From the monthly archives:

December 2007

The Sierras are one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in North America, and there is no shortage of places to enjoy the outdoors to take in all their natural beauty. Popular hiking and camping locations offer plenty of outdoor fun for the whole family. These bustling places are easy to find, but can lack the serenity we crave from the Sierras simply because of the congestion of vacationers they attract.

Sometimes we’re looking for that hidden gem, that back country fishing hole where we can unload our tackle box, sit back and listen to the subtle ripples of a mountain lake, the friendly chirping of birds, the deep billows of native frogs. Places like these are kept secret, hidden from outsiders, for a reason… the locals don’t want the rest of us crowding their fishing holes.

Often only the locals know of destinations like these, and normally you’d have to talk with one personally to get directions. And yet even then, they may not reveal their secret fishing spots. I want to share a few of these spectacular fishing spots with you today. dsc00847.jpg

One lake you must visit is Jackson Meadows. Tucked back in the hills just north of Truckee, Jackson Meadows is packed with kokanee, rainbow and brown trout. Many anglers find it difficult to distinguish the red-meated beauties found here from wild fish – just one more reason to love this glorious country. Jackson Meadows is not the most remote area; it’s a fair sized lake with sufficient campgrounds that may be moderately populated in the summer months. Yet it’s still considered a favorite by the locals.jackson.gif

Even more hidden is Catfish Lake, which sits just south of Jackson Meadows. You can even cast a line and snatch up a grayling, which are usually found in the cold Arctic waters of Alaska and Canada. There are very, very few of these legendary fish in the high elevation waters of the Sierra Nevadas. What’s amazing is they were never planted there. In fact, fishery biologists believe the grayling came from another lake higher in the mountains. You’re lucky to snag one of these beauties.

Be sure to bring your 4WD when visiting these spots and don’t bother running through the car wash before you go either. The access roads are not for city slickers, according to the locals!

For more information on these and other recreational lakes in the Truckee area, contact Tahoe National Forest, Sierraville Ranger District, (530) 994-3401 or fax (530) 994-3143. For fishing information, contact Mountain Hardware in Truckee (530) 587-4844.

©Ted McCaleb


Yosemite’s Badger Pass Ski Area

by Ted on December 22, 2007

California‘s first ski resort, Yosemite‘s Badger Pass Ski Area, opened today for downhill skiing, snowboarding and cross-country skiing. The snow that arrived over the past 48 hours has given Yosemite skiers a new two to three-foot base for family enjoyment in the crown jewel of the national park system.

Badger Pass Yosemite

“The snow dances we’ve been doing the past week have finally paid off,” said Colin Baldock, Manager of Guest Recreation for DNC Parks & Resorts at Yosemite, Badger Pass‘ official concessionaire. “Wax up your skis and snowboards and lay the first tracks in the fresh powder. All of the slopes are groomed, the chair lifts and a handle tow are operational, allowing easy access to more than 85 acres of ski-able terrain.”

Whether guests visit Yosemite for one day or multiple days, new this year to the Badger Pass Ski Area are the following discounted winter packages:

Badger FUN Pass

One-day winter adventures in Yosemite may be enjoyed with the new Badger FUN Pass which is valid Monday through Friday beginning January 7, 2008. For one low price of $59 for adults and $39 for children ages 12 and under, guests receive a lift ticket, equipment rental for the activities of their choice, a ski or boarding lesson and one tubing session (a $93 value). Skiers can order online at and save and additional $10 on each pass.

Stay ‘N Play Package

Guests looking for a multi-day winter retreat may enjoy all of Yosemite‘s great winter activities with the Stay ‘N Play Package. Stay at any of the Park’s lodging venues this winter and add a Winter All-Access Pass for just $29 for adults and $19 for kids. The Winter All-Access Pass is valid during midweek stays and includes a daily lift ticket, a one-day equipment rental, one group lesson, one tubing session, one ice-skating session and one valley floor tour (a $123 value). Guests staying four or more consecutive nights any day of the week (including weekends) will receive up to four Winter All-Access Passes for free.

Annual Park Pass Upgrades

For guests planning on visiting more than once this year, we are offering a free upgrade from the weekly park pass to an annual Yosemite park pass (a $20 value). There are two ways to qualify for this upgrade. Guests making new reservations for stays between now and February 29 for two nights or more can ask for this free upgrade. Additionally, guests visiting Yosemite‘s Badger Pass Ski Area can get this free upgrade when they spend $60 or more on activities and rentals.

The Early Bird Season Passes will be available for purchase at Badger Pass through the conclusion of skiing on December 21. Adults are $199, youths (13 to 17) and seniors (65+) are $169, and children (7-12) are $100. Children 6 and under ski free with a paying adult. Prices on December 22 will be $376 for adults, $376 for youths and $118 for children.

All-day lift tickets are $38 for adults, $32 for youths, and $15 per child. Half-day lift tickets are $28 for adults, $22 for youths, and $11 per child. Youngsters 6 years of age and under ski free with a paying adult, and seniors age 65 and older ski free midweek (Monday through Friday, non-holiday).

Food service begins at Badger Pass at 8:00am daily, with ticket sales for downhill skiing beginning at 8:30 for use until 4:00pm each day. Rentals and the world famous Badger Pass Ski School open at 8:30am, with the Sport Shop opening its doors at 9:00am.

The Cross-Country Ski Center is also open at 8:30am for those interested in taking advantage of 90 miles of marked cross-country ski trails in Yosemite‘s pristine backcountry. Snowshoe rentals, cross-country ski lessons and the soon-to-open snow tubing area are also offered at the Cross-Country Ski Center. Two-hour snow tubing sessions will take place three times a day once its hill is groomed and will offer a fun and inexpensive alternative for non-skiers.

Cross Country Skiing Badger Pass Yosemite

Founded in 1935, Yosemite’s Badger Pass Ski Area enjoys the distinction of being California‘s first ski resort. Badger Pass is the gateway to some of the most beautiful vistas in the High Sierra, offering five convenient lifts and spacious groomed runs for downhill skiers and snowboarders, in addition to snowshoeing, snow tubing and cross-country ski trails.

The Yosemite Ski School was established in 1928 and has trained generations of first-time skiers, snowboarders and telemarkers. Private and group lessons are available daily, with specialized instruction for kids (four to six years old) participating in the Badger Pups program. Babysitting is also available for potty-trained children ages three to nine.

For online lodging reservations and information about Yosemite Ski & Stay packages and the new Winter All Access Pass, visit or call 559-253-5676. For 24-hour ski conditions, call 209-372-1000. For road and weather information, call 209-372-0200.


Sierra Lakes

by Ted on December 17, 2007

Favorite Lakes in the Sierras

When you’re camping it’s always nice to be near a lake. Not only does the water add to the beauty of the experience, but it also gives you recreational options. At most lakes in the region you can camp, hike, swim, ski, fish, boat, and more. Many of the lake campgrounds offer full RV hookups as well as dry camps, and even lodging for those of you who like a less primitive experience. A few favorites in the Sierras include Gold Lake, Bowman Lake, and Donner Lake.

Gold Lake

Gold Lake is one of the most scenic lakes regions in California and is part of the Lakes Basin Recreation Area. It offers fishing, camping, and hiking. Snowmobiling is the main access in the winter months along with cross country skiing and snow shoeing.

Bowman LakeBowman Lake offers great camping, hiking, and fishing as well. Near here you can hike along Grouse Ridge Trail, one of the best hikes in the Sierra Nevada foothills. There’s also a great waterfall called Bowman Lake Falls which is about 80 feet high and cascades beautifully down large granite rock. Getting to Bowman is quite a long drive, so camping there is usually the way to go. Make your trip at least a couple days so you can experience all that Bowman Lake has to offer.

Donner Lake is one of the most magnificent lakes in the Sierra Nevada foothills and offers lots in the way of recreation. In July, there is a wonderful Independence Day fireworks display above the water. Donnar LakeAt Donner Memorial State Park there is camping, picnicking, boating, fishing, water-skiing, and hiking. In the winter there is cross country skiing and snow shoeing. Be sure to check out the Emigrant Trail Museum and the Pioneer Monument. The memorial sites were built to commemorate the determined members of the Donner Party and others who emigrated to California from the east in the mid-19th Century.

All three lakes are prime destinations for family recreation in both the summer and winter. Find out more about these high sierra lakes at .

©Ted McCaleb

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###articles###Yosemite National Park, CA – December 2007 – Several fashionable, environmentally sustainable gifts from The Ahwahnee, Yosemite National Park’s National Historic Landmark hotel, are being offered online this holiday season by global hospitality provider Delaware North Companies.Delaware North’s online store,, serves as an extension of the retail stores at many of its locations across the United States, including Yosemite National Park.awanee-hotel.jpg

Built in 1927, The Ahwahnee has long been a luxurious destination high in the Sierra Mountains providing guests with every urban comfort in an incredible natural setting. Located near California’s signature wine region, The Ahwahnee and its acclaimed dining room play host to a number of wine-related events throughout the year, including the acclaimed Vintners’ Holidays each November and December.

For wine enthusiasts, Delaware North is offering attractive wine stave serving trays ($72.95) and wine stave baskets (small: $72.95 and large: $200.00). They are carefully crafted from recycled white oak wine barrel components, many of which are embossed with The Ahwahnee’s signature logo.

Also available are the same luxurious olive oil soaps ($3.95 each) that The Ahwahnee provides its guests. Available in nine different scents, these all-natural, handcrafted soaps are enriched with jojoba, sweet almond, aloe vera and vitamin E oils to soothe and moisturize the skin. The soaps are biodegradable and produced without animal testing.

An ideal way to commemorate a visit to The Ahwahnee is with a piece of the hotel’s original slate roof, replaced several years ago as part of a rehabilitation project by Delaware North. The pieces have been carefully engraved with memorable Yosemite scenes and made into plaques. Four different scenes are available. Each plaque costs $35.95 and can be personalized with a family surname or caption of up to 12 characters.

From Delaware North’s Yosemite retail sites, an Earthpak Transcension bag made from 98 percent recycled materials is available. The fully padded bag is large enough to hold books or clothing and beautifully contoured with ‘‘Earthgrip’’ shoulder strap technology so that it stays in place.