends to the Sardine lakes overlook.
I am happy we did it to the end. Such views I will not see for a long time.
I am happy we didn’t get cold after that hike.
Rain stopped on the way back. We had a mile to finish.
But it didn’t help me to dry. I’m glad I had another boots and pants with us to change.
The hike gave me so many strong emotions. It was an experience to remember.