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I love maps. I can sit there and scan around on Google Earth for hours just marveling at how vast the Sierra Nevada mountain range is. So many lakes, rivers, trails, and peaks. After a while of digitally exploring the area it comes time to throw on my hiking boots, pack a day bag, and head off into the wild. But where to first? The sheer size of this area can leave one dizzy from the number of natural wonders to visit.

For me, I wanted to make it a point this summer to hike a new peak and/or lake every week. With a toddler and newborn at home, personal time comes at a premium. Nonetheless, I took every chance I came across and visited some of the most beautiful areas that the region has to offer. I was finally able to get up to the Martis Peak fire watch station. From here you can see all the major peaks in the Tahoe area.

I’m a big water person; you put me near a lake or river and I’m in my happy place. One lake that I was able to cross of the list this year was Sardine Lake. I’m always taken back by how clean and clear the water is up here. Sardine Lake has all these qualities and is set against a backdrop of bare granite peaks.

Although we’re gearing up for a fun filled winter, I’m also looking forward to next Summer, since my 3 year old daughter Hazel will be able to take on some longer, more complex hikes. When I take her out on hikes I can’t help but watch her and wonder if she’ll grow up to appreciate where she lives. I hope to instill in my daughters a love and respect for nature. Only time will tell but I’m in no hurry to see them grow up. For now, I’m perfectly content watching Hazel throw rocks into the Truckee river and just being grateful for these precious moments in time.

My daughter Hazel and bulldog, Gwen.

Hazel and Gwen from Tahoe Mountain Realty on Vimeo.