"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood... And sorry I could not travel both. I took the one less traveled by. And that has made all the difference." --Robert Frost

Saturday, November 10, 2018

Back to the Mountains and Wildfires and Elk

Placerville, CA
Elks Lodge

Time to head back to family for the holidays.  Leaving the desert ...

and passing through Lake Tahoe back into the mountains and pines!  The temps are plunging and the winds are crazy!
Placerville Elks Lodge
Since we needed to find a new home (thanks El Dorado County, NOT) since we cannot stay at my brothers anymore.  We are now Elks members.  Well we can't get inducted until Jan 15(!) so we will head out a couple of weeks later and YET AGAIN, I have to cross Joshua Tree/Anza Borrego off the list again.  The lodge and camping area are very nice and quiet and we are happy to be here and only pay $25 instead of $60+ that this area's few campgrounds charge.
Our only complaint is the fires that have kicked up, yet again making it unbearable to be outside.  It would be really selfish to complain though as there were entire towns wiped out.  The Camp Fire has destroyed the town of Paradise a couple hours north of us.

We are used to wildfires during the summer.  Just trees and brush.  But with a town burning down, there are so many pollutants like chemicals, insulation etc that really leave a very harsh, acrid smell.  You really don't want to breathe it and are advised to stay inside.  This lasted about 3 weeks until it finally rained. We also have a couple who fled the fire, losing everything that have arrived here and their story is so sad.

Jim & Jenny's dog with his favorite tire toy!
We hoped to stay at another friends property but the drive down was just too steep for our rig.  But thanks anyway for the offer Jim & Jenny!
And the crazy busy times begin right after arriving!  Dinner with our son, Brennan and his girlfriend Alex, and her parents and niece.  Great southern food restaurant!

Since the weather was holding out and we wanted to escape the smoke for a bit, we drove up into the Sierra to my favorite hike, Shealor Lake.  At over 7600' elevation, it's a good little workout for only 3+ miles.
So happy to be out of the smoke!

Shealor Lake.
All the Aspen have shed their leaves already and soon this hike will be impossible once the snow falls.

I love all the granite out here! You have to pay attention and look for the cairns that mark the trail.

One of the cairns that mark the way.
And back down to the smoke.  Yuck. It's really even worse than it looks.
I decided to try making one of those Apple pies made with cinnamon rolls for the crust that is all over facebook.  It came out fantastic! 
Spent time visiting with my parents and later I took our daughter, Kaylee, out wine tasting.  There are several wineries, breweries and distilleries up here.

Steve was busy at Men's Weekend.  He and some of his friends that have known each other for 40+ years get together each year at this time.  What a motley crew!
At Thanksgiving the whole family was here except my nieces.  Here is Diana (my soon-to-be-daughter-in-law, Kaylee and Alex.
I took a couple of engagement pictures for Ryan and Diana.

Our town put a Pasta Fundraiser together to help those in Paradise that literally burnt down to the ground.  We help each other out up here.  It easily could've been Placerville. 
Our friend and fellow Fulltimer, John, cooked his famous sauce.
It was a huge success and our little town raised $100K for Paradise!  Amazing how people come together for each other when in need.

Whew... November just flew by!



  1. We have stayed a couple of times at the County Fairground in Placerville, I believe we paid $35. Liked it much better than the KOA.

    1. Not sure when you stayed there but they put everyone at the top now. Has a lot to be desire. It's now in the $40s! They said they raised the price because they are remodeling. Well nothing happened last year. We now stay at the Elks. $25.

  2. Looks like a nice hike. Glad you could escape the smoke for a while. To bad about the county shutting down your stay at your brothers. Our son and fiancee have the same piggyback photo. Very cute. Looking forward to seeing you at Q soon. Planning on coming on the 18th if you'll already be there.

    1. It's a bummer not being right on my brothers property. We have so much fun together. Can't wait to see you guys in Q. We should arrive on the 17th.

  3. That is really awesome that Placerville raised that sum of money for Paradise, Debbie! That’s great stuff.

    1. I thought it was pretty impressive too! So much history erased when these little western gold country towns go up in flames. It could easily have been Placerville.

  4. Bummer about no longer being able to stay at your brothers place. Cute photos of the kids. Looks like a great hike for a get away from the smoke. Communities helping communities, sounds like a great turnout.

    1. It was a very nice December. We've had a great time and enjoyed a lot of time with my parents too.

  5. Good to see you escaped the smoke for a bit and got out on a hike. Glad that you were able to get together with family for Thanksgiving!

    1. I was SO happy to be back up in the Sierra's for some hiking. Wish we could've gone more, but happy to make it before the snow came.


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