Plan Your Perfect Trip to Apple Hill

Last week was my first time going to Apple Hill! And if you were like me before I had gone, you’re envisioning one big hillside with apple trees and a pumpkin patch and vendors selling apple pies and caramel apples and apple donuts and all things APPLE. 

Close, but not quite…

Apple Hill actually has several farms each with their own signature attractions (and apples of course). When you put Apple Hill in Google Maps, a single location will pop up and it will direct you precisely to one of the farms, Boa Vista. 

So this is where Colin and I started which I think is a great place for anyone to start. There was a giant open market with so many fresh fruits and vegetables along with other typical farmers market goodies like jams, honey, bread, etc. 

We walked through, scoping out all the treats and then crossed the street to the pumpkin patch. This wasn’t the biggest pumpkin patch I had ever seen but it was very cute. We instantly found perfect pumpkins for carving and they were reasonably priced! 

Starting to feel like fall!

Then we got a few drinks… I got a hard apple cider and Colin got an apple beer. Let me tell you, this was the BEST hard cider I have ever had! It was so crisp and refreshing! There were also other flavors like pomegranate which I will have to try next time. 

After enjoying our drinks, we walked around the market area and grabbed a couple jams, fresh garlic sourdough bread, and a jar of spicy garlic pickles (we like garlic okayyy). They also had apple pies you could take home! And a bakery to get fresh apple donuts and other treats but the line was a little long so we just decided to head somewhere else to grab lunch. 

The next place we went to was Jack Russel Farm. I highly recommend this place if you are over the age of 21! This farm had a tap room (perfect for Colin) and a wine and mead CAVE (perfect for me) and they had a little food truck with a delicious pork sandwich! The tap room is very nice, you could get a flight to sample different beers if you like! There was a lot to choose from. 

Jack Russel Farm Brewery

I thought the cave was so cool! I went with a red blend because I wanted to feel fancy. (Also, I binge watched Emily in Paris that day before so this influenced my decision a little)

Desiree in … a Cave

The scenery here was beautiful and plenty of open seating. We enjoyed our drinks and our lunch. If you go here, you have to get the pork sandwich. I was expecting a bbq sandwich but this was a wonderful surprise. 

After here we went to High Hill Farm. This was a great way to end our day. This was the biggest of the farms. There were plenty of vendors to check out, another market area, and a fishing pond! 

Colin and I grabbed a few famous Cider Shakes! Soo good!!! The shakes also come with a donut. I chose the cinnamon sugar and Colin got the glaze and then we argued for five minutes over who had the better donut. So we need you guys to decide, please try both AND the shake of course and get back to me.

THE CINNAMON SUGAR vs GLAZE SHOWDOWN!!!

Just look at this picture, I know you want one.

We sat at a bench near the pond and watched the kids fish. It was really fun and a perfect way to end the day before driving home. 

I hope you check out these parts of Apple Hill and also do your own exploring because there really are so many places to see here! Thanks for reading and let me know if you plan on making a trip! Hope you all have an amazing week.

Happy Fall!!

Another Fishy Lake, A Not so Long Lake, and An Unexpected Waterfall

Lakes Basin Campground is an awesome campground in a great location. 

We stayed at site 15 and to my surprise, it was right next to a trailhead! Unfortunately I was planning on finding hikes in the area once we got to our destination only to find I had no service… So I had no idea what the trail was called, how long it was, nothing. There was a geographical map at the start but I am not good at reading maps…

But we still explored! After some research, I found that the hike is called Long Lake Trail Loop! This was an awesome hike. It was hard to believe it was right behind our campsite. You pass several lakes and come across various terrain. There is so much to see, the greenery is beautiful, wild flowers, even a waterfall! (this was nice since Frazier Falls was non existent when we made the hike to see it) 

Since there were so many lakes, I thought we had made it to the Long Lake… Only to find out we still had a ways to go (after spending 30 minutes to find a trail that looped back) Once we got to the real Long Lake, it was comical how I thought the previous pond was the showstopper. 

This lake is BIG! Way up in the mountains, neither one of us was expecting it. We weren’t even able to see across the lake due to the smoke. The way back down was a lot easier, you do have the option to hike on the opposite side of the lake from where you come up or you can follow the side you are on. We stayed on the closer side since we had wasted a good half hour and had no food…

Overall, this is a super cool and unique hike. I will definitely be doing it again next summer and now I will know the direction to take 🙂

Later that same day, we decided to check out Salmon Lake. It is less than ten minutes from the campground and it was by far my favorite! There were more people at this one. People were swimming, paddle boarding, fishing, it was nice to see so many people out enjoying the outdoors. 

We kayaked around the lake and then tied our kayaks up to this dock in the middle of the lake and hung out there. We shared it with this really nice family and their puppy. We jumped off, swam, and just had fun. There is also a little island in the middle, I saw a couple people jumping off the rocks there too. 

This day was so much fun and it’s partially because it was all so unexpected. That hike was nothing I had envisioned in my mind and we almost didn’t even go to Salmon Lake. So many surprises! It was a great last before having to pack up and go home. 

I recommend everyone check out this area! There is so much to see and explore and do! 

I made this short vlog with a few clips from the camping trip! Let me know what you think. 

The End of Summer

Colin and I had planned on going to San Diego this year (cancelled twice). Evidently that just wasn’t in the cards for us so we planned a last minute camping trip before I had to go back to school (I’m already stressed).

I knew it was important to stay close to home so after doing some research, I found some open campsites in the Tahoe National Forest. We reserved two campsites, one at Sardine Lake for one night and one at Lakes Basin for two. This post will be about our time at Sardine Lake.

I want to give a huge shout out to my Aunt Sharon for letting us borrow her kayaks. The trip would have been fun regardless but the kayaks allowed us to explore this area in a different way. 

We got to Sardine Lake campground around noon on Thursday. We set up our campsite and drove just a little less than a mile up the road to the Lower Sardine Lake. We unloaded the kayaks and got on the water. 

The lake is beautiful. It was so calm and peaceful with a amazing views of mountains all around. It is a great lake for fishing. We saw a bald eagle while kayaking which was super cool because that was my first time ever seeing one in person! We also got a glimpse of the waterfall.

First time out on Lower Sardine Lake

Once we made a lap around the lake, we headed back to our campsite and went on a hike to the upper lake. From the campsite it is about a mile and half trek. You walk along the ridge with a view of the lower lake. The trail itself is very rocky but a gradual incline. Near the top, you come across a little creek and the beginning of  the waterfall. 

Quick stop to enjoy the creek before reaching the Upper Lake

Once you reach the Upper Lake, it is just as remarkable with an even better view of the mountain range on the other side. You can further hike up the rocks where you have the lower lake to your left and the upper lake to your right. We hiked to the highest point, just the two of us up there. 

Highest Point with View of Lower Sardine Lake

That night we had dinner and of course s’mores, played cards, and went to sleep pretty early. The next morning we woke up and decided to do the same hike as the day before but catch the sun rise. I’m so glad we woke up in time. It was breathtaking. And again, we were the only ones up there. I love how we now have that memory together. We explored a little more up there. When we got back, we had breakfast, I journaled (I’ll include a little excerpt here), packed up our campsite, kayaked the lake one last time, and then headed over to our next campsite. 

Thursday August 20, 2020 8:43am I am currently at Sardine Lake Campground, and surprising to the name, this place is beautiful. We decided to do the hike again to catch the sunrise. We were hustlin, we got there so quickly and the sunrise was INCREDIBLE! MAGNIFICENT! Watching the sunrise with my love. These are the moments that mean the most to me. Can’t put them into words. 

beautiful smoky sunrise

Sardine Lake is only an hour and a half away. It is a great new place to explore that isn’t far at all. It’s important to note swimming is not a primary activity at these lakes since it is a pristine fishing lake and there really aren’t any beaches. But other lakes around would be great for swimming. It could easily be just a day trip. And is not crowded especially compared to Tahoe. Another thing I want to add is that there is no service once you get to the lake. It is a perfect place to unplug. This is exactly what I needed and I think it made the trip more fun.

Stayed tuned for my next post on getting Colin and I lost :)! hehe

thanks for being my adventure buddy .

The Mountains are Calling

This summer is flying by which is surprising under these unusual circumstances. I think I’ve been able to keep my sanity by making time to get outside and go on adventures. Every day spent in the mountains is a good day.

When I make a drive up to Tahoe, I want it to be a whole day thing. Chimney beach is one of my favorite beaches at the lake. I was looking up trails in the area and found Chimney Beach to Marlette Lake.

The start of a challenging but well worth it hike.

This is a six mile out and back trail with a steep incline. It is not easy despite what AllTrails says. Always read the reviews!! I was prepared to not be able to feel my legs by the end of it. It is so worth it though, you get incredible views of Lake Tahoe peaking through the trees as you make your way up. And I had never been to Marlette Lake before. It was very peaceful. 

Got to break in my new hiking shoes and backpack from Sierra Trading Post! My new favorite store!

The trail overall has a good mix of sun and shade and was not busy at all. I still recommend you go early though to beat the heat and find parking. I went on a Wednesday, started at about 9:30am, a few spots were left in the lot, and I only saw five people on the trail. 

The parking lot at the start of this trailhead is only .2 miles away from the parking lot that actually leads you down to the beach. To get to Chimney Beach is about a .5 mile hike down, very easy. There is in fact a chimney on the beach which is cool, but I like to find my own secluded spot. There are plenty of spots that you can make your own, socially distanced from others. 

Floating all my worries away

The water is so clear and blue. It’s like a dream. Going for a swim after a strenuous almost seven mile hike is the best feeling. Always bring plenty of water and snacks. I brought along my journal, a good book, and of course my speaker. Please give me song suggestions because I haven’t listened to anything else besides the new Taylor Swift album for the past two weeks…

Let me know if you check out this hike or this beach! And please remember to always pick up your trash and to leave the trail/beach just as you found it, or better! Hope you’re all enjoying summer and making the most of it. 

Spotted: a wild Logan in her natural habitat, thanks for responding to a late night instagram story, such a fun day!!

Purrfect Burger

Fat Cat Bar and Grill has the best burgers in town! Their ingredients come from local farms and ranches. Which is great because you’re supporting local that supports local. The beef is 100% grass fed from Bently Ranch. They also offer plant based, free range chicken, lamb, turkey, and salmon patties. The food is so fresh, and you know where it comes from, which is something you can’t say everywhere you go. And if that’s not enough, they support local live music and djs.

I won’t lie. The menu is a little pricey, but you get what you pay for. From the local meat, to the Truckee Sourdough bread delivered daily, to the house made catsup, everything is fresh and delicious. Also, they have a friendly staff and inviting atmosphere. 

The restaurant has a nice farmhouse feel. A lovely open space with an outdoor patio. On top of that, the restaurant is doing a great job of taking the necessary precautions to practice social distancing.

We chose a perfect day to go because on Fridays they have $5 Frisky Kitties. You may be wondering, what is a Frisky Kitty? It is their signature cocktail with vodka, lemonade, cranberry juice, and St-Germaine Liqueur float. It is so refreshing! Fantastic for a summer day.

I did the build your own burger with a beef patty “willson style” which comes with thousand island dressing and pickles. I recommend it! Craig got the Firecracker which is pretty spicy if that’s up your alley. And Colin got the one, the ONLY, the Famous “Fat Cat” burger WITH mac and cheese.

Can you guess which one is Colin’s?

Fat Cat doesn’t have any food challenges but if they did Colin could do it. He ate the whole thing. Craig and I didn’t know whether to be disgusted or impressed.

The close up

Overall,  it was a great start to the weekend! Fat Cat is located at 1401 S Virginia St in midtown. They also have another location up in Tahoe. Don’t forget $5 Frisky Friday and their happy hour is Sunday-Friday 4:00-6:30pm! Continue to support local during this time. Check them out and follow them on Instagram to stay up to date on events and specials!

Reno Location @ 1401 S Virginia St

Chasing Waterfalls

I have been loving being outdoors.

I know the pandemic has put a lot of things on hold and created obstacles and challenges for each of us. I wish I could take a vacation right now to Hawaii or Vegas or literally anywhere. But in a way I’ve been enjoying exploring my own backyard.

I’ve missed the exploring, the trying a new trail, the getting up early, lacing up your hiking shoes, and just going. I’ve loved the company and the conversation and the laughs. I’ve loved being able to feel free and for things to feel normal even if it’s only for a few miles.

Today I went on a great hike with my Aunt Sharon. We were on the road by 7am and drove through Carson to come to the Genoa Canyon Waterfalls Trail.

If you are familiar with the Hunter Creek Trail in Reno, this is very similar!

Genoa Canyon Waterfalls is about a 6.5 mile trail (out and back) or you could do the loop which we didn’t realize till we got back to the trail head. Either way this is a perfect day hike. I do suggest going early though to beat the heat.

Start of the trail crossing the creek

This trail consists of mostly switchbacks and a decent elevation gain (my legs will be feeling it in the morning). You get incredible views of the valley along the way. The trail is narrow which offered a good change with a nice mix of sun and shade. Overall a beautiful scenic hike which ends with a little waterfall.

My legs are sore from just looking at this

I thought it was really cool how you could stand right next to the falls. Great place for some pictures and to cool off. My Aunt Sharon left another hidden gem just like at Horsetail Falls. I also want to thank my Aunt Sharon for suggesting this hike and going with me!

Leaving Hidden Gems

This is a unique, quick hike to change things up. I recommend you spend the early part of your day going on this hike. It feels great to get your steps in before noon. Let me know if you check out the trail! And I hope you all had a fun and safe Fourth of July Weekend!

The best photo an Iphone7 video camera balanced on my backpack money can buy 🙂

Cheers to Good Wine and Good Company

Before the pandemic, I was working at We Olive and Wine Bar. I loved that job. It was the cutest hidden gem. That job taught me a lot. I learned so much about wine; the different kinds, the lingo, tasting terms, pairings, and most importantly that wine is best enjoyed with good company. 

Even on my days off, I would go into We Olive and enjoy the wine and atmosphere. I even hosted my Aunt’s birthday party there because it was a perfect venue. Unfortunately, they closed down last month.

I needed to find a wine bar that could give me that same feeling of comfort and familiarity. I found it, Engine 8 Urban Winery.  

I love everything about this winery. Engine 8 Urban Winery is located at 1260 Avenue of the Oaks, Ste. 150, in the heart of Victorian Square downtown Sparks. It is right next to the Galaxy theater. I haven’t been in that area of town in a while, and let me tell you, as someone who would play in the old fountains in front of the movie theater as a kid, it is hard to recognize. You must check it out for yourself!

The winery has a wonderful small-town feel. It also has a lovely outdoor patio that they just remodeled. It is also perfect due to safety and social distancing practices. They even have live music on occasion, a great way to enjoy a glass of wine.

The menu is not overwhelming. They have whites, reds, fruit wines, and port. They also offer flights so you can try out three to five different kinds and learn what you like. This is what I did, I tried the Riesling, Zinfandel, Peach Sunrise, and Moscato. The Peach Sunrise was my personal favorite. 

Four Flight- $10

My boyfriend and his brother are not big wine drinkers. Wendi, our server and co-owner, was very helpful in recommending something they would like. She said that the Blackberry Merlot turns the non-wine drinkers to wine drinkers. And that is perfect for those new and old to wine. It is amazing, the boys loved it. 

Cheers!

The glasses have the Engine 8 Urban Winery logo which was hand designed by Wendi herself. She and her husband, Mike, established the winery in 2018, They both grew up in Reno/Sparks. They are incredibly nice. It’s nice to know the people behind the business and the history and the story. I love supporting true locals.

Locally owned and operated by Mike and Wendy Rawson

The place also offers food. You can’t beat pizza and wine. You just can’t.

I know that wine can be intimidating to some people. Here is a short, quick article on wine lingo demystified so now you can talk like a wine connoisseur!

This is a hidden gem in my book. I can’t wait to go back. Go out for a girl’s night or bring your family, or your boyfriend who doesn’t really like wine… Either way, the best wines are the ones enjoyed with family and friends! If you check this place out, please leave a comment and let me know what you think! 

It’s Okay to Go Alone

I used to hike alone all the time. My days off never aligned with those of my family or friends so I had no other choice. Plus, I liked the freedom of being on my time and going at my pace and doing extra exploring if that’s what I wanted. 

Last summer I got away from that. I traveled, A LOT. I went to Los Angeles, Las Vegas, San Francisco, and Spain! It was the best summer of my life. 

But it kept me from going on my solo hiking trips in the area. 

This week I was off on Tuesday. And I was hesitant to plan anything because that would mean going alone. It had just been so long that I felt weird and not confident and wondered what other people would think seeing a young girl out on the trail by herself. 

I knew the Rubicon trail would be a great hike and I wanted to go and get that confidence back. So at 11:30pm on Monday after hours of going back and forth on should I go, should I not go? I set my alarm for 6am. 

I woke up, packed my bag (very little planning went into this), stopped for a coffee at Purple Bean, put the destination in my maps, and got on the road.

I got there around 8:15am (I suggest getting there early since the lot does fill up quick and bring $10 for the park fee). I gathered my things and hit the trail. It is a five-mile hike (one way) to Emerald Bay. You could hike with someone else and park two cars but I of course would be hiking the five miles back. I brought plenty of water, snacks, sunscreen, and my bathing suit and towel because I knew I would want to find a spot to swim. 

As soon as I started on the trail, I was overwhelmed by the views of the lake. Along with the early morning air, the birds chirping, the calmness of the water, and just the stillness of the world around me. It was incredible. I was content being alone. I felt lucky to have this experience. 

The start of an amazing trail

The trail follows the ridgeline of the lake for most of the way. I took so many breaks because I couldn’t believe the beauty, it had to be appreciated. 

The trail was not crowded at all, which is always nice. I passed a few other older couples and a nice older gentleman backpacking on the way.

I took my first water break at a vista and just sat and counted my blessings. It was a beautiful day. 

Enjoy the view!

The path varies uphill/downhill since you are following the ridge-line, with a mix of rock steps (does anyone else just really love rock stairs??) and forest. Once you get to Emerald Bay, you come across a campsite which was a little confusing for me but follow the concrete path straight and it will lead you back to the trail. The hike goes all the way to Eagle Point Campground. I hiked to the Vikingsholm Castle where they usually offer tours however due to the pandemic they are on hold. It was still cool to see.

Tahoe’s Hidden Castle

I further hiked to Lower Eagle Falls and then made my way back. 

Lower Eagle Falls

I found a perfect spot, just off the trail, right before the campsite. A massive rock that goes out into the bay but flattens so it’s a great place to lay out, right on the lake. I sat there, just me and my thoughts, and you won’t believe what happened. 

Remember the older backpacker, I had passed earlier in the day? Well here he comes in a kayak. I wave to him and he waves back. 

“You made it further,” he says.

“And you got a kayak!”

He told me he likes to hike out and kayak back. What a cool guy, he reminded me of my dad. He then asked if I was staying at the campgrounds with my family. I replied and told him no, I had just come up for the day. He then said, “I admire your independence.” And told me to have a good day. 

It seems like no big deal, but it really meant a lot to me. I almost let the fear of being alone keep me from going on such a great adventure. I spent a couple hours out there on the rock, went for a swim, read, and journaled. I almost fell asleep until a family nearby let me know that bears were in the campsite headed in our direction. I packed up my stuff and got out of there because while bears are cute, I would rather keep the distance.

Backpack Essentials

About three miles back to D.L. Bliss State Park, it started to rain! It was awesome. It had been clear skies all day, the clouds came out of nowhere. And now I was caught in the middle of a thunderstorm and a nice warm summer rain. 

Lastly, right by the park, you can hike up to an old lighthouse. I recommend checking it out. 

All in all, this was a fantastic hike with incredible views and for me, so many unforgettable surprises, and a lesson learned. 

It is okay to go alone. 

Embrace your independence. I hope I have inspired some of you to go on your own adventures. You won’t regret it. Please leave a comment if you try out this trail. I would love to hear about your experience!

Find your hidden gems

Ha-who?

Haru.

Ramen is my absolute favorite food. There’s just something about a nice warm bowl of noodles and a soft boiled egg that give me the comfort of my mom’s cooking.

I have taken so many people to this restaurant as an excuse to not order take out from them for the sixth week straight. This past week I took my good friend Samantha and I may or may not have taken my boyfriend’s family two days later…

This place is just too good! Their curbside pickup saved me during the quarantine. 

Haru is located at 5210 Longley Ln #500, Reno, NV 89511. It has the cutest store front tucked away in the Longley Town Center. 

The best ramen place in town

The Haru owner and staff have gone above and beyond on the safety precautions for their guests. All of the tables are separated by dividers, more than six feet apart. They offer you a paper bag to store your mask while you enjoy the delicious ramen, along with hand sanitizer for your table. Little things to show they care.

Showing they care and a sneak peek at the menu

This is a local restaurant. The staff are always so friendly. Every time I go, I have been welcomed by Isabella, the nicest hostess/server. The guys in the kitchen are also always quick to welcome and thank you for your business. You can tell that they care about their guests. 

I think this is the best ramen in Reno! I always get the Kuro Ramen with a level 2 of spicy. I would also recommend the Tonkotsu Shoyu. I won’t lie I had a hard time reading the menu the first time I went, so I got lucky on my choice. They also offer rice bowls, small plates, sides, and a wide range of drinks. 

top left: miso ramen, top and bottom right: kuro ramen, bottom left: tonkotsu shoyu

The ramen has so much flavor, the pork belly is tender, and the egg is perfectly cooked.

They now offer online ordering for curbside pickup. But if you want to enjoy dine in, you should call ahead of time and make a reservation. Please leave a comment if you go try out Haru. Go support locals! 

Find Your Path

I am so lucky to live where I live.

Lake Tahoe is basically in my backyard and although my usual trips up there are about an hour drive, sometimes I am hesitant to drive the extra hour to get to someplace new.

I had heard about Horsetail Falls and seen great pictures, I really wanted to see it for myself. Then, I looked up the directions. An hour and forty-five-minute drive. For a 3 mile hike? I didn’t know if it would be worth it.

Spoiler: It was.

I said screw it and texted my long-time hiking buddy (my Aunt Sharon) and asked if she would like to go with me. She said yes and we agreed to leave Reno at 7am, with a coffee stop of course.

We got there around 9:30am and the parking lot was full, so I recommend getting there extra early. (several groups of people were just starting as we finished and the parking had only gotten worse by the time we got back) I would further suggest going on a weekday.

The base of the trail

We started our hike and very quickly came across our first little waterfall. You basically follow the creek all the way up to falls so there are plenty of incredible views. The trail itself is a mix of forest and rock, I suggest wearing shoes with grip. Not too far in, we came to a divide where you could go straight or right, both leading to the top. A lovely couple informed us that the straight path is simply more direct.

We went right.

We came across another cool waterfall, cascading downs the rocks. It was beautiful. We then kept following the blue arrows. But to me, there was no right path. With so much wide-open terrain and different ways of going up, it was okay to feel a little lost.

Go right

The scenery was incredible, there is so much to look at. From the mountains all around you, the creek on your right, the little wildflowers, the rock formations, the birds, every little hidden gem. You can also see the falls at the top of mountain as you make your way up. Another bonus is that there are some swimming holes along the way if you want to cool off.

Be prepared for some rock scaling especially toward the top.

After a little bit of climbing, we made it to the falls. It was incredible. Pictures could not do it justice. We sat and enjoyed the view.

Horsetail Falls

You can hike up to the very top, it would require a little bit of climbing and proper footwear though. We were content with our view. And if you make it up to where we were, you can find a nice hidden gem that my Aunt Sharon left behind.

Hidden gem courtesy of Sharon Flanary

We made our way back down with our fair share of crab-walking and crawling and sliding and scooting. You gotta do what you gotta do. The rocks can be tricky and very slippery. Also it was not the exact path we took up.

A conversation on the way down:

Fellow Hiker: “I’m not sure if I should go this way or that way.”

Aunt Sharon: “Yeahhh, there’s a lot of that.”

I won’t lie, the trail can be a little confusing, but if you keep going up and keep an eye out for blue arrows, you will find your way. We ended up hiking 5.5 miles (and 129 floors according to my Fitbit), I’m sure it varies with which path you take but it was a day well spent. Always bring plenty of water and snacks just in case your hikes end up being longer than planned.

Remember, sometimes the plan is no plan. Overall, great company and a great destination.

I know it can be weird returning to normalcy. I hadn’t seen my aunt in over a couple months so we had a lot of catching up to do. And I think the outdoors is always the best answer. I was thankful to have this time and this experience shared with her. I recommend this trail to all of you, especially with a loved one! The drive and the hike up is more than worth it. And it feels so good to get up, move, explore, and feel the sunshine.

Please leave a comment or share a picture if you check out this trail!

Great company, great destination