Autumn is making its presence felt over the Sierra, but Tahoe Mountain Sports ambassador Coral Rose Taylor says there still is time to do many of those summer-like adventures before the snow flies.
So with fall here, Coral is re-evaluating those activities and checking her gear bag to see what she can check off her 2015 Bucket List.
Hiking: Being lucky enough to live in the mountains, I sometimes take these geographic formations for granted. However, any time I’m lucky enough to get on the trail for a hike, I re-connect with myself, with nature, with a different perspective on time.
Here are some of the hikes I would love to do this autumn:
Tallac – An iconic Lake Tahoe hike, which I am embarrassed to admit I have not yet done, even though I’ve lived in Truckee/Tahoe for 13 years now. The challenge will be to do this before the snow flies.
Rose – Another local favorite that I haven’t yet put foot on. I’ve hiked parts of it, and around the Mt. Rose meadows, but haven’t made it to the summit proper yet.
Boundary Peak – As a native Nevadan, I feel like I owe it to myself to summit the Silver State’s highest peak. If the weather holds, I’m thinking it would be fitting to do this on Nevada Day, observed on October 30, aka Halloween Eve. This will require an extra day; with a timeline that will account for driving down 395, camping at the trailhead, hiking up, then camping another night.
Mountain Biking: Where do I start? There are so many trails in the Truckee/Tahoe area. If you add in the trails in Reno, Carson, Nevada City, Auburn, etc., you will have your work cut out for you trying to ride all of them. So, I’m putting some of my top hit-list trails on here and will see what happens. I love mountain biking in the cooler weather; the temperature is that much more conducive to longer days in the saddle without running out of water or overheating.
Flume Trail: Another Tahoe icon I have not yet been on. I’ve heard all the hype about the epic views and a few exposed sections; which I’m sure are true, I just need to get in the saddle for myself to check out.
Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride: Living in North Lake Tahoe/Truckee over the years, I have not explored the trails of South Lake very much at all. In fact, I only rode Anderson, Anderson Connector and the Corral trails for the first time this July. This sounds like an all-day adventure, but the opportunity to check out some South Lake Tahoe restaurants after a day’s hard work will make me proud to earn my turns.
Ash Canyon: This new trail has been getting rave reviews by local mountain bike groups, but I was leery of riding in the high desert on an exposed trail during the heat of the summer. I think this autumn will be the perfect time to finally ride here.
Camping / Backpacking: Sleeping outside, even in a tent, is such a different experience than in the comfort of my own bed. During a recent camping trip to June Lake, I was woken throughout the night by a pack of coyotes; listening to their vocalizations was so interesting and entertaining – who needs Netflix? Although the cooler weather is a challenge for me, I hope to get another night or four in a tent.
Pyramid Lake: The terminus of the Truckee River, this desert lake’s austere beauty appeals to me; even more so without the brutal heat of the high summer. The lack of trees makes for great stargazing and the salinity of the lake improves my rudimentary swimming skills! This is an easy spot for car camping, so it makes for a quick overnight.
Lola: Practically in Truckee’s backyard, there is a year-round trail here, with ample backpack camping sites near White Rock Lake or along Cold Stream.
Lake Aloha: Yes, I know that the trail out here can be as busy as Disneyland, but there’s a reason Lake Aloha is so popular – it is gorgeous and accessible. I was able to meet my sister and her boyfriend while they were through-hiking the PCT earlier this summer, but I didn’t get to spend the night there, so it’s on my hit list.
Gear Needed: General gear for this time of year includes the following: map (or competent guide friend), compass, cell phone (in airplane mode to disconnect from modernity and connect to self and nature), headlamp (shorter days mean this is even more important), extra layers (light windbreaker, puffy coat, beanie, gloves, emergency rain poncho), sunscreen (the Joshua Tree sunscreen smells delicious, is made in the USA, and free of nasty chemicals), electrolytes, food and water are critical.
This past year, I have been making more of my own food to bring on the trail, in lieu of bars and gels, and am really fond of the baked rice balls in the Feed Zone Portables cookbook. The date/almond rice balls are super easy and the sweet potato/bacon are a delicious savory flavor.
I love that hiking is one of the least gear-heavy activities we can do around here, but a good pair of hiking shoes (I really like my Merrell Capras – the sticky soles offer great traction, and the wider toe box is really comfortable), and a daypack (I prefer a hydration pack so I can have my hands free) are necessary. Bonus items are trekking poles, a fancy watch, a Spot (just in case), and a GoPro to capture those epic summit pics.
Besides the obvious mountain bike, helmet and gloves, some bonus items to bring are a cyclometer (if it’s not on Strava, it didn’t happen), a camera, and a cold beer/cider waiting for you at the car. Depending on the temperature, I may also wear pants or knee/leg warmers.
Camping and backpacking require the typical tent, sleeping bag, and pad, as well as a backpacking pack. Depending where you go, a bear canister is necessary. Trekking poles help, especially on descents, and I really like the MPOWERD inflatable solar lanterns for lightweight disco-fun illumination. A water filter, spork, mess kit, Jetboil, AeroPress, coffee and cup are needed as well.
I love the change of seasons and the crispness in the air, but I plan to clutch onto the last vestiges of summer as long as possible by doing as many of these adventures as I can. If you want to join me, let me know!
“Keep close to Nature’s heart…and break clear away, once in a while, and climb a mountain or spend a week in the woods. Wash your spirit clean.” — John Muir
Coral Taylor is an avid mountain biker, yogi, snowboarder and outdoor enthusiast living in Truckee, CA. Follow @c_ros on Instagram for rad photos of her adventures around Lake Tahoe and beyond. In addition to getting after it on the snow, Coral is also a Team LUNAChix Tahoe Mountain Bike Team Ambassador!