Storm Valley Ranch
Why do we head back to Northern California where it's cold rather than stay south where it's warmer? Kids, family and friends of course. When we go "back home" we stay at my brothers ranch. We have a fantastic view out our windows on the edge of the pasture where we see deer, coyotes, turkeys and of course the cows and horses.
|photobombed by our new friends.|
Dinner at our favorite Mexican place, Casa Ramos, with Doug and Deanna. We've known them since our kids were small and grew up in 4-H. There were some very nice people at the table next to ours. We shared drinks and stories. I forget there names but one is currently living in North Dakota and invited us to come up and stay at their large ranch any time we are in the area. We plan on taking them up on the offer!
|Gotta love a good fire if it's not too cold outside!|
These are just a few pictures of things we enjoy when we're back.
|Our niece, Courtney, brought her telescope outside and we got some great views of the moon.|
I was in Heaven when the nice weather held out long enough for me to head back into the mountains to hike my favorite trail to Shealor Lake. I was so happy when Steve suggested we go Friday as he was off of work. We also invited some friends to go.
|This time Doug and Deanna came up with us.|
The granite, pines, lakes and endless views are so awesome up here. When I come up alone I just hike around all day. It's my favorite place in the Sierra Nevada to be.
Deanna on top of the "special boulder". There is almost no cell service up here. Yet, when I was hiking alone here one time and standing on top of this boulder (a high spot in the area) I received a text from them letting me know their wonderful grandmother had just passed and to go somewhere special and think of a wonderful memory of her. Well I got goosebumps and started to cry as there really isn't anywhere much more special than right here, on top of this boulder. How strange that I received that text while on that boulder at that moment. I was happy to take them here to see it.
Doug had wanted to find out more about geocaching so we found some great hides up here. There was even a nice Jeep "trackable" in one of them. I think they're hooked now.
We all enjoyed the great weather and a nice lunch at the Old Kirkwood Inn nearby. This beautiful rustic log cabin was built in 1864 by Zachary Kirkwood. The inside with its old fireplace is full of old charm ambiance. The food and drinks are the best!
We finally were able to meet our son, Brennan's, girlfriend Alex. They have been dating a year now. She is a real sweetheart and we were happy to finally meet her and her family.
|Us with Amy & Michael.|
Another weekend trip took us into San Jose where I grew up and the boys were born. We visited our oldest, Ryan, and friends Michael and Amy. Their 3 boys and our 3 boys were pretty much born about the same time and they are all very close still. I didn't get a picture of Ryan because he hates to have his picture taken. Brat.
|Interesting yard art at a neighbors while out taking a walk. It's very large and in the front yard.|
The weather was still nice so a trip "up the hill" about 3 miles brought us to Apple Hill where we spent some time with our daughter, Kaylee. Apple Hill is an area covered by several small, You-Pick fruit/veggie/pumpkin/Christmas tree farms. Apples and apple products are big here at this time.
The famous Apple Fritter
|mother and daughter|
We also stopped at the Fudge Factory to pop in and see our niece, Courtney, who helps out on the weekends at this busy time of year. Of course we had to get some yummy fudge too!
|an old farm tractor|
Steve was gone off on a Men's Weekend with some of his buddies. Hmm, what to do with that leftover apple fritter just sitting on the counter? Warm it up, slice it open and top with some bacon and an egg over easy of course. It tasted much better than is should have! It was a great way to fill up for the long drive to visit my sister on a 3 hour away.
Not the best picture (Sis in the middle) but we had fun even though it rained the entire time.
As soon as Steve returned we were off to see a Kings Basketball game with Doug and Deanna. The sunset was incredible as we drove "down the hill".
What great seats and a fun night at the game. Thanks for bringing us!
This was a fun find. A moustache cache! Hurley would not wear his though.
It was very sad to see how much damage the bark beetles are doing to this area. It was never really noticeable before around the lake. Sure did change a lot since last year.
I love this huge mossy oak tree. You can't tell how big it is, but it's over 3 feet across.
Another spot I love is what I call the Big Cove. It's in the thicker part of the woods along the water and has a footbridge. It's very shady, dark and mysterious. The Raven's love to hang out here.
During the damp fall months the trail is surrounded by newly fallen leaves, mushrooms, ferns and moss. Sometimes salamanders will slither about. I always get melancholy this time of year and I love to hike here and just think about everything that's happened over the past year. Good and bad. It's always a good way for me to clear my mind and get ready for the upcoming year.
At the back of the lake on another off-shoot of the trail is the waterfall. There is a cache hidden above it somewhere. It was a challenging cache and I really wanted to get it. Trouble is it had been raining and the area above the falls is steep and muddy. There is no trail to find this cache. You have to bushwhack to find it.
|View from above the falls.|
Well after almost giving up, I was very happy to find it. The sun was going down and I had about an hours hike out at a fast pace to get back to the truck before dark. Plus I was hungry!
Sun on its way down.
No time to chase the squirrels Hurley, we are in a hurry!
We sure love our view out the back window of the rig.
|Our curious visitors.|
|Brennan, Shane & Ryan|
A few pictures of Thanksgiving. The boys above, my daughter, Mom and niece below.
Me, my brother, sister and Mom.
Dad & Mom
Our favorite bike trail.
Another fun trail to hike and geocache on with Tina at Folsom Lake.
Whew. It was a very busy November with all our yearly appointments, visits and Thanksgiving. Maybe December will be slower? I doubt it!
P.S. "up the hill" and "down the hill" are terms used in this area to describe driving up/down Hwy 50 which connects Sacramento at 30 feet in elevation, to Lake Tahoe which sits about 6200ft. Now ya know!