20131026

A little surprise for us at Sagehen Creek in Truckee, CA -- Thurs, 10/24


While our outstanding Indian Summer weather continues, Jimmy and I will be Out and About somewhere, relishing each day.  This morning we talked about possibilities and chose a drive up into the Sierras, with a hike along Sagehen Creek as a destination.  We hiked this relatively flat and easy 5-mile R/T trail back in Aug 2012.  This year we wondered if we'd see much fall color at this elevation -- 6100' -- and, sure enough, I'm happy to report we were treated to beautiful colors from our yard all the way into the high country!  Truckee is about an hour's drive, up and over Donner Pass, and to say it was a nice drive would be an understatement.

Sagehen Creek is supposedly a wildflower paradise in spring, but we've not been here in spring.  Maybe we'll catch it next year!  What we did see -- in autumn -- surprised the heck out of us....

The trail follows alongside the babbling creek for quite a ways and then veers off into the tall trees, and rejoins the creek in a wide meadow.  With temps in the low 60's, we set off....

Sagehen Creek is a tiny stream of water that drains into Stampede Reservoir.


And it's shallow...

As we rejoined the creek in the meadow, we spotted fish.  "Those look like salmon," I told Jimmy.  He peered into the water.  "They are salmon!" he exclaimed.

We learned that from late September through mid-October, mature kokanee salmon transform from a silver-blue color to a fiery vermilion and run into creeks to spawn.  As spawning season approaches the fish acquire a humpback and protuberant jaw -- and boy was that evident.  We also spotted lots of "belly up" salmon, who had finished the job and their carcasses were now food for bears, etc.  Yep, we saw bear scat.

Kokanee (Sockeye salmon) are completely landlocked, living and reproducing in lakes.  They're smaller than salmon that goes to sea, but I bet they're just as tasty!  See how shallow the water is?  Who would of guessed salmon would be fighting their way up dinky Sagehen Creek to spawn.  Now is not the time to catch these fish, but I guarantee ya, Jimmy and I will find out the right time and we'll buy fishing licenses!

This really is a fine place to spend an afternoon.

One arm of Stampede Reservoir in the distance.

Those salmon managed to swim upstream toward those trees and beyond in this ankle-deep water!

Mountain bluebirds were busy catching insects (and resting on this stump).

Truckee's already had one snowfall earlier this month.  Most of the Aspens at this elevation had already quaked off their pretty yellow leaves, but this little stand of Aspens stands out nicely, so to speak

After four hours, we were glad to get back to the car, tho we thoroughly enjoyed our hike.  We drove into Historic Truckee and scarfed down a delicious early dinner at Jax @ the Tracks, a diner we've visited before.  Really good food.  Just ask Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives fame.  We didn't make it down the mountain in time for the opening pitch of Game #2 of the World Series, but the Red Sox lost the game anyway.  Phooey:  The only fly in the ointment of an otherwise terrific day!

1 comment:

  1. Kokanee are GOOD to eat! Used to be a 50 per day limit when I first lived in Northern Idaho in the early 70's. Loved seeing those photos. We also saw them at Wallowa Lake this year.

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