A walk on the mild side - Monday, June 9th, 2014

On a scale of 1 to 10, walking along (or adjacent to) Sagehen Creek is a ten in my book.  Whether in the tall trees, grateful for shade, in riparian sections of the trail, or out in an open wildflower-bedecked meadow, you never know what you're going to see and it's a safe bet that you'll see plenty.  We came to this 6,000+ ft trail to escape the heat of lower elevations, and we wanted to share this cool hike with my sis, Nannie.  It's a 5-mile R/T hike, but relatively flat, so it's easy going.

Not a lot of water in Sagehen Creek, especially in a drought.  This creek drains into Stampede Reservoir, which was so low we could barely see it from our turn-around point. 

 I expected to see entire hillsides covered in blooming Mule's Ears, and we did see lots in bloom, but we also noticed many of them were wilting in the heat (and let's face it, we're dry here).

 We spotted pretty Crimson columbines in shady nooks. 

Masses of Purple Meadow Penstemon - Sagehen is a wildflower paradise in springtime!

 Nannie and me -- happy to be Out and About together (and airing ourselves).

 The patch of blue way down there is Stampede Reservoir.  We didn't go as far as that.

This meadow is in glorious color.  A treat for the eyes!

 Jimmy and I saw Kokanee salmon here on a hike we made last fall.  Easy to walk across Sagehen Creek without getting much of a foot-soaker.

A little further on toward the lake in the previous photo, I spotted a large brown bird thru my binocs, so I eased along the creek till I got closer.  What a surprise to see a lone brown Sandhill Crane!  The only Sandhills I've ever seen are gray, so what's up with this guy?  Nannie came alongside me and together we snuck in closer.  Eventually we walked all the way around this line of short willows.  No Sandhill.  It did not fly away.  We walked around again.  Nothing.  We supposed it was hunkered down in the tall stuff.  We looked it up online when we got home and these guys are called "stained" Sandhill Cranes -- some adults are stained rusty-orange by iron-rich mud. 

On our return, we paused again at the pond, like we did on the hike out.  We knew it was a beaver pond, full of green leafy trees and plants, with scores of birds, but it didn't look lived-in by beavers any more, or so Jimmy and I thought.  WRONG.  While we stood watching a woodpecker, a large ripple in the water caught my eye -- by gum, there it was -- a big ol' brown beaver toolin' around in the shallows.  You don't often see them, 'cause they don't want to be seen, but this guy didn't seem to mind.  Cool beans!

We studied this one last wildflower on our way to the car, a Foothill Death Camas (Toxicoscordion paniculatum).  This perennial is, as the name implies, toxic.  But pretty.

We enjoyed our hike immensely, but when it was over we were grateful to get in the car and head down the mountain to Nevada City.  (The Prius coasts most of the way down!)

* * * * * * * * * *

Tuesday was Nannie's last full day with us on this trip. I guess it would be redundant to say another hot one was predicted.  We opted to go to the movies early Tuesday afternoon, beat the heat inside an air-conditioned theater!  What flick did we pick?  A Million Ways to Die in the West -- an outrageously funny movie that had the entire audience (including us) rolling in the aisles!  What a great way to spend a hot ol' afternoon, followed by an easy dinner at Lefty's in Nevada City.

So, Jimmy and I bid adieu to my sister on Wednesday 6/11.  Back to the Reno airport where she would take off on the first of two flights home... in clear weather, thank goodness.  Back to her home and husband. Nannie and I are like two peas in a pod, tho we're seven years apart in age (she bees the younger one).  We love to spend time together and it doesn't matter where or what we're doing.  As adults, she and I lived next door to each other in Louisiana for ten years and that part of our lives was simply grand.

One advantage of our hot weather week was being able to get up early, and she and I would go sit on the back deck, in shorts or light jammies (or whatever).  With coffee and binocs, we'd sit out there watching various birds sample the feeders, and we'd chitchat or sit quietly... no stress, no worries, no haste, just two best friends - sisters - treasuring the simple stuff of life.  It doesn't get any better than this.  Love you, my seester!

The heat wave broke the next morning....


  1. Yup, we sure did have a good time. Lots of treasure-time. And oh yes, how WONDERFUL that the heat wave broke the day AFTER I flew home...... Enjoy your cool weather, my sister! love you!

  2. That picture of you and Nannie is great ... shows such joy. I'm still waiting for the heat to break here ... but the forecast is for it to get worse.


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