“QuentinTarantino spent the past winter in Telluride filming his latest project, “The Hateful Eight.” He was joined by a crew of about 150 and actors …


I still liked the feel of the town surrounded by the green slopes, mountain peaks and red-rock canyon walls – in Summer. But, what about …?


So here was our plan.

Get picked up by Enterprise at 8 am, hit the road shortly thereafter on the scenic route to Telluride.


Our hosts live on a country road.

The Enterprise shuttle driver couldn’t find the house.

No one in their office knew what was up.

Finally, our host dropped us off at the rental office, as he had offered the night before, instead of waiting for some rookie who …

  • doesn’t know the Durango roads or
  • can’t read a map or
  • can’t make the GPS work correctly.

There I said it.

Part two of our plan worked out fine.

Drop off the rental at our Summit County destination in Silverthorne – but for an additional fee.

No problem.

On the backend of our vacation, my brother-in-law volunteered to drive us two hours to the Denver airport, so he could pick up some bulk items at a Costco and see a friend.

2 Hour Commute to Denver Airport

That’s the problem for flying in for a visit to Frisco, Dillon, Breckenridge, Silverthorne, Copper Mountain, Keystone, Arapahoe Basin and even Vail.

Arranging for that two hour drive from the Denver Airport.

The third local agreed.

Scenic Route to Telluride

The baggage-handler-cyclist, the enterprise cowboy-guy sitting in their lobby, and the Durango Chamber women who had to put up with amateur philosopher, life coach in search of a local flock.

The best route follows 160 west, then you take the 184 shortcut at Mancos and pick up the 145 at Dolores.

So we did.

And, the fluffy white clouds floating in the deep sky-blue wilderness canvas mesmerized us.

Even though we almost touched the border of Utah off in the distance, it was the frequent signs to “National Forests” with green meadows and tree groves that caught our attention.

We passed on side trips to the San Juan National Forest, Anasazi Heritage Center and Rico.

It proved hard to skip places with names like Lizard Head Pass and Ophir.

But we snapped a lot of pictures hoping the windshield glare and passenger-side window wouldn’t throw an unwanted reflection in our moving masterpieces.

We passed lakes reflecting mesmerizing-clouds, small granite peaks, idyllic meadows and dark, dark green fir trees.

Too Many Scenic Opportunities

If you’re like me your mind wanders as you drive between destinations on long trips.

I was day dreaming about our  last vacation trip to this region

We simply ran out of time and skipped Telluride.

This year we skipped a stop in Silverton, because as empty nesters both of us felt the community was just too small and remote for us.

We passed ranches and old mines dotted with buildings in various states of disrepair.

And then a strange incident popped into my head.

One that just seemed odd at the time and remained just that until much later after Donald Trump’s election victory.

Only then did it connect two things political.

Our Durango friends reintroduced us to their life long friends.

And, took us to visit their friends divorced son.

Dennis greeted us at his home which was undergoing a major remodel.

Two things.

We hadn’t seen such gigantic log beams supporting his new roof.

And, we hadn’t seen someone proudly displaying a huge Confederate flag on the top of the roof.

This in contrast to the flowing American flag at the entrance of our friends best friends.

We just hadn’t encountered that before.

On our short vacation it just seemed odd.

We didn’t attach any importance to it

We were totally clueless.

Naively we asked our friends about it.

They glossed it over with a back story that Gen-X Dennis had always been rebellious growing up and in school.

Now, I wonder if they guessed we knew the significance of it.

But at the time we didn’t.

It just seemed odd flowing so magnificently there clearly thousands and thousands of miles from the deep South.

We might have figured it out.

Especially when Dennis’ mother told him to take it down, in that scolding tone all young boys feel in their bones.

But didn’t, although now it reminds me of the headline about the previous election.

Swastika On Campaign Sign Sparks Outrage

On Tuesday, Jeff Widen, a volunteer with the La Plata County Democrats, looks at a Barack Obama campaign sign he put up the previous day near U.S. Highway 160 and County Road 222 east of Durango.

Back then as a memory fragment it just floated disconnected from anything at all.

It disappeared from my dream-memory state as my attention snapped back to the task at hand.

Winding Country Roads

Back to the, well, navigating back country roads.

We drove winding high country mountain roads.

Sometimes meandering.

Sometimes death-defying like those twisting sharp turns along Pacific Coast Highway leading to Big Sur in California.

We climbed and climbed.

Must be getting close to Telluride we agreed.

Then we dropped and dropped.

Must have missed the Telluride turnout we agreed.

On the Big Sur-like twisty downward slope nearing the valley floor we flew past the turn-off to Mountain Village.

Oh well, we shrugged.

Meandering Country Roads

We weren’t here to spend three hours eyeballing golfers nearby.

Where’s Telluride we asked ourselves nearing the wide meadow just like most of the other ones we passed on the way.

Up there?

The sign to the airport pointed the way up on the opposite side of the red rock canyon wall.

On the mountain top?

Like at Catalina Island lying off of California’s Pacific Coast?

Maybe that’s were we’ll find planes and the Telluride Ski Resort?

We found ourselves at the mouth of the canyon.

Maybe the town and resort was at the, well, throat?

We negotiated the roundabout noting signs to Placerville on the 145 for later in the afternoon.

We followed the flow of traffic slightly uphill towards more deep blue skies, fluffy white clouds, low mountain peaks in cloud-shadows and dark green vegetation.

Repairs closed the road to downtown Telluride.

So we parked and walked.

In the middle of the street stood giant flower boxes with brightly colored blooms.

Flowers to Clouds

Reds, pinks, purples, yellows, you name it and it grew there.


We photographed similar looking specimens in Durango at Coal Bank.

Wait, what’s that leaf?

Did somebody slip in a marijuana plant?

Up the boutique-lined street off in the distance we felt we spied a ski run with a sliver of snow shining from the lower level, part way down from the peak.


Turns out it was a water fall.

Slowly the clues built up to a surprising revelation.

Red Rock Construction

A sign to the gondola off a side street.

Crossing the street and looking back above the rust-colored stone buildings revealed wide trails among the darker green trees.

So, yup.

We missed the base of Telluride Resort when we skipped turning into the Mountain Village entrance.

If our relatives weren’t expecting us hours away, sure, we would have taken the Gondola  over and back, but we chose instead to shop and continue on our own photo tour.

Oh, and find some locally recommended place to grab a bite to eat.

We needed to avoid the long lunch waits.

Side Street Gondola

We butted up against a short deadline to hit the road again.

So, we asked the clerk who rang my hat and t-shirt up at the Paradise Resortwear.

With lunch out of the way we had windows to shop and more iPhone photos to snap.

Telluride spoke to me in much the same way that Balboa Island had those many years ago.

When I first viewed it from the crest of MacArthur Blvd in Newport Beach near Fashion Island.

Sure, Telluride showed off the same Victorian architecture we enjoyed earlier in the morning, but in Durango.

But, the New Sheridan Hotel (the old faded “Sheridan” sign looked down on the newer building next to it) wasn’t as ornate in red brick as Durango’s Strater Hotel.

New Sheridan

It just felt less touristy to me.

More authentic, I guess.

Maybe in the same way that San Francisco’s footprint always felt more manageable compared to New York City or even Los Angeles.

I know what you’re thinking, how can that be?

When in the summer the whole town is geared up for the onslaught of high profile festival visitors.

Over 40 festivals listed in “The Official Guide of Telluride” at last count between May (Telluride Library Arts Festival and Mountainfilm) and October (Telluride Photography Festival).

Telluride Festivals

World famous music festivals — Telluride Jazz Festival, Telluride Bluegrass Festival.

And, of course, the Telluride Film Festival in September.

We missed it.

The celebrities.

Even the lead story in one of the Telluride magazines described how

QuentinTarantino spent the past winter in Telluride filming his latest project, “The Hateful Eight.” He was joined by a crew of about 150 and actors including Channing Tatum, Samuel L. Jackson, Kurt Russell, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Walter Goggins and Tim Roth …

You can’t get more touristy than that, right?

Up, Up and Away Above the Canyon Floor

Flaunt it if you’ve got it, right?

I still liked the feel of the town surrounded by the green slopes, mountain peaks and red-rock canyon walls.

But, three hours only left a taste of Telluride.

We need three days, or three weeks.

Next time we’d hook up with local guides to explore the region —

Mountain Biking

maybe not for mountaineering,

but for rafting,

jeep tours,

horseback riding,

glider piloting, and

a spot of fly fishing.

We’d probably spend some time at a spa in Mountain Village.

Even relaxing on a Wednesday evening for The Sunset Concert Series.

Bluegrass Music Festival

And of course we’d enjoy picking the …

Perfect spot to sit, relax and taste the best of our fabulous restaurants have to offer… Whether it’s on main street or a side street, there are restaurants offering a tempting array of cuisines, ambiance and affordability.  It may be the mountain air, the sunshine or epic views, but whatever it is, having a meal in Telluride and Mountain Village is an experience in itself.

An excerpt from Book Four in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Rocky Mountain State.


First, there’s the San Juan Mountains in which Durango stands 6,520 feet above sea level.  Then, there’s the Animas River meandering in and around the downtown streets.”


San Juan Mountains
Purgatory, River of Lost Souls, Silverton – Wild West Mining Heritage


Life. Happiness. Passion. Meaning.

See. Hear. Smell

Okay.  Here’s your check list.

You better hop to it, because time is running out and your vacation will end before you see and do everything on your checklist.


Animas River


Forest, River, Mother Nature.





Life feels good!

First, there’s the San Juan Mountains in which Durango stands 6,520 feet above sea level.

Then, there’s the Animas River meandering in and around the downtown streets.


And, of course there is a buzz of activity.

If it’s summer …

Then it’s a gaggle of runners, cyclists, rock climbers, kayakers and fly-fishers.

Fly Fishing
Rock Climbing

If it’s winter

Then it’s skiers and snowboarders in lift lines on Durango Mountain against a backdrop of heavy snowy laden trees and mountains peaks.

Durango Mountain Resort

Sometime in 2002 or 2003 we initiated coverage of Durango.

Because Harry Dent wrote if you’re still freaked out after the 9/11 terrorist attacks in New York City – or for that matter any metropolitan area — consider Durango.

Trade in an Urban Upscale, high density lifestyle, for a more pristine, sparsely populated community.

Could you find work?  Interested in financial planning he asked?

There’s an Edward Jones office already there.

Durango, he wrote, is an example of where Baby Boomers had been discovering “Big Bucks in the Boondocks”.

Not necessarily a welcoming passage for our self-reliant High Country Eagle, David Petersen, who no doubt was sending his manuscript “On the Wild Edge: In Search of a Natural Life” off to his publisher around the time.

From Grand Canyon to Mesa Verde

When we first visited Durango – over a summer a few years before Petersen published his book – we had already driven a long distance  in the dry heat from Arizona’s Grand Canyon.

Trading Posts

We drove out of Montezuma County in the Southwest corner of Colorado and headed for the general vicinities of La Plata, San Juan and Archueleta counties along the southern Colorado border.

Stopping briefly at the Colorado Welcome Center in the Cortez City Park, we realized that you’re at another major crossroad – 555 takes you past the Crow Canyon Archeological Center to Dove Creek and the Dolores River Overlook.

West is the Ute Mountain Ute Reservation.

South is where we’ve been on 160.

Northeast on 145 takes us to Telluride through the San Juan National Forest.

East takes us past Mesa Verde National Park, on 160 towards Durango.

We decide to stick to U.S. 160 headed east.

Long Road Ahead

To be honest, I didn’t even consider a time change for Mesa Verde and Durango.

This has been one trip with a lot of driving.

All I had thought about behind the wheel is the next stop at Mesa.

And then a 45 minute drive to Durango, our “Basecamp,” for three nights and two days before pressing on to Denver.

When we drove up the the entrance of the state park, the park ranger told us the park was closing in 25 minutes for the day due to the hour time change between Arizona and Colorado.



We pressed on, though.

What else could we do?

Driving a long and winding road we squeezed in a whirlwind tour of the Anasazi Cliff Dwellings.

The ranger said to visit the museum and the Spruce House since we didn’t need tickets or a guide.

Not until we hiked down to the Spruce House, did I begin to appreciate the severely shortened stopover.

We climbed down into a Kiva.

Mesa Verde National Park

And then I forgot about our time constraint.

It was like I was transported into a different world, a different time.

I could begin to use my imagination while driving around the scenic loop.

There we saw rock evidence of earlier communities out in the open on the top of the mesa.

They once flourished.

But, it wasn’t anything that I had expected.

It’s as if as warring tribes or other threats challenged their existence.

Spruce Tree House

Instead of choosing another mountain top, they moved to the cliffs for protection.

At least we had enough time to take in cliff dwellings that appeared in the shadows across the canyons from a turnout.

We stopped and photographed like so many other tourists before and after us — until the rain moved in.

The centuries of inhabiting this area begins to sink in.

Especially when you stand here next to our SUV with digital cameras in hand and gaze out across the canyon to the complex of early Anasazi cliff homes.

It takes an unhurried appreciation for what you’re seeing to hit you.

They were built, what, some 1400 years before the first European explorers laid eyes on the territory.

Anasazi Cliff Dwellings

Or even stepped on North American shores!

Anasazi people — Ancestral Pueblo-ans — lived for roughly 700 years in Mesa Verde, having migrated from the Four Corners region.

Half expecting we’d be kicked out, we spent about an hour exploring, even as exhibits and tours barred any admissions.


Bone tired.

How much of this can anyone take?

Suffering from fanny fatigue, we climbed back in our SUV for the last 45 minute drive  –arriving in downtown Durango at dusk.

From my journal –

Durango sits on the edge of a great desert mesa and enjoys warm breezes and cool lush mountain forests.

With a population that grew from 12,500 to almost 14,000 people before 2008 Durango grew at significant rate.

The United States Census Bureau reported a population of 16,887 in the 2010 census.

There’s no missing the San Juan Mountains in Durango.

Durango sits in their shadows.

Durango, Colorado

Wikipedia says the mountains are …

geographically younger than other Colorado mountain ranges – they haven’t weathered as much, so they appear more jagged and captivating, at an elevation of 6,500 feet above sea level. 

As we drive through these mountain roads you can’t help but notice the brown, red, yellow tracings from mine shafts long ago abandoned.

But, I was done with driving by the time we found our hotel.

And finding the Best Western Rio Grand took awhile, especially when the address listed looked to be at the wrong end of a one-way street, a problem we eventually solved.

While eating an early dinner at Farquarhts it’s easy to see how the downtown gets most of its charm from the classic 19th century hotels and its Victorian architecture, saloons and hitching posts.

Victorian Architecture

So much of the West owes its expansion to the railroad, and I guess Durango is no exception.

I love the story our waiter told about Durango being founded when another community across the Animus River turned down the offer to bring the railroad that would link the mines to Denver.

I know.

It’s kind of an accidental incident that turns into a major opportunity – or blunder depending upon your point of view.

Either way, while Durango was founded by the Denver and Rio Grand Railroad in 1879, it wasn’t until August 5, 1881 that the railroad came to the mining and smelting center

Denver and Rio Grand Railroad

Those were heady day in this area — the heydays of the gold and silver booms.

I love the names.


“River of Lost Souls”,


They all conjure up images of a gold rush town, you know?


(32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

An excerpt from Book Three in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams.


“Attention, humans! You are entering black bear habitat!” Since when did the Sierra Nevada bears hire a PR firm?


Gateway to the Wilderness
Names: Mosquito Flats, Little Lakes Valley, John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest, Morgan Pass, Mono Pass. And the lakes: Mack, Marsh, Heart, Box, Gem and Chickenfoot.


Mosquito Flats Trailhead and the hike into Little Lakes Valley.

At the trailhead I catch up on my reading.

Welcome to the Muir Wilderness

Four posts filled with warnings, maps, hiking etiquette and a plea from the California Department of Fish & Game.

“Know the risk … this place is wild.” 

Framed in light brown wood.

Directly behind the light blue poster you see the deep blue sky with white cotton clouds and a fir tree forest giving way to a dirt trail.

Are  you prepared?

Always carry a map and a compass and know how to use them.

Carry water, food and weather protection.

Know your health and physical limitations.

You may encounter wildlife – know how to protect your food and yourself.

I try to focus on the vertical dark purple side bar instructing me to “Practice Wildlands Ethics” by leaving no trace followed by six bullet reminders.

But I can’t.

Just like the time I concentrated on what to do when you encounter a moose in Summit County, Colorado, I’m riveted by the horizontal tan boxed in message.


What to do if you see a moose — listed four bullet points followed by six more under the heading of Physical Appearance.

A bear was on the loose years ago on our camping trip to Sugar Pine.

Wilderness Means Wild

After we left Fallen Leaf Lake camping not that long ago a bear incident was reported there.

Oh, and more recently all those headlines about the Lake Tahoe bears.

Remember those?

They freaked me out just like they did newbie homeowners.

No One Told Her About The Bears, Had A Break In

Some callers are head-scratchingly clueless, such as the woman who reported she was “mad, angry about buying a house in Tahoe. No one told her about the bears. Had a break in. Not happy.”

Bear Leveled A Garage Door And Cleaned Out A Refrigerator

Others are clearly fed up, such as the man who reported that he tried to secure his home but it “didn’t work” — a bear leveled a garage door and cleaned out a refrigerator.

Gun For Next Time He Comes Back

“Has gun for next time he comes back,” the report reads.

Wilderness. Wildlife. Break Ins. Midnight Snacks.

Now a word from the opposing party.

“Attention, humans! You are entering black bear habitat!

This area is our home, where we have survived for many years by eating natural food sources.

Lately we’ve been tempted by human food sources.

Did you know that we can smell anything with an odor, including your food, garbage and toiletries?

When you don’t store these items properly, we are tempted to rip into your tent, packs and panniers and eat anything available.

Since when did the Sierra Nevada bears hire a PR firm?

Bears Represented by PR Firm

Soon, after the females learned how to grab spawning salmon out of thin air with their bare paws at Tahoe?

Only The Female Bears Are Successful At Catching

Interestingly, only the female bears are successful at catching the salmon, and they teach their cubs to fish. 

It is funny to watch a male bear in the creek splashing around trying to catch a fish, finally giving up in disgust.

Did females migrate through a mountain pass from the western to the eastern side of the Sierras?

Are these the same bears waiting to ambush unsuspecting suburbanites?

Or, could this be the next generation of cubs spreading the gospel?

Just above the drawing of an imposing female black bear guarding her cub trail-side the warnings continued.

This is a risk to our health and your safety.  

Once we’ve gotten into your food and garbage we are no longer wild bears; we become aggressive and seek your food sources, and may have to be killed.  

Please, do us both a favor — store your food properly. — A message from the bears.

With ambushing bears do I really want keep the area wild?

The next nearby sign tried to convince me.

And, We’re Not Talking Parties.

Practices that keep it WILD. 

Where the imprint of humans is substantially unnoticeable …

OK these messages tell us all about selecting campsites, especially away from water which had always been my inclination in years past and finally all about campfires.

Use of campfires for cooking and warmth was vital in the past.  

However, use of wood for campfires at popular destinations has denuded areas of dead and down wood.  

These areas are at risk of losing their natural conditions due to heavy wood-gathering activity.


Why stay away from water sources in the mountains?

Good Reasons to Camp Away from Water:

It’s warmer – cold air sinks into drainages.  Lake basins and meadows.

There are fewer mosquitoes!

We had our fill of mosquitoes in Colorado when we paused on our climb to Cathedral Rock.

We sat on fallen logs to snack on sandwiches, string cheese and water – but only momentarily, because we became bait for swarms of mosquitoes. 

The last two reasons?

You are less likely to disturb wildlife.

And more importantly, depending on your activities the night before –

The sun will be up earlier!

Now, how about those sheep?

Fish, Game and Bighorn Sheep

Don’t they have an an agency like the black bears?

Apparently, they’re missing in action.

At least they’ve got a poster, kinda purple-ish.

In their group shot showing four standing looking to the right, one almost out of the picture looking to the left and the head honcho looking stage right also, but posing all regal like on the boulder behind the others.

“Please report bighorn sheep sightings and their locations to: CA Dept of Fish & Game”

The poster gave two phone numbers and two website links.

I looked around.

Nope, none.

Wondered what they had done?

Breaking and entering like the Lake Tahoe bears?

A mere misdemeanor like a butt-and-run?

I also wondered after a few hours on the trail with physical exhaustion setting in if I would remember or even look up from my hiking boots, one foot in front of the other?

Wait, There’s One. Right?

But, while still fresh, and waiting for the last family member to finish their restroom business I scanned another wood framed sign titled “Little Lakes Valley Trailhead.”

It reminded me the trailhead took us into the John Muir Wilderness, Inyo National Forest.

A small black and white thumbnail portrait of the bearded John Muir included a quote.

Frankly I didn’t catch its significance.

“I only went out for a walk and finally concluded to stay out till sundown, for going out I found was really going in.”

I had time to read the reminders to be responsible and leave no trace behind.

Next a bunch of wilderness use restrictions to keep it wild.

One of those three dimension geological maps showing the mountains in light green and mountains in light brown drew me in until everyone was ready.

Ready for a group photo, just about as scruffy as the bighorn sheep poster.

But, including nine of us and three dogs – two hyper dogs already entangled themselves in their leashes.

Ready to go, oh wait we have to rotate photographers to catch everybody with their backs to a hill of dark fir trees, a meadow across the creek, and the slow moving creek where fishermen cast but didn’t catch.

Photos with people in them for family slideshows that nobody but family members want to see after the first one hundred slide by?

I’m not that guy.

Landscape nature photos?

I’m that guy.

Like herding sheep in the same direction, the parade began.

One after another including three dogs took off in single file.

Morgan Pass

Finding a blonde wood sign showing Morgan Pass?

With an arrow pointing to the left and Mono Pass with a second arrow pointing to the right?

Right up my alley.

The trick?

Taking the time to frame the photo against the background – a gnarly wind-swept juvenile and bushy green pine tree — to shelter the subject matter in too sunny a time of day?



Not too much sun, not too little.

I’m that guy.

We trudged on skipping the climb up another 1600 feet in elevation over five miles to Morgan Pass.

As well as, the steeper 2000 feet up hill climb to Mono Pass, even though it was a mile closer.

Place One Foot in Front of the Other

In hindsight, they should have given me about a mile head start instead of looking back to see where I was.

My knee had recovered from surgery and I felt confident the hike wouldn’t hurt it.

My wife lagged behind for the first part.

And, then … I was on my own.

Back to the Rock Creek Lodge’s website:

Although the trailhead is just over 10,000 ft., the hiking is relatively easy, climbing 600 vertical feet in about 3 miles to long lake. 

The most strenuous section is the 1st hill about a 1/4 mile from the trailhead, and each lake is about 20 to 30 minutes of hiking apart. 

Hiking in Little Lakes Valley is awesome.

Into Little Lakes Valley

Stopping high up on a tan boulder turnout from the trail we – after they waited for me – take in the classic Sierra view.

Off in the distance dark gray foreboding clouds touch the 3,000 foot granite peaks that surround the glacially-carved canyon.

It’s easy to spot the edge of the trees.

The top border doesn’t fill more than 50% of the shadowed mountains with their jagged edges.

A little white light peeks through the clouds in a naturally random pattern.

Little patches of tan boulders peek through the dark green pine trees across the way.

Directly below you see Mack Lake.

Which if I’m being honest looks more like a wide dark green river from this vantage point.

Mack Lake

Except it isn’t flowing.

Is there a pattern or nemonic device that helps you remember the names and sequence of the little lakes in the Little Lakes Valley like the alphabet for the Owens Valley towns on US 395?

Let’s check back with the Rock Creek site:

Each lake is beautiful and unique, as suggested by their names: 

Mack Lake, 

Marsh Lake, 

Heart Lake, 

Box Lake, 

Long Lake, 

Gem Lake and 

Chickenfoot Lake.

If you figure it out, let me know.

So the narrow rock-strewn trail widens as it slopes down and turns towards the left.

It opens into lighter tan dirt and fewer piles of rocks.

Marsh Lake in the Distance?

Off in the distance ahead you notice a darker brown pattern with bushy clusters in the foreground and a beginning of greener vegetation in the background.

Right in front of a band of fir trees that connect the right with the left sides to the trail.

We hopped across a small, narrow creek with dark brown water flowing downhill into the marsh.

My nephew took the opportunity to strip off his hiking boots and socks to sit on a rock and soak his feet.

Hidden behind the bend and off to the left are more marsh-like wild plants.

It’s easy to imagine that this whole flat area had been under water in non-drought years.

And, it’s easy to imagine this must be Marsh Lake.

Number two on the random list of lake names.

Continuing on, a gigantic boulder, maybe 12 to 15 feet tall, snatches my attention.


Huge Boulder with Red Accents

Well, it seems to lean a little to the right.

While it is all in one tan and gray speckled piece you can see the grooves etched into it vertically.

From ancient glacial activity or incremental erosion?

At any rate it was the dark copper red coloring filling in two cracks that provoked me into taking yet another hike-delayed photo.

Was it at Heart Lake or Box Lake?

The trail forced me to reconsider continuing.

About a half a dozen rustic steps up a steep section pulled at my knee in a way that signaled I should pace myself more than I planned.

The rest of the flock continued on.

They’re not even sure which lake they finally stopped at and frolicked in — splashing and swimming and throwing rocks in.

Possibly Gem or even Chickenfoot Lake.


(32) Plan extended seasonal vacations during summer and winter months. Group destination locations together in regional trips to explore what several bucket list towns have to offer in the general vicinity – with only a week or two vacation time to spend, we recommend organizing your itinerary by travel regions.

An excerpt from Book Five in “The Knowledge Path Series” dedicated to helping you find the place of your dreams in the Sierra Mountain resorts.