Skunk Harbor Hike...

Lake Tahoe is already feeling the crush of tourists arriving for the long Independence Day weekend. We wanted to get off the beaten path. We chose well.

Skunk Harbor is a 3.11 mile usually heavily trafficked out and back trail which features stunning views of Lake Tahoe and is rated as moderate. With a 584 ft. elevation change, this was the most strenuous hike I've accomplished, post neck fracture (ten months ago). It was awesome.

The flora was uniquely spectacular.

This was K & T's first visit here and it couldn't have been a more beautiful destination.

We picnicked right here. Wow. Physical distancing at its finest.

A highlight was having this exceptional butterfly land on my back. It was the perfect end of a wonderful explore.
"Looking out over the lake,
I felt enveloped in the most peaceful, loving utopia."   
-Laurie Kahn

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A Visit with Author Cindy Sample...

I love a fun murder mystery and my friend, Cindy Sample, is the queen of writing them.

This talented author has been mentioned on this blog many times. I was extremely pleased that she is here in Lake Tahoe where Dying for a Deal takes place. I was fortunate enough to help Cindy with some SLT PD details. What fun to sleuth for a sleuth.
"Laurel McKay Hunter is thrilled to partner with new husband, Tom, in their budding detective agency, Gold Country Investigations. With her past experience solving crimes, even Tom admits she's a natural. And Laurel's first case is perfect for her financial skills, extricating a friend of her zany grandmother from a Lake Tahoe timeshare scam." It sounds like the perfect Tahoe beach read!
And how very cool to find my name within the acknowledgements! Our lakeside visit was way too brief but I delighted in learning what new mysteries await her fans.

“One must never set up a murder.
They must happen unexpectedly, as in life.”
-Alfred Hitchcock

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The Yellows of Tahoe...

When one thinks of Lake Tahoe, one pictures various hues of blue and beautiful greens. Yellow is not one of the colors that comes to mind quite as often.

I loved that even the damselfly, clinging to this pond flower, was a shade of yellow. Do you see her? So cool.

I had hoped to finally see the elusive Tahoe Yellow Cress, a small native plant that grows on the shoreline of Lake Tahoe and nowhere else in the world. It lives only on the sandy beaches and dunes at the ever-changing margin of the lake.
This plant was growing in TYC's protective environment, but as it turns out, I still haven't seen the only-in-Tahoe bloom. The hunt continues.

The Upper Truckee Marsh is one of those South Lake Tahoe spaces that nourishes. It is the perfect place to sit and ponder. We'll be here often this summer.

“This is the time to love.
This is the time to forgive.
This is the time to ponder.
This is the time to wonder.”
― Debasish Mridha

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My Little Free Library: COVID Edition

This seems to be my Little Free Library's Summer of Love. I look out my kitchen window and there is always someone perusing its contents.

The Coronavirus closed our local library so I think bibliophiles found a place to meet their needs, though COVID protocols were definitely being followed. Here physical distancing allowed two strangers to meet over books.
This fashionable woman even wore a mask (note how color coordinated she is). I loved her ensemble and her careful deliberation over the current selection.
This collection of children's books was a donation from our South Lake Tahoe Public Library. So cool!

“Literature is the most agreeable way
of ignoring life.”
– Fernando Pessoa

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First Bear Sighting...

Steve was standing in our front yard and pondered, "Why is there water running down the tree?" Answer: two words... Bear Pee.

This was the first neighborhood bear we've seen that had an ear tag and tracking collar. Interesting.

I know this big guy will be gone with nightfall but he was sure a delight to admire when we could.

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USPS Postal Stamps of the 1970s...

There are many things I absolutely love. Snail mail and history are two of the most adored.

I recently discovered that there are people out there who sell vintage stamps. Oh my gosh, how very cool. It is so me. I ordered a pack of 100 13¢ USPS, non-used stamps. What a treat! Included was a variety of 13 different images, giving me a wonderful opportunity to learn the history of so many new things.
I really enjoy meeting people through their stamps. Nurse Clara Maass (1876-1901) gave her life during a scientific study to determine the cause of yellow fever. In April 1898, Maass left school to serve as a nurse in the Spanish-American War. In 1900, she returned to Cuba to aid the effort to discover the cause of yellow fever. For the sake of science, she allowed herself to be bitten seven times by mosquitoes infected with yellow fever. She died at the age of 25. Wow, right?
Less dramatic, this stamp introduced me to Jimmie Rodgers, The Singing Brakeman. Born on September 8, 1897, in Meridian, Mississippi, he overcame a hard life to become a well known radio star. A life of poor health caused his early death at age 35, though decades later he was one of the first three people inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame in 1961.
U.S. #1683 commemorates the 100th anniversary of the first phone call, which was placed by Alexander Graham Bell on March 10, 1876. Bell’s famous words were, “Mr. Watson, come here. I want you!"
Issued in New York, NY in 1978, this block of four stamps commemorates the contribution of dance to American society. Represented are ballet, folk, or square dance, modern dance, and theater.
There is just something about a quilt that I am drawn to. This original block of four stamps was based on a "basket" design from an American quilt made in New York City in 1875. Although the industrial revolution made it possible to mass produce inexpensive blankets, the quilt was considered to be attractive, practical, and very economical.

The USPS created the Folk Art Series in 1977 to honor important and lesser-known items in American art and culture.  Folk Art is loosely defined as the art of the everyday, rooted in traditions that come from community and culture and expressing cultural identity by conveying shared community values and aesthetics.

Interestingly, by the time the third issue in the series was released, in 1979, the postal rate had gone up 2 cents.
Another thing I love are butterflies. Issued as a set of four, the 1977 stamps pictures the Swallowtail, Checkerspot, Dogface and Orange-Tip butterflies. Each butterfly represents a different geographic region of the United States.
This Benjamin Franklin stamp was one of the 113 commemorative stamps issued over a six-year period in honor of the U.S. bicentennial. As a group, the Bicentennial Series chronicles one of our nation’s most important chapters, and remembers the events and patriots who made the U.S. a world model for liberty.
The Bicentennial theme was repeated on the 1977 Traditional Christmas stamp, which pictures General George Washington at prayer in Valley Forge. Yes, this was the Christmas stamp for 1977. So very, very interesting.

Who knew a $13 investment would provide such fun?... oh wait, I did!

"Consider the postage stamp:
its usefulness consists in the ability to stick to one thing
till it gets there."
-Josh Billings

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Traveling Mail: A Postcard...

Traveling mail is a form of 'snail mail' which multiple people contribute towards. The most common form of traveling mail is a postcard, that is sent from person to person to sign.

Unlike a traditional postcard, it is always sent in envelopes, and can take up to a couple of years to return home. When it does eventually find its way back, it's worth the wait. Each piece of mail has a journey across the world to share.
My Canadian pen pal sent me this postcard, almost fully covered in signatures and pictures from the snail mailers who passed it along. I wish it was dated.
I love this postcard's wandering path: California to Nebraska, back to California then to Michigan. It returned back to California before heading to Pennsylvania. It was sent to another city in PA before finding itself in Ontario, Canada. It is now with me and it is my daunting task to find its next destination. Suggestions/offers anyone?

“The world before us is a postcard,
and I imagine the story we are writing on it.”
― Mary E. Pearson

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Spatter Cones Nature Trail...

We found this perfect trail to conclude our road trip located near the north entrance of Lassen Volcanic National Park.

We picked up a fabulous map and set off to meander the self-guided interpretive trail through the origin of the Hat Creek Lava Flow.
Oh man, the cool things we saw: spatter cones, craters, wildflowers, butterflies, and a beautiful view of the Hat Creek Valley.

The Loop trail, approximately 1.7 miles long, guided us along the fissure of a young volcano (erupted 30,000 years ago). It was so interesting to look into the opening of a lava tube and feel cool air ooze out. Refreshing and intriguing.

We were so impressed with the variety and the fragility of the wildflowers that grew in such a harsh environment.

It was an embarrassment of butterflies and I was a very happy hiker!
There is always a sense of accomplishment to hike the Pacific Crest Trail, if even briefly.

The map indicates 17 stops with educational facts along the way. Steve is perched along Steep Cone, the largest crater and the most dramatic of the Spatter cones. It is 95 feet in diameter though this photo can't possible do it justice.
Every high point on the horizon is the relic of a volcanic eruption. This hike provided an exceptional view of snow-covered Lassen Peak. Wow.
It also provided us with a pretty unique picnic spot.

Of all the Spatter Cones Trail features, Spatter Tube is a microcosm of the area's volcanic history.
The diversity of this five day road trip exceeded all expectations. It just confirms that there is so much left to be discovered... challenge accepted!

"Wilderness is not a luxury
but a necessity of the human spirit,
and as vital to our lives as water and good bread."
- Edward Abbey

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