Hike of the Month: Marlette Lake
With summer temps peaking, Carson Valley folk are heading for the hills — the Sierra, that is! One of our favorite destinations is Marlette Lake, a 9.5 mile round trip hike from Spooner Lake. Since this trail is very popular with mountain bikers (it connects to the famous Flume Trail), there are now separate trails for bikes and hikers/equestrians. Both are spectacular, winding through aspen groves and lush meadows with wildflowers and ferns. (Yes, I said “ferns”!) Weekends can be busy (what we call a “social skills hike”), but since we were there on a low-traffic weekday, we chose to go out on the hiking trail and return on the bike trail, and were not disappointed! Both trails are very well-marked and sport interpretive signs explaining the history and ecology of the area, including pictures depicting the creation of the epic Flume Trail (very interesting). There are several historic cabins, some still functioning as warming huts, and a luscious little backcountry campground equipped with bear boxes and picnic tables, nestled into a sweet little aspen grove (North Canyon Campground). We met two binocular-laden birders who happily reported sightings of grouse, osprey, woodpeckers, bluebirds, and robins.
Variations: this hike can be shortened by approaching it from the Chimney Beach trail (steeper), or lengthened by jumping onto the Tahoe Rim Trail (see Tahoe Meadows to Spooner Summit TRT map). It is also a delightful experience, especially with kids, to simply amble around the Spooner Lake loop trail (2.1 miles).
Carson Valley Activities
It’s hard to believe, but summer is coming to an end, and the best way to squeeze the last drops out of it is to attend every outdoor event possible! After all, you only live once (I think)!
The best event calendar for the Valley is found on the Carson Valley Visitors Authority website, but I’ll highlight some of our faves here …
The Minden Concerts in the Park series continues with Catch a Wave (Beach Boys tribute) on August 5, and concludes with Foreigner Unauthorized on August 26. All concerts are free, start at 6:30, and are wildly popular (read: “get there early”!). And if you missed last month’s concert by Reno’s funk/rock sensation Jellybread, you should really check them out!
Dangberg Ranch continues to crank out some interesting offerings, including Flamenco guitarist Milton Merlos (August 4), Hick’ry Switch (August 14), and Ten Dollar Pony (August 28). All concerts are only $5 (free to kids under 16), and you can bring a picnic.
Tired of the Wine Walk? Try Genoa’s Sweet Sippin Sundays, August 7 and every first Sunday from 1-4. This month’s theme is “tequila based drinks,” with music by the Trippin’ King Snakes. And your $12 donation goes to support the Carson Valley Trails Association, which is responsible for many of our awesome trails!
Of course you still go to the Thirsty Third Thursday Wine Walk in Gardnerville on August 18. This month’s costume theme is “famous pairs.”
The last of the Movies in the Park series at Heritage Park will air on August 12 with Big Hero 6 showing on the big outdoor screen. This event is free and good family fun.
Thankfully, the Genoa Park Concerts on the Green series runs two more months, and features the Quake City Jug Band on August 14 from 5-7.
Finally, for those with a proclivity for canines, Splash Dogs will be at Heritage Park from August 19-21 to bid adieu to summer.
Jacobs Family Berry Farm
For a delicious taste of Carson Valley History, visit Jacobs Family Berry Farm in Gardnerville. They produce over 10 different varieties of berries, honey, jams and syrups, all without the use of pesticides or herbicides. While there, take a tour of the heart of the old Lampe Ranch, which once produced butter and cream for shipment to Virginia City and Bodie, along with hogs, chickens and grains.
Last week I had the opportunity to meet Jack Jacobs, current owner (along with his wife Diana). In the 1990’s, they lived in Oakland, CA, where Jack was a civil engineer for East Bay M.U.D. (the water department). Diana’s aging parents lived in Big Pine, CA, and drove almost 3 hours to the Carson Valley for their doctor appointments, groceries and supplies, so Jack and Diana decided to look into buying a place for them in Gardnerville. Their criteria?
Something small and easy to maintain (2 bedrooms or less), and nothing old. What did they find? The remaining
5 acres of the old Lampe Ranch, complete with a house, barn, dairy, bunkhouse, and several other outbuildings! The parents have since passed away, but Jack and Diana have retired from their other jobs and now devote their energies to restoring the property, educating the public on Lampe Family history, hosting events, collecting and selling antiques, and GROWING BERRIES! Jack has thrown himself with obvious fervor into the science of berry production. See their website for loads of information on growing berries, including a video featuring Elvis. He showed me computerized production graphs and solar-powered soil monitoring equipment which transmits data to UNR. He also demonstrated various methods of pruning and training the canes to maximize production, minimize bugs, and improve picking efficiency (once a scientist, always a scientist…). The results are certifiably delicious!
— Amy Meeks