HAPPILY there’s much more of the “what’s here” than the “what’s not” but based on what we’ve heard anecdotally, there are some who think there’s more of “the not” and that’s just not the case. Sure, parts of Alpine Co., especially those hit hardest by the Tamarack Fire, are still grieving, but there’s NO WALLOWING here in the heart of the California Alps.
CERTAINLY, we lost many trees, that’s true. Many of them have been removed, mulched; or repositioned to mitigate erosion. Some of them still stand.
IT’S important to note though, that in terms of what’s visible from the highways, the damage is primarily isolated to areas of Hwy. 88, east of Hope Valley, and the section of Hwy. 4 between Woodfords and Monitor Junction. And as Mrs. CA Alps has so optimistically noted, in some places the views are indeed better.
Markleeville is still here! So is Bear Valley and so is Kirkwood. Blue Lakes Road was spared and Luther Pass took minimal damage (on the El Dorado Co. side). We are not a blackened county!
BUT, you can get some of that at the Cutthroat Brewing Company. Fish, that is. And beer, and the best burgers for miles. One of today’s specials (salivating) was stuffed poblanos, and I’m talking with elk sausage and jalapeno cheddar.
THERE’S pickleball, tennis, paddleboarding and more courtesy of Bear Valley Adventure Company.
OUR friends at Outwest Cafe have opened a weekend (all summer long) pop-up taco stand (Tres Amiga Locas) next to the Toll Station – which is again open on weekends (for beverages only) and soon will be for meals I’ve heard – so you can grind on some outrageous tacos and wash them down with some uber-cold cerveza. Ahhh.
WHAT about Kirkwood, you ask. Good to go there, too. Discwood is open and the stargazing has been amazing.
AND Wylder (formerly Sorensen’s) in Hope Valley? No worries. Still throwing some good hash out of the cafe and hosting live music regularly. Did I mention their cabins? They’re cool, keen, phat and plush.
WILDFLOWERS and grasses are beginning to carpet the forest floors that were once just ash; and the rivers, creeks and lakes are flowing and there’s some good fishing to be had. Catch ’em if you can! 🤓
Why Am I Telling You All of This?
WELL, last week several of my colleagues at the Alpine County Chamber of Commerce and I were theorizing (“commiserating” works, too) as to why the registration numbers for the Deathride – The Tour of the California Alps were lower than expected, especially compared to the usual count just under two months out from the big day.
PANDEMIC related “recurring-cancelations-of-events-fatigue” perhaps? Yeah, there’s some of that. Many of us can personally speak to that dynamic: postponing registration, or not registering at all, for events that we would have in the past, for fear of them being cancelled yet again.
CONCERN over riding in potentially smoke-filled air, with yet another fire season looming? Another valid reason. And you’re right, climate change has made it so there’s almost no fire season anymore.
‘TWAS you, oh adventurer that caused me to tell this tale.
YOU let it slip that you thought we were a burned-out shell of our former self so I thought I’d try and set the record straight.
There is still a great atmosphere here – day and night.
Ed. Note: Captured this sunbow yesterday afternoon.
Safety note: I used selfie mode; the sun was the subject and I cropped out the part of my forehead that tried to photobomb Ol’ Sol.
The Challenge, And The Plea
SO, register for the Deathride. Don’t waffle. Tick that bad boy off your list. You know you have it in you.
OUR community needs you now more than ever (the ride provides the majority of our operating expenses by far). We’ve earned the good karma (we all have, right?) and as I wrote last fall, and as we all know so well, THE THIRD TIME’S THE CHARM.
WE’RE not as big as Emporia and our ride doesn’t get quite as many riders as that big ol’ gravel race they just had, but we’re just as friendly and welcoming and we have a little something extra.
Blue skies like you don’t often see, riding on some of the most iconic routes in the country; and mountains. Lots and lots of mountains.
COME on up and Be Alpine with us. Drown some powerbait. Get your paddleboard groove going on one of our many alpine lakes. Do some birding.
LIKE the image at the top of this post suggests…PARK IT (the car) AND RIDE IT (le’ bike)!
AND do us one more favor…Two actually.
Join our Strava Club, and tell your friends
that Alpine County is still here and
that they need to beat feet.
Raccoon feet photo undisputed proof that it was a local
Rocky hitting the hummingbird feeder. Remedied that…
The feeder comes in at night, like we know it should. 😬