Pyramid Lake

Located about 45 minutes northeast of Reno is Pyramid Lake. This lake is on tribal land and it the terminus point of the Truckee River which starts in Lake Tahoe. The drive out there is desolate and barren, that is until you reach the top of a hill and get a catch of the turquoise lake – she really is a desert oasis. Whether you are a Northern Nevada local, or visiting the area, if times allows, make the trip out to Pyramid Lake. And I’ve created this guide for you so you know what to expect and tips to ensure you have the greatest time.

Don’t Forget Your Permit

Like I said, Pyramid Lake is on tribal land, and they have instituted a permit system. Not only do you need a permit for day use or to camp, but you would need separate permits if you want to launch a watercraft, fireworks or fish. Also, a regular state fishing license is not required at Pyramid, just the permit. Fireworks are usually purchased in nearby Nixon around. The 4th of July, but you will see people launching them all summer. The easiest place to acquire a permit is online, but you can also pick one up at the Visitor Center in Sutcliffe or at Crosby’s Lodge.

Home the Lahontan Trout

In the summer time Pyramid is known for boating, camping, your usual summer shenanigans. The rest of the time the lake is known for its world class fishing. Stop by Crosby’s Lodge and see pictures of the trophies people have pulled out of the lake. I also recommend stopping by the Reno Fly Shop. Talk to an expert and get tips on bait, and they might even recommend a few beaches to you. Speaking of beaches.

Where to Go

Visitors are only allowed on the west side of the lake, and check this lake out on a map because it is gigantic. They do have some designated beaches with pavement for cars and trailers, but the beauty of Pyramid is the ability to pick a dirt road and choose your own beach. Besides the pavement areas there are no designated campsites. While 4-wheel drive isn’t required, it is recommended. If you stay up top or on the hard packed dirt road, you’ll be okay. It’s when you want to bring your car right on the beach that it starts to get a little soft. Interesting fact – AAA cannot come out to the reservation. So if you get stuck you’ll have to call the tribal tow service.

The Natural Elements

Pyramid Lake is in the middle of the desert. There is no sugarcoating that. And the services are extremely limited. If you’re lucky, you’ll pick a beach that has a porta-potty. So prepare yourself for hash elements. Bring lots of shade to protect yourself from the sun, and bring heavy duty stakes for the ferocious winds. I have been going out the Pyramid for almost 10 years now, and we always experience some kind of wind. It usually takes place around sunset, but this last year the mornings were windy and the afternoons calm. The desert is also known for unexpected rain storms. If you are in a trailer or coming out for the day you won’t have a problem, but my friends and I go out there in tents, and we have to prepare for everything. The wind can be destructive. Also, if you don’t have a trailer, prepare yourself in case you have to go to the bathroom. You might have picked a location that doesn’t have a porta-potty, so you and your group of friends can designate a couple of bushes away from camp. There are no water services, so make sure you bring enough water, food and supply for the time you’ll be there.

Have Fun

This is the most important. Yes, the desert can be a little harsh sometimes, but that’s part of the adventure. Enjoy the lake, enjoy the warm sunshine and enjoy being with friends and family. My friends and I started a tradition of going out to Pyramid every July, and it’s been going on for about nine years now. It started with maybe a group of 8. We brought a keg, but forgot the tub to keep it on ice and had to dig a hole, lay tarp and put the ice on the tarp, then bury the keg. We also forgot a shade tent and had to string a tarp between two cars. We were 21. And now nine years later we’ve had as many as 25 people join us and have constructed a water slide the last 6 or so years (and that has seen significant improvement over the years too). It’s just been a lot of fun hanging out in the desert with your friends. Just check out my video and see for youself! 

Have you been out to Pyramid Lake before? What was your experience like? Tell me in the comments below.

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

About Me – Part II

Hi there! So, I thought it was time to fill you in about my blog and what you can expect from me going forward. Don’t worry, you will still be able to find great content related to adventure and travel. Besides skiing, climbing Half Dome and riding motorcycles around Thailand, I work full-time at the Reno-Sparks Convention and Visitors Authority and am currently pursuing my MBA at the University of Nevada, Reno. For those who aren’t familiar with Convention and Visitor Authorities, I promote overnight visitation to Washoe County. This includes Reno, Sparks and a portion of North Lake Tahoe. I love what I do. I fell in love with the area 9 years ago when I moved here, and it brings me joy to tell people how awesome the destination is and why they should come for a visit!

I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Marketing from the University of Nevada, Reno back in 2011. To be frank, the University is why I am here. I had such a great experience as an undergrad and met most of the friends I am still very close with today. So, when I decided I wanted to go back to school to pursue a Master’s it was a no brainer that I would choose Nevada. The MBA program is a commitment, and it does take up quite a bit of my free time, but I’m almost halfway done, and the education has been exceptional. One of my classes last semester was all about Personal Branding, and this is where the blog comes into play.

Adventures and Life with Keelie was originally created back in 2013. You can see the first blog I shared was about a car I rented while in Costa Rica (that thing was a beast). After a couple of posts, it sat stagnant for years until I decided to leave my job in finance and travel the world. Then I started blogging again, mostly to keep my family informed of my adventures, but it became a fun way to keep a record of my travel. After I returned from my time abroad, I continued to blog periodically, but this time I had the reader in mind. What about my adventures would they find particularly interesting? I went back to work full-time again, and the blog was put on the back burner. That is until I signed up for my Personal Branding class. It had been a goal of mine to revamp my blog and get it going again, and that is exactly what happened last January. The trade-off? I wasn’t able to go on as many adventures. Luckily, I had a bank of travels to pull from. So, for about 6 months I blogged multiple times a week, and you can probably tell the class ended because so did the blogs.

Now, there is no way I can blog to the extent I have been for the last 6 months. I still work full time, and I’m getting ready to start my new set of classes at the end of the month. However, I don’t want to abandon my blog like I’ve done in the past. You guys deserve better than that. I’ve decided to set a goal to blog a minimum one time a month. This should leave room for work, school, my health and wellness, and any adventures I have planned in the future. So, you can continue to expect new and exciting content from me, just less frequently. That being said, you can find me on social for all up to date content. Instagram is probably your best bet, but Twitter and YouTube are also valid.

Now for the fun part. It’s been a fun and exciting summer, and it’s not quite over yet. Keep an eye out for some all-you-need-to-know guides on camping out in the Nevada desert and another about my upcoming blesiure trip to Nashville! Stay tuned!

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

4 Tips For Balancing Life and Adventure

So you love adventure, but you also love your job, family, house and pets. You want to bike that new trail this weekend, but the lawn really needs to be mowed. Or you want to join your girlfriends in New York, but you’re on a tight work deadline. Life is all about balance. So how do you balance life and responsibility when you’re craving adventure? Keep reading for some great tips.

Life Itself is an Adventure

You don’t have to fly halfway across the world, or even leave your state to have an adventure. Sometimes the best adventures happen in your own back yard. I’ve shared blogs on signing up for a fun run in your hometown, or if you’re lucky enough to live in Reno, there is plenty to do from hikes to events to satisfy your adventurous spirit. Grab your family and your pets and explore a new part of town, or eat at that restaurant that will allow dogs on the patio. Life itself is a wild and fun adventure, so enjoy it.

It’s Okay to Stay Home

We are human, and we need rest. So what if you walk into work on Monday morning and don’t have a crazy Instagram story to share. You are still allowed to love adventure and travel if you spend a weekend in your garden, or sitting on the couch binging Netflix. A full work week can be exhausting. Combine that with back to back travels and a quiet weekend at home sounds amazing – at least that’s how I feel. Plus, I probably need to give my house a good clean and give my cats some extra love.

Plan Ahead

If you are busy like me, then planning ahead is going to be your friend. I put everything in my calendar – even when I want to start thinking about planning for another trip. Planning ahead will help you save time and money because you will be fully prepared for whatever is thrown at you. Plus, you’ve probably had some time to research what you want to see or do on your trip, so you can get the most of it. I know how precious time is.

Make the Most of the Opportunities Given to You

A great example of this is a bleisure trip. If you are able to extend your stay over the weekend that’s great. You’re basically killing two birds with one stone. But if not – take an evening to go out and explore. Family reunions are a great opportunity. If everyone is coming to you, this is your chance to show your family your favorite spots around town, or if you traveled out of town even better. I’m sure there is a family member who loves adventure (almost) as much as you.

The most important tip though is to not get so caught up in the adventure itself and just remember to have fun. Life is too short to worry about the trips you couldn’t go on or the fact that you have to do yard work one weekend instead of going skiing. If you plan ahead, you’ll have plenty of adventures and wonderful memories that will last a lifetime. Do you have any great tips about balancing life and adventure? Please share them with me in the comments below. 

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

Five Must Attend Reno Tahoe Events

Reno Tahoe is home to some great events. During the summertime, there is basically an event every weekend. Every month the Riverwalk District has a wine walk and a beer crawl, and check out this events calendar to see when the next major pub crawl is. The Santa and Zombie Crawl are by far the largest. There is a weekly food truck event, free art and music around town during the month of July, and food events galore. Pick between chili, ribs, bbq, wings, spaghetti you name it. Now, unless you live here it might be hard to attend all of these events. Just a short disclaimer, these opinions are all my own, but here are five events in Reno Tahoe that you need to check out.

Great Reno Balloon Races

Totally worth the early morning wakeup call. This event takes place in early September but after Labor Day at Rancho San Rafael Park by the University. The Great Reno Balloon Race is one of the largest hot air balloon events that is free and allows spectators on the infield. The event has three major parts, the Glow Show, Dawn Patrol and Mass Ascension. The Glow Show starts at 5 am – I told you it was early – and Mass Ascension is at 7 am. So set your alarms early, pack your camera and prepare for one of the best mornings of your life!

Reno Rodeo

They don’t call it the Wildest Richest Rodeo in the West for nothing! The Reno Rodeo takes place over 10 days in June and this year is celebrating 100 years. Enjoy muttin’ bustin’, bronc riding, steer wrestling, barrel riding and more at the rodeo. Come early to enjoy the on-site carnival and stay late for the full Jack Daniels Tent experience. Cowboy boots encouraged!

Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival

Watch one of your favorite Shakespeare tales come to life set to the backdrop of the gorgeous Lake Tahoe. The Lake Tahoe Shakespeare Festival is held at Sand Harbor during the months of July and August. Each year features a new Shakespeare play and musical. Past performances include Macbeth and A Midsummer Night’s Dream. The theater at Sand Harbor has a kitchen with a delicious menu, or pack your own lunch filled with your favorite drinks and snacks. The shows start at 7:30, so come early and enjoy the turquoise waters and sandy beach of Sand Harbor.

Reno River Festival

The Reno River Festival takes place every Mother’s Day weekend and is held at Wingfield Park on the river. This event has it all. Buy a ticket to the craft beer tent or wine village for a refreshing treat. Check out the food vendors and shop some of the local goods. There is always a free live performance by an up and comer. One-year, Old Dominion played at the River Festival! Zipline across the Truckee River in the Adventure Park, or partake in the Reno River Roll on Saturday morning. And while this is all going on, there is a kayaking competition in the river! Watch them as they maneuver through the gates and complete tricks in the rapids. This event really has it all.

Burning Man

Okay, so this event technically doesn’t take place in Reno, but Reno is the “Gateway to the Black Rock Desert.” The city also embraces the Burner Culture year-round. A lot of the art is made in a shared art space called the Generator, and you can find past Burning Man Sculptures with new homes by the river or in the Playa Art Park. However, the event itself is unlike anything you’ve ever experienced. This counter-culture event takes place in the Black Rock Desert about 150 miles northeast of Reno. Over 70,000 people attend the event every year. It’s about a week long, but you don’t have to stay for the whole time. I know a lot of people who head in later and leave earlier to avoid crowds. There is a lot of planning and prework involved in attending this event. You must bring everything with you and pack it all out. There are no supplies on the playa. If you are interested in attending the event, definitely read the survival guide.

Reno Tahoe has so many awesome events I couldn’t name them all! You’ll want to check out all of their iconic events, and then see the events calendar for a full listing. What is your favorite Reno Tahoe event? Tell me in the comments below!

Until next time…

Cheers!

Keelie

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