Sierra Canyon Monday Hike to Lake Tahoe

Monday the Sierra Canyon Hiking Group hiked at Lake Tahoe. We hiked along the east side of Lake Tahoe from Chimney Beach north to Secret Harbor. I’m not sure exactly where we turned around but we hiked a total of just under 5 miles. The beaches were all deserted and it was a wonderful day.  Here are a few of the pictures of the hike. On our way back it rained a bit and you can see four of us in our rain gear. I’m the one in blue. I put the rest of the pictures from the hike on Flickr. You can see them by clicking on these words..
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History – The Definitive Visual Guide

I recently received a free review copy of History: The Definitive Visual Guide (From The Dawn of Civilization To The Present Day) from DK Publishing. I love this book. It starts with a chapter titled Our Remote Ancestors about how humans evolved and ends with a chapter titled Shrinking World about developments in communication and technology and how they have changed the world. The book is big. 12 x 10.5 x 1.75. It is full of pictures. When I reviewed the DK book Abraham Lincoln I said that the book reminded me of the wonderful travel guide books that DK publishes. History is even more like a DK guidebook, a guidebook to the history of the human race. There are hundreds of wonderful pictures, maps, timelines and charts. This is a book that viscerally appeals to me. Since it arrived I have enjoyed opening it and browsing at every opportunity.

The other thing that I love about this book is that it allows me to find answers to the random historical questions that often come up when I am traveling, reading the newspaper or watching historical fiction on TV. I have three recent examples of this.

When we visited the ancient bristle cone pines last month we were told that the study of the bristle cone pine tree rings resulted in recalibrating radio carbon dating and as a result historians understanding of ancient dates and the spread of civilization.. It made me want to understand more about ancient civilizations and human migrations. History: The Definitive Visual Guide allowed me to satisfy my curiosity.

History: The Definitive Visual Guide  helps me to understand the historical backgrounds of the  presidential biographies I have been reading.

A waitress told us she was from Moldova. I knew almost nothing about Moldova. One of the nice features of History: The Definitive Visual Guide is that it has a 110 page section that traces the individual histories of the world’s 193 countries. When we got home I read up on the history of Moldova.

In my opinion History: The Definitive Visual Guide is a must have for anyone who is fascinated by history. I highly recommend this book. It would make a great Christmas present! 

Sirra Canyon Hiking Group Thursday Hike to Loch Leven Lakes

The Sierra Canyon Hiking Group hike today was the 7.5 mile round trip to the Loch Leven Lakes. It was an absolutely beautiful day – warm with a cool breeze. According to all my hiking books this is a very popular hike. The trail head is right of of Highway 80 at the Rainbow Road exit. The three lakes were absolutely stunning. We sat on a rock in the sun by the lake to eat our lunch.
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Afterward we stopped at the Rainbow Lodge for beer. This group of people is so much fun to hike with.

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If you would like to see all the pictures of the hike you can see them here.

Who Owns This House – Gossip

A couple of weeks ago we received a letter forwarded by our landlord from the Sierra Canyon Homeowners Association AKA the Lawn Patrol complaining about the dead spots in our lawn. They were there when we rented the house and they are getting smaller and fewer because of Duke’s lawn care. The letter was more than a little annoying.

It really made us wonder why the Lawn Patrol doesn’t do something about the house down the street from us.

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As you can see in this picture the lawn is completely dead as are all the trees in the yard. As I understand it the Homeowners Association has a right to put a lien on the house and fix the yard at the homeowners expense. Del Webb/Pulte, the builder, is still selling new houses in this development and well maintained front yards could make a difference in a prospective buyer deciding whether to buy or not to buy. I imagine that Pulte/Del Webb still controls more than 50% of the votes in the Homeowners Association. I’m sure that is why the Lawn Patrol sent a letter to our landlord.

We recently heard some gossip which seems to clear up this puzzle about the house with the dead yard and why the Homeowners Association seems to be ignoring it. What we heard is that the house was sold to some people with a sale contingent on the sale of their house. When their house didn’t sell they backed out of the sales contract. According to the gossip, Pulte/Del Webb maintains that the house was sold and that the contingent buyers can’t back out. So apparently now the lawyers are fighting about who owns the house and the Pulte/Del Webb lawyers have told the homeowners association not do any maintenance on the house or the yard. Presumably because maintenance might strengthen the case that Pulte owns the house.

Just to repeat this is all gossip. I have no idea if the story is true. But is does make one wonder…….

Dad’s house and the fires.

My Dad lives in Escondido whichi s north of San Diego. The fires are quite close to his house. He and all his neighbors received reverse 911 calls yesterday telling them to evacuate. He evacuated to the Escondido Presbyterian Church. It is not too far from his house and he is with friends. He slept in his van in the church parking lot last night.

The neighbors all went back home this morning and Dad thought the fire had passed them by but he just called to say that the fire is at the bottom of his hill less than a mile a way. It hasn’t crossed the road but they are all evacuating again to be safe. I still think his house will be OK but it is not a sure thing. I’ll keep you all posted.

Sierra Canyon Hiking Group Thursday hike – Coldstream Canyon

I haven’t hiked for two weeks so today’s hike was hard but beautiful. There was lots of snow which made the hiking hard. Especially going up.

To get to the Coldstream Trail trailhead we took the Donner pass Road exit off of I80. We followed a gravel road to the east of the Donner State Park Camp ground. We went quite a ways on this road until we came to a horseshoe bend in the railway tracks where we parked, crossed the tracks and headed up. In about half a mile we passed Lost Trail Lodge which looks like a wonderful place to stay.

From there we headed through forest for several miles. The trail was covered in snow. it was fun to see all the animal tracks. There were coyote, deer and rabbits tracks and several others we weren’t sure about. Hiking in the snow was hard work but we had the trail to ourselves and the temperature was around 40 so it wasn’t too cold.
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We were heading south towards Tinker’s Knob. We made it to 8250 feet at the ridge before the final climb to Tinker’s Knob. It was drizzling and gray so there was no view. the snow kept getting deeper so we decided to turn back. I think we did about 6 miles total.

Here we are near the top. I am  the one with the white pants.  If you want to see all the pictures of this hike they are here.
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Where I Blog

Ronni Bennett of the Time Goes By Blog recently started a feature on her blog with pictures of where other Elder Bloggers blog. It is aptly titled Where Elders Blog. I just sent my picture of my blogging space to Ronni. I am sure she will post it soon.

If you don’t want to go to her page I thought I would also include the picture here.

As you walk in the front door of our house the office is to your right. This picture is taken from the front door entry way. Duke’s desk is on the opposite wall of the office from mine. We have only lived in our house for three months so I am still getting organized.

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And here is a picture of our house. The white stuff is snow.

I think I will do a future posting with pictures of our neighborhood and what it is like to live in a Del Webb community. Does anyone have any questions they would like answered or anything I should include?

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Presidential Courage by Michael Beschloss

I just finished reading Presidential Courage by Michael Beschloss. Before reading the book I thought it was just about Wahington, Lincoln, Truman and Reagan, the four presidents on the back cover. It turns out however that the book is also about the courage of Andrew Jackson, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, John Kennedy, and John Adams.

Beschloss doesn’t paint these Presidents as one sided heroes. He tells of their strugles and wrong turns and their courgeous acts. It made me optimistic about our country to read about presidents who did the right thing in spite of incredible opposition. Andrew Jackson took on the Bank of the United States which history shows was lending money and thus influencing many elected leaders. Republican Teddy Roosevelt took on trusts that thought they owned the government and especially the Republican party. Ronald Reagan made peace with the Soviets alienating much of the right wing of his party.

As I read Presidential Courage I was intrigued to realize that a President sticking to an unpopular policy could and probably would find validation in this book. He would define what he was doing as presidential courage. Of course if history shows the policy to be bad for the country The president will probably not be remembered as courageous.I wonder is courage is something that only can be measured in the full disclosure of history?

Presidnetial Courage is an interesting, thought provoking and readable book. I recommend it.