Picture Perfect Views – Reno Edition

Reno, NV aka The Biggest Little City in World. Located in the Eastern Sierra, this little gem has always been known for its gambling, neon and the “smaller Vegas.” What you might have not known is that Reno offers spectacular views. Climb up one of their desert mountains just before sundown and you’ll be treated with one of the most colorful sunsets you’ve ever seen. Whether you are looking for a view of the city or the mountains I have you covered. Keep reading and find where the best views in Reno are.

Dry Pond Loop

Located in south Reno is the popular Dry Pond Loop. The trail head starts off of Timberline Road – look for either the Upper Thomas Creek trail head or Jones White Creek. You will have to walk a little bit along Timberline road to complete the loop, this trail can be completed in either direction. As you wind up the mountainside and into the Mount Rose Wilderness, you will see a sign for the Dry Pond Connector. The views along this trail are quite spectacular, but the summit offers the best view of Mt. Rose framed by pine trees.

View of Mt Rose

The ‘N’

This trail is short but steep with rewarding views. Start your hike from either Rancho San Rafael Park or the Reno Softball Complex off Virginia St. The ‘N’ stands for Nevada, and this hike offers some of the best views of the University and the park below. If you plan to complete this hike during the afternoon in the summertime, please bring appropriate cover and water as this hike is fully exposed. One of these years, I plan to watch the balloon races from the ‘N’ – I think the view will be stellar.

The 'N'
Photo Courtesy of VisitRenoTahoe.com

Huffaker Hills

This isn’t a long hike, roughly 2 miles, so it’s a perfect way to get out and stretch your legs while taking in panoramic views of the valley. Find the trailhead off Alexander Lake Road. It’s a rocky path so bring appropriate shoes. And maybe some drinks or a picnic! This is the perfect spot to take in the city.

Harriet the Dog

Hunter Creek

Another local favorite, Hunter Creek is about 6-miles long, out and back and features a waterfall at the end. Set in the hills of west Reno, you get some amazing views of downtown framed by the canyon. A majority of the hike is exposed with the last miles or so taking place amongst the pine. You’ll forget all about the neon and casinos of Reno when on this hike.

Hunter Creek Waterfall

What is your favorite hike in Reno? Tell me in the comments below.

Until next time…..

Cheers!

Keelie  

Backpacking the Tahoe Rim Trail

The Tahoe Rim Trail is 165 miles long and goes around the entirety of Lake Tahoe. You can choose to complete the thru-hike in one fell swoop, you can do day hikes on portions of it, or you can choose to backpack just parts of it. I have done the latter two, but I want to talk specifically about backpacking from Mt. Rose Summit to Spooner Summit on the Tahoe Rim Trail.

The Trail

You technically start just south of Mt Rose Summit (within walking distance) at Tahoe Meadows. There is a huge parking lot where you can leave your car and a proper toilet before embarking into the wilderness. This section of the TRT is about 25 miles long. We hiked around 15 miles the first day and 10 miles the last day. I recommend you leave a car at the Spooner Summit Trail head. You might be able to hitch a ride back, but I was so beat after this trek, that the last thing I wanted to worry about was how I getting back to my car. The trail takes you up along the east shore of Lake Tahoe, and the highlight of our first day is when you reach the summit above Marlette Lake. Here you get a view of Marlette and Tahoe in one shot. If you are keen on visiting Marlette Lake, read my blog about the Lake Tahoe Flume Trail. From this point, your first day of hiking is almost complete. There is a campground you can stay at called Marlette Peak Campground. They have vault toilets, bear lockers, a picnic table, a fire ring and most importantly – potable water. We made dinner, played cards and enjoyed some whiskey after a long day of hiking.

On day two, you’ll wind alongside a mountain offering picturesque views of Lake Tahoe before you head into the trees until you reach Spooner Summit and the end of the hike. Do look out for the TRT signs. At one point we ended up on the Flume Trail and had to back pedal. We probably added about 1 mile to our overall hike with this little detour.

The Essentials

You might be a seasoned pro at backpacking and not need a list. For me, this was my first trip. I had a backpack – it was the one I had trekked all through New Zealand, Europe, and Peru – and that was it. It’s a little small compared to some traditional backpacking backpacks – 46L – but I am just over 5’, and when that thing is stuffed, it’s heavy for me. Outside of my backpack and hiking clothes, I didn’t own anything needed for backpacking. I borrowed a sleeping bag from a friend. I opted for her warmer bag because I get cold easily, and we were going to be camping high in the Sierra. I didn’t have a stove, so I brought food that didn’t require heat. I packed tortillas, peanut butter, nuts, jerky, protein bars, and a couple of Mountain House’s freeze-dried meal Granola with Blueberries and Milk – just add cold water. One of my friends brought his Jet Boil and ended up trading me one of my Granola meals for a Steak and Pepper meal. It was pretty tasty, but then again anything is pretty tasty after a 10-mile hike carrying a 15 lb. backpack. I also brought a tarp to sleep on that night (I didn’t own a tent, nor would a tent fit in my backpack). However, one of my friends brought a tent but didn’t care to sleep in it, so he let me borrow it. I also packed an ultra-lightweight sleeping pad (borrowed), and whatever toiletries or clothes I thought I needed. Lucky for me, my friends had packed the playing cards and the whiskey.

Do pack extra socks! The last thing you want is your feet to develop blisters on this long trek, so a fresh pair of socks is mandatory! Also mandatory is water. I brought 4 water bottles. I did not bring a filtration system because the campground had potable water (and lots of bees, but that’s beside the point).

I don’t have a packing list for backpacking to share with you (though I most likely will end up creating one), but if you have any thoughts or questions about what to bring, or what life is like on the TRT either leave me a comment below or tweet me at @keeliec5. I’d love to hear from you!

Until next time…..

Cheers!

Keelie

Girls Trip – Bucks Lake, CA

You might have read my blog post on Why Costa Rica Should Be Your Next Girls Trip, well, this one is filled with just as much adventure but a little closer to home. Camping is always a great adventure, so why not mix it up and turn it into a Girls Trip?

Pick an Awesome Location

Although you can have an awesome time anywhere with your girls, picking a stellar location just adds to its amazingness. My choice for a camping Girls Trip is Bucks Lake, CA. Bucks Lake is located 25 miles west of Quincy, CA, and the perfect weekend getaway for anyone living in Reno. It has everything. About two hours from home, an awesome lake, hiking trails and some nearby restaurants. There are quite a few campgrounds along Bucks Lakes, most of them first come first serve. We were lucky enough to grab a lakefront site at Sundew Campground. We had to wait for the current people to vacate the site, so we decided to grab breakfast at Bucks Lake Lodge and then spend the early afternoon at Sandy Point Day Use. Sandy beaches, paddle boarding and swimming – sounds like the perfect day.

Play Some Fun Games

When the sun goes down, that’s when the games start. My camping games of choice are Drinking Jenga and Cards Against Humanity. In Drinking Jenga, each of the tiles has a task written on it. Its kind of like Kings Cup but Jenga style. Sangria, Jell-O Shots, beer and water are all necessary drinks for a girls camping trip. Both of these games will ensure a laugh-out-loud good time.

Don’t Forget the Propane Tank!

You might be thinking – what an odd heading? Well, for me, it was true. We had the car loaded and ready for our girls camping trip. As we were unloading the car and setting up camp, we came to the realization that I brought the camping stove, but no propane tank to fuel it! Luckily, I was with some bad ass girls and we were able to improvise. Dinner that night was kebabs that we could roast over the fire, and we did our best to make pancakes over the flame for breakfast in the morning. But that’s what makes a trip memorable right? We didn’t let a little lack of fuel ruin our trip!

Summer is right around the corner, so if you are looking for a place to plan a fun girls weekend getaway, go a little off the beaten path and explore Bucks Lake! Bring your favorite water toys, beach gear, camping games and don’t forget the propane! Oh, and on your way back to Reno stop by the Polka Dot in Quincy for a fantastic milkshake! Have you even been on an all-girls camping trip? Where is your favorite place to go? Tell me in the comments below!

Until next time…..

Cheers!

Keelie

The Flume Trail – Lake Tahoe

The Flume Trail, otherwise known as America’s Most Scenic Bike ride, is a 14-mile, one-way ride along Lake Tahoe’s scenic east shore. The name Flume comes from the water flumes used in the 1800s to transport timber and water to the Comstock Mine in Virginia City.  The trail is perfect to ride when there is no snow, but fall is spectacular when the aspens are ablaze. Here is everything you need to know to ride the Flume Trail.

The Logistics

Traditionally, the trail starts at Spooner Lake and you ride down to Tunnel Creek Café in Incline Village. There is a bike shop called Flume Trail Bikes located behind the café where you can rent a bike and/or hire a shuttle to the summit. This is really convenient because you don’t have to worry about shuttling cars, and they have plenty of parking. If you rent a bike, the cost is around $65, and it includes your shuttle ride. During the summer, it is advised you check online and make a reservation. The Flume is popular, and for good reason.

You can start your ride from Tunnel Creek Café and ride towards Spooner if you wish. I attempted this once, and I don’t think I will ever attempt it again. You climb 1,500’ in 3 miles of basically sand. I can barely walk that; I’m not quite sure why I thought I could ride it. I practically walked my bike those first 3 miles, and by the time I was on a trail I could actually ride, I had to head home. The ride down was fun at least. My second attempt at the Flume Trail was much more successful. I rented a bike from Flume Trail Bikes, took the shuttle to the summit, and biked to the café. It was glorious.

The Ride

The ride from Spooner to Marlette Lake (the peak of your ride), is a climb of 1,000’ in four miles. It’s tough, so take your time and enjoy the ride through the aspen trees. If you are on this trail in the fall, the section is lit with yellow leaves. You’ll want to take a few pictures. Next, you’ll reach Marlette Lake. If its summertime, this is the perfect opportunity to cool off! Enjoy the scenic view, have a snack and get your camera ready because jaw-dropping views are next.

Watch for the signs that lead you to the Flume Trail, and here is where you get your first glimpse of Lake Tahoe. This ride is so beautiful it’s a little dangerous. This part of the trail is 4.5 miles of single track. You have a mountain on one side and a relatively steep drop off on the other with tantalizing views of the lake. There are plenty of pull over spots that are perfect for pictures. The part of the trail is relatively flat with only a few rock features that might be tricky for a novice rider. This part of the trail has my favorite view of Sand Harbor.

The Flume Trail technically ends in the middle of the forest. You’ll see a turn off for a trail that will take you to the Tahoe Rim Trail or you can continue on Tunnel Creek Road back to the bike shop. This is the fun part of the ride! It’s all downhill and sandy, and be on the lookout for hikers! Local tip: on this section of the trail look for a well-worn path through the bush towards some rocks. Here you will find Monkey Rock!

Its all downhill from here and you have just completed the Flume Trail! Turn in your bike and head into the café for a well-deserved beer! Or venture further into Incline Village for a brew at Alibi Ale Works or Brewforia. Heck, you should drink a beer for finishing this blog. Here’s to you, mate!

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

Double Days – Springtime in Reno Tahoe

Springtime in Reno Tahoe might just be my favorite season. The days are longer, the weather is warmer and you can participate in all your favorite activities in one day. And on years when we have epic snowfall (like this one), springtime is even more amazing.

Ski

This past February some of the Lake Tahoe Ski resorts received over 200 inches of snow and the year to date snow total is over 35 feet! We “Spring Forward” on March 10th, so bring on those longer, warmer bluebird days and get ready to shred some amazing pow! If you’re looking to pull that “Double Day” only possible in Reno Tahoe, I suggest hitting up the ski resort in the morning.  

Hike/Bike

Because of our epic February 2019 snowfall, hiking and biking will have to take place at lower elevations, but that is perfectly okay. Located just north of Rancho San Rafael Regional Park is endless miles of single-track trails ideal for hiking or biking. Hike to the ‘N’ for an unbelievable view of the University of Nevada, Reno and downtown Reno. And if you time it just right, you’ll be joined by a plethora of high-desert wildflowers.  

Paddle/Kayak

Picture this, you’re on the gorgeous turquoise pristine waters of Lake Tahoe surrounded by snowcapped mountains. This is what it’s like paddle boarding or kayaking in Tahoe during spring.  Peak Tahoe beach season has yet to begin, so enjoy solitude and relaxation after a fun morning on the slopes. Great launch spots include Sand Harbor or Kings Beach.

Events/Nightlife

You can keep the party going all night in Reno – the land of no last call. Here is a short list of some upcoming spring events. For more options, visit Reno Tahoe’s events calendar.

Reno Leprechaun Crawl | March 16

Squaw Valley WinterWonderGrass | March 29-31

Old Dominion | April 26

Reno River Festival | May 11-12

What is your favorite springtime activity? Tell me in the comments below. Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

Picture Perfect Views – Lake Tahoe Edition

I feel very fortunate to have Lake Tahoe as my “backyard.” What I mean by that is I can leave my house, explore the beauty of the lake, and make it back to Reno in time for happy hour. However, this isn’t just a benefit for locals but also visitors to the Reno Tahoe destination. So, whether you are a local or just here for the weekend, here are a few of my favorite hikes with a picture-perfect view of Lake Tahoe.

Monkey Rock

Just over Mt Rose Hwy is a short and steep jaunt with gorgeous views. Located in Incline Village, this hike is accessed behind Tunnel Creek Café of Hwy 28. Parking is limited and this hike is popular so be prepared during peak times. After climbing for approximately 1.5 miles, you’ll see a steep short cut to the left, and then another trail that heads into the rocks. It’s here you’ll find Monkey Rock and breathtaking Lake Tahoe views.

Mount Rose

Mount Rose is the closest hike to Reno on my list and one of the most rewarding. When you reach Mount Rose summit, you’ll find a large parking lot, this is the base for the Mt Rose hike. To reach the summit it’s about 10 miles round trip and 2,400 ft of elevation gain, and there is a beautiful waterfall about halfway in. You’ll see your first view of Lake Tahoe less than 1 mile in, but then you venture into the trees and up into the granite, and Big Blue doesn’t make her next appearance until you’ve reached the top. From the summit, you get a Birdseye view of Lake Tahoe and the Truckee Meadows.

Mt. Tallac

In my personal opinion, this is the most grueling hike on this list. Located on Tahoe’s south shore, this hike is long at just over 10 miles, steep with over 3,000 ft in elevation gain, exposed and rocky. So why are there so many people flocking to this hike? The views. You start climbing over Fallen Leaf Lake and then Lake Tahoe emerges in the distance. Eventually, you get a view of all the little lakes speckled throughout Desolation Wilderness and then you reach the top. In one frame, you can see Tahoe, Emerald Bay, Cascade Lake and Fallon Leaf Lake. Then you’ll turn behind you for a view of the Sierra Nevada you didn’t know was possible.

On the list

A Lake Tahoe summit hike on my to-do list is “The Three Sisters.” These are the three gigantic peaks located on the southeast shore that comprise of Job’s Peak, Job’s Sister and Freel Peak – the tallest mountain in the Lake Tahoe Basin. It’s possible to summit all of them in one day, but it’s approximately 12 miles long and over 4,000 ft in elevation gain. A goal of mine for sure.

Lake Tahoe is a hiker’s paradise, and I know there are a ton of other trails I didn’t mention. Please comment below your favorite Lake Tahoe hike. I am always looking to explore new trails and would love to hear from you! Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

Adventures and Life with Keelie

Humans are innately curious creatures.  We seek new and exciting things and enjoy a challenge. I like to satisfy these feeling through adventure. Whether that’s exploring unchartered territory (for me at least) near my home, or traveling half-way around the world. I enjoy connecting with other cultures and learning something new. I seek a sense of community and the feeling that I am truly living.

If you’re anything like me, you might not have the time or money to go on a perpetual adventure to a far-off land. You have a job, a house, a loving family at home. So how do you balance life and responsibilities with your sense of adventure? Well, that’s why I’m here! Throughout this blog, I will share my tips, tricks and stories about how I make the most of my weekends and stretch my PTO (paid time off) as far as it will go. I hope you will find the information helpful in creating adventures of your own.

If you live in or near the Reno Tahoe area, this is the blog for you. I feel so fortunate to live in a region that fulfills the excitement I crave. I know I am biased, but Reno Tahoe really is the perfect getaway destination. I will share some of my favorite places to eat, my favorite hikes, and the special events you won’t want to miss. The west coast will be another hot topic of mine. I love the Reno Tahoe International Airport and its ability to get me to some awesome places in about an hour. I also love that I live within driving distance to some areas like Yosemite or San Francisco. And then I will share my tips and stories on international travel. Whether it’s traveling over an American holiday for free vacation days (sorry Mom and Dad) or how to make the most of a destination given a short amount of time.

I want this blog to inspire creativity. Sometimes the best adventures happen close to home surrounded by those you love the most. I firmly believe life and adventure is what you make of it, so think of my blog as your Pinterest board for adventure inspiration. Feel free to check out my About Me and learn more about my background. Also, I want to hear from you! Comment below and tell me what your favorite weekend getaway is! Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie