Tag Archives: California

Secret Cove

LAKE TAHOE

Activity: Day Hike, Sun Bathing, Swimming

Date: 6-26-20

Lake Tahoe is an incredibly beautiful place. I have skied many of the great Ski Resorts including a trip that my family, and one of my best friends, got snowed in during my college years and were trapped having to add even more days of skiing powder- poor things right? There was so much snow that we could ski right off the hill, down the streets to the Casino that we were staying at.

I raced a Hobie 14 National Championship, (small fast catamaran sailboats), on the waters of Lake Tahoe also during my college days. Then later I raced in US Sailing’s ‘Alter Cup’, a Championship of Champions as well as the Hobie 20 Miracle National Championship on the always beautiful, but sometimes tricky and fickle waters, of this gorgeous place.

Now fast forward to this particular outing. After a Summer Excursion along the West Coast I decided to include Lake Tahoe before heading back to SoCal.

After a fun hike at Picnic Rock just off Tahoe Rim Trail I decided a dip in the Lake would be great! I heard that parking for Secret Cove, certainly one of the most beautiful spots on the lake, is difficult. You can either try to get into a pay lot which is actually for another area and then hike over to this spot or park on the road above Secret Cove. I was there fairly early, so there were some spots left, but not many. You have to be careful about how and where you park or you risk being ticketed. As far as the trail goes it doesn’t seem like there is any main trail, but basically a free for all. I suppose all trails lead to Secret Cove? It is short, but steep hike so bring boots or at least sturdy shoes.

This spot is magnificent- the blues and greens of the clear water is breathtaking. The shore line has a couple small sandy areas, but mostly it is lined with boulders. The boulders are great for stretching out on and basking in the sun. The water in the Summer is a brisk 65 degrees, so to say it is refreshing is an understatement. Did I fail to mention that the beach is clothing optional? I suppose that is why it is a secret.

Thanks for joining me ‘Pursing Balance Through Adventure’ at one of the truly spectacular bodies of water, Lake Tahoe, for a dip in the lake. What an absolutely gorgeous setting evergreens, blue green water of the cove, deep blue water beyond all framed by wonderful mountains. Stick around for more adventures using the following means: LIKE, SHARE, FOLLOW, and COMMENT. I can hardly wait for another NoCal Adventure. In the mean time checkout the menu for other areas that PBTA ventures to. PBTA top quality gear can be found here: SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Tahoe Rim Trail to Picnic Rock

LAKE TAHOE

Activity: Day Hike, View Point

Distance 3 miles, elevation change 750’, >2 hours, rated Moderate

Date: June 26, 2020

It was a spur of the moment decision to head for Lake Tahoe as part of my Summer Expedition of the West. It certainly was on my radar, but everything was pretty much up in the air with the Covid-19 Pandemic. It wasn’t clear what trails were open, what type of permits were needed or how difficult they might be to ascertain at the last minute. I had just spent a few weeks in the Pacific North West and was working my way back to SoCal. I left the Mount Shasta area and researched a spot that I knew would be open to hiking. It sounded intriguing being labeled as the best bang for the buck basically. Tahoe Rim Trail to Picnic Rock Viewpoint is a quick and easy hike with spectacular views of Lake Tahoe.

During my drive my phone went off with an Emergency Alert regarding Severe Weather. The sky and the clouds looked peculiar, and the wind began to howl. A lot of dust and dirt was being thrown about, but there was no zero visibility dust storm that I was alerted to, at least right where I was.

It was after dusk, and there was lightning off in the distance when I arrived at the trailhead. When I read that a bear had been spotted at this location along with the possibility of a severe storm I decided why not sleep in the car? The answer to that question came soon enough, well came hour after hour of aggravation.

Trying to sleep in an Audi is an absolutely miserable experience. It would have been better to brave inclement weather, and claws and fangs then suffering through a night of torture scrunched up against an uncomfortable arm rest in the side, face plastered against the window, and rises in the back bench seat in all the wrong spots. At least fearing for one’s life with nothing to protect you other than a few yards of cloth would provide a better chance for slumber, even if it might be more of the permanent type. So, needless to say I got an earlier start to my hike the following morning.

It was a delightful hike up through the fragrant fir trees winding along a portion of the Tahoe Rim Trail. A bit of a scramble at the top, just after exiting on to the Spur Trail provided outstanding views of Lake Tahoe. 

I shared my breakfast on Picnic Rock with a black lizard, chipmunk type squirrel, Blue Jay, and heard a Blue Grouse sounding his mating call while taking in the deep blue Lake Tahoe framed by the Sierra Nevada.

I might inform you that upon my return to the trailhead at about 8:30 AM there were only a few spots left in this limited parking area, so plan accordingly. But a nice little hike indeed.

I was only at Lake Tahoe a short portion of my Summer Expedition of the West, but how I long to return. Shall we return together? You can you know with the following actions: LIKE, FOLLOW, COMMENT and SHARE. Look to the menu above for locations in the West providing inspiration to untangle- freeing yourself of the burdens of responsibility, taste nature’s breath, feel the warmth of sunshine, experience expansive vistas, stretch your legs, open your mind and shut down the noise of civilization- if only for awhile. It’s called ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. You can get the soon to be your favorite adventure wear at SHOP APPAREL, which of course helps to support the endeavor of sharing this message.

Happy Trails-

Roger Jenkins

Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Boucher trail

Near San Simeon, California

Activity: Day Hike, Scenic View, Wildlife Viewing

Date: 9-5-19

4 miles, 82’ elevation change, enjoyment time 2 hours, rated Easy

If you are driving from Northern California to Southern California I would say this is a must do. This is a beautiful spot, and there is a cool lighthouse, and lighthouses are alway good, but the reason this is a must do is this is one of the best spots for wildlife viewing of the Northern Elephant Seal. Piedras Blancas State Marine Reserve and Marine Conservation Area is operated by the California Department of Fish and Game. They have done a great job of setting up an viewing area with a parking lot and extended wooden decking along with informational signage. There are volunteers, Friends of the Elephant Seal, clad in recognizable blue logo jackets that are on hand to answer questions regarding these wonderful creatures. The Piedras Blancas Elephant Seal Rookery is located 7 miles north of San Simeon on Cabrillo Highway 1, and about the same amount of mileage south of Ragged Point, the Gate Way to Big Sur. Big Sur is where I had spent the couple nights before backpacking.

This is one of the most robust rookeries of the Northern Elephant Seal in the world. The male Northern Elephant Seal can weigh up to as much as 5000 lbs and received his name from the rather pronounced schozolla, for lack of a more scientific term. You will see one large male making his way up the beach towards my camera in a video clip I nicknamed Darth Vader.

My hot ticket suggestion is this, certainly dive into all of this tourism excitement and have fun, but if you are interested in stretching your legs, experiencing this wonderful seaside locale a little more in depth, catching a closer view of the Piedras Blancas Lighthouse, seeing some elephant seals without standing shoulder to shoulder in a crowd with camera shutters going off in your ear, and would like to get down on the beach, then take the Boucher Trail hike.

Boucher Trail hike winds along the sea shore and has some additional uncrowded view points to catch the elephant seals doing their thing, horsing around with their friends on the beach and in the shallow water. More of the sun bathing goes on at the tourist spot. The shoreline then protrudes out to a rocky point which is Piedras Blanca and that is where the lighthouse is. Boucher Trail continues on straight and not toward the lighthouse, which is operated by the Bureau of Land Management and tours are available on selected days and times. Reservations need to be made in advance for lighthouse tours. The trail travels through a grassy area and ends up at another smaller parking lot roughly 2 miles from where you began. This is where you will find access to a broad beach. Being enchanted by the lighthouse, I headed along the beach to get a better view. It is possible that I may have went further along the beach than I was allowed to go, but what can I say I wanted to see the lighthouse.

The Piedras Blancas Lighthouse was built in 1875 and the tower was 100’ tall before an earthquake damaged part of it. With it’s special lens, the light could be seen by ships 25 miles out to sea. It is one of the oldest working lighthouses in California.

The sea, the elephant seals, the lighthouse, you just gotta’ luv’ this wonderful little hike, Boucher Trail.

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Darth Vader might not rule the Galaxy, but he certainly rules the Elephant Seal Rookery as he charges up the beach at my camera.
You will only see this type of Tom Foolery from the Boucher Trail.
Piedras Blancas Lighthouse
A different sort of sunbather at the Elephant Seal Viewing Area.
“I could never stay long enough on the shore; the tang of the untainted, fresh, and free sea air was like a cool, quieting thought.” – Helen Keller

’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ along the Northern California/Central Coast is a special treat and I thank you for joining me. For more adventures checkout the menu above for a host of different locales around the West. Stay Balanced by leaving a COMMENT, LIKE, SHARE, and please FOLLOW. Please note each location is a separate website and thus needs to be FOLLOWED individually. If you so desire you can support PBTA and yourself by purchasing top quality adventure, workout, casual wear at SHOP APPAREL.

Happy Days, Happy Trails

Roger Jenkins, ’Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’

Kirk creek campground to Vicente flats trail

BIG SUR

VENTANA WILDERNESS

Activity: Backpacking

Date: 9/3-5/19

11 miles, 2600’ elevation change, approximately 6 hours of hiking time, rated Hard

I arrived at Big Sur after leaving Monterey in the evening. If I had it to do over I would have skipped Monterey, because I had been there before and by trying to jam that in as well I feel I missed out on a large part of the Big Sur experience. By the time I hit Big Sur it was dark and one of the most wonderful things in that area is the drive right along the coast and the incredible views. Besides that I had no Ranger to talk to once I arrived in Big Sur to gain expertise from. All I could do is read the boards at the campgrounds, and outside the visitor center.

Once I decided on ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’ on the Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flats Trail it was pretty late, so I slept in my little car, never a pleasant experience. But I noticed at the lookout I pulled into I was not the only one with that same idea as there was a truck doing the same thing.

At first light I was up and adam excited to begin my journey, and the coastal views from the lookout were spectacular, along with the taste and smell of the salt air, and the sound of the waves far below.

The trailhead is across the road from the Kirk Creek Campground, which is pretty close to being on the beach. There are a limited amount of head in parking spaces for the hike so that could be pretty tricky. The other reason to get there early is most of the hike is exposed with plenty of sunshine, so it can get hot hauling a big pack up the hill. There are some majestic oaks, and even a stand of red woods for a periodic reprieve from the sun.

The hike has the most excellent coastal views, as you wind your way up the trail. Put on your repellent because it is one of the buggiest place I have been. Thank goodness they don’t bite, but the little black flies are most annoying. I suggest a head net. I certainly put mine to good use. The trail is long, narrow and winding. Careful of your footing as there are big drop offs in places, and keep an eye out for poison oak, I suggest long pants.

I set up camp at the first small camp Espinosa, which is one of two areas designated for backpacking on this trail. I was there midweek, just after Labor Day, so I really didn’t see that many people, which generally isn’t the case. There is a water source on the trail just beyond the camping area. I went on to the end of the hike which was Vicente Flats, the other larger campground. That was a pretty cool place with big trees, but no ocean view for that one, and even more bugs, ugh!

Speaking of bugs a couple college freshman went by my camp during the day and were planning on camping at Vicente Flats, but changed their minds with the bugs. After I was out enjoying the wonderful views of the Pacific I returned to my camp to find the boys starting to set up their tent near mine at Espinosa and complaining that they heard nothing about the bugs in what they had read, so I gave them my website info so they could be better informed in the future. They finally couldn’t deal with the bugs, packed up and zoomed down the trail trying to beat the sun before it set.

The next day I headed back down the hill from my journey. There was marine layer, fog down below which gave an interesting mystic feel to Big Sur. It really is a beautiful place. The bugs were irritating, but with the head net I could manage, and other than that it was a fantastic time.

Daybreak at Big Sur
Twilight at Espinosa Camp
Heavy Marine Layer early the next morning over Big Sur before the fog burned off later in the day.
“Nature is one of the most underutilized treasures in life. It has the power to unburden hearts and to reconnect to that inner place of peace.” – Janice Anderson
Little black flies were a real nuisance thus the head net.

Kirk Creek Campground to Vicente Flats Trail is a fine place to be ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Stay with me for other adventure, on this journey to find this inner peace, I refer to here as Balance. Balance between Civilization and Nature, Balance between our very busy existence in a world always in a hurry, and the tranquility of soul. More to come, some epic, some just exercise in nature. Please COMMENT, FOLLOW, LIKE, and SHARE. Check the menu above for other locations and I would appreciate it if you would support PBTA by outfitting yourself with top quality adventure, workout, casual ware check it out at SHOP APPAREL.

Horse Camp

MOUNT SHASTA WILDERNESS

SHASTA-TRINITY NATIONAL FOREST

Activity: Day Hike, Backpack Camping Available

Date: 9/1-3/2019

Distance 3.5 miles, 1000’ elevation change, duration 3 hours, rated Moderate

I arrived in the town of Shasta the evening of September 1st. The quaint kick back town was bustling as they had some sort of celebration just ending. After I got the information and permit that I need for my three days of exploration, from the Ranger Station, I headed for Bunny Flat an area that I could pitch my tent for the night before heading up the mountain. Since it was Labor Day Weekend that spot was pretty busy. It is not a campground per se rather a space they allow folks to camp, and there is a trailhead outhouse, which would prove a luxury compared to the rest of my adventure on the mountain.

Early the next morning the mountain looks glorious; It would be a perfect Summer day. The hike to Horse Camp is most delightful, starting at the Bunny Flat Trailhead. On the way to Horse Camp your journey begins with stunning views of the looming Mount Shasta. At the end of Summer it is mostly tan in color, barren of 3/4’s of it’s snow. You will make your way through green meadows and picture perfect woods of Mountain Hemlock and Shasta Red Fir. It is really your quintessential walk in the woods, very fitting as Horse Camp is private land managed by the Sierra Club Foundation for the public’s benefit. Famed Naturalist and Explorer John Muir frequented the camp before climbing to the Summit.

On the way to Horse Camp I enjoyed the company of a herd of deer. However, they did not fancy my company all that much and were off in a bound. It was amazing how quick and effortlessly they could make tracks through wooded brush and at a steep incline to boot.

All at once you come to a clearing and there before you is the historic Shasta Alpine Lodge built in 1922. Don’t get to excited by it’s name for it’s actually a hut or a cabin. But it is exactly what you would hope to see in such an alpine setting. I almost expected to see Heidi with her Grandfather chopping wood.

As I approached the natural stone cabin I was greeted by a friendly volunteer caretaker. They are there in the Spring and Summer to answer questions. During inclement weather this shack can act as an emergency shelter. It is a fun place to checkout. There is also a wonderful natural spring around back with deliciously cool water. There are some beautiful campsites at Horse Camp available at a small fee through the Foundation.

As I said, the hike to Horse Camp on Mount Shasta is the quintessential walk in the woods and should not be missed. Now, if you are going to go on from there… well now, that is another adventure all together.

“These mountains are our holy land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not hiked through them.”  – John Muir

Thanks for joining me in this first adventure post for NoCal Hiking while I find myself ‘Pursuing Balance Through Adventure’. Mount Shasta is a place of great mystical energy and is revered even today by many Native American Tribes, and they are not the only ones that love this stunningly beautiful mountain. There is more to come on Mount Shasta and more to come for NoCal Hiking Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. If you go to the menu you will see there are many sites and different areas to explore. If you like what you see then please COMMENT, FOLLOW, SHARE, and LIKE.

Happy Trails,

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure

Welcome to nocal hiking

Northern California has so much to offer, from rugged coastline, to redwood forests, to awe inspiring mountains. It is a place to fill the lungs with fresh air, stretch the legs, take flight with imagination, share togetherness and memories, or find solitude in the quiet of wilderness. Fill our souls. Finding balance to our stressful, plugged in, overworked lives through a taste of adventure. It is the journey not necessarily the destination, or said another way what is important is “Pursuing Balance Through Adventure”.

Once again Welcome to NoCal Hiking Pursuing Balance Through Adventure. I am your host Roger Jenkins, let’s find some adventure shall we? 

If you appreciate what I am trying to inspire and instill in each of us than please LIKE (so highly prized), COMMENT (otherwise I will not even know that you were here), FOLLOW (how else can we share this experience), and SHARE (let’s get the word out, put down your phone and lace up your hiking boots).

Roger Jenkins, Pursuing Balance Through Adventure