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Stories from the valley

Fast and Tall in the Sierra

With summer plodding, warm and slow, Ann and I agreed it was time to get out for a hike and wet a fly line. Still hazy in the Valley and foothills, the weekend called for peaks, granite and clear blue skies. As usual, the Sierra delivered in abundance.

It has been my experience that everything is a bit taller and moves a little faster when you climb above the Valley. Certainly, this is true when you crest Carson Pass and drop into Hope Valley. The granite boulders are immense and the water runs quick, as you move from the Western Slope of the mountains to the dryer Eastern side.

Our destination lay just beyond Charity Valley, the third of the three meadows that once grazed the draft animals of the emigrant wagons, many of which had to be disassembled and hoisted over the pass. Here, we found our clear skies and fast-moving waters.

The last several years, we have made it our goal to get out multiple weekends each summer to hike, camp overnight and fly fish. We stay close to our home waters, places we know that we can drive in under two hours. Destinations that we can enjoy often and are wonderfully familiar.

Camp was under a HUGE tamarack pine, one of the largest I have seen. The stream, first slow out of the tall meadow grass, worked its way to the edge of a granite drop and plunged into a canyon that eventually fed the Mokelumne River many miles away.

Here, in this little slice of the Sierra, the trees matched the grandeur of the granite peaks. The water was fast and the trout bright against the denim skies. At just over 8000 feet, the weekend foray confirmed my belief that one above the Valley floor that the landscape grows tall and the water runs fast.

Get out, explore and find your own beliefs in this most abundant and rugged land that rims the Valley we call home.

Here is a great and informative blog on Hope Valley and its interesting history: