Perhaps it was because we had been drifting that we were chosen for the mission on the Sierra Buttes. When we first arrived at Lake of the Woods in the Tahoe National Forest and pushed off in our raft, we paddled across and around the small body of water. But after a while we tucked away our paddles, laid back on the bumpers and felt content to drift. Lake of the Woods is a perfect place to believe that you don’t have a care in the world. Most of the time it is as slick as cobalt glass. We drifted and watched eagles soar overhead. One folded its wings close and dove to snatch a duckling Wood Duck. But mother duck struck at the eagle again and again with her wings until the eagle veered onto a nearby spruce where it waited and watched and later settled for the solemn capture of a small pink trout.
One day after we dove from the raft and swam and toweled off, I withdrew from my navigation bag, a map of the Tahoe National Forest. I suggested to my husband and he agreed. s margin and it seemed a memorable way to celebrate. We kept the option open when we drove into Truckee Monday morning to purchase supplies at Safeway and enjoy a birthday lunch of Ahi burgers and a chocolate shake from Burger Me. On the way back we passed the Truckee District Tahoe National Forest Ranger Station. I decided to get some help sorting out route information for the Buttes.
“Sierra Buttes? They’re in the Packer Lake District. Let me call someone for you.” She patched me through to the Ranger Station. The woman on the other end of the line gave me so many options for routes and trails that I forgot to ask her if Route 12 connected to 49.
When I rejoined Jeff in the Land Rover it was too hot to drive to the shadeless Buttes. Instead we ferried dust clouds along unpopulated miles of 450 to 650 past Bear Valley Campground. On our way to Sierraville we turned off to explore Dark Canyon. Dark Canyon sounded like a cool detour but proved a misnomer. The uphill road burst apart with boulders that brought us to a crawl. The grassy hills were completely exposed to the sun and when we wearied of the glare and stopped to pull a couple of waters from the refrigerator, two juvenile coyotes reluctantly strode from the shade of a lone nearby tree. I felt guilty for disturbing them.
We were headed away from base camp so we reversed and caught 540 outside Sierraville, then picked up 15 for the often bumpy ride over to 12. When we reached 12 we still had enough daylight left to follow it to Yuba Pass and confirm that it intersected with 49 and access to the Buttes.
The next morning, I suggested that we start making our way to the Sierra Buttes. I felt sort of drift-y but at the same time something inside compelled me to go. We packed up everything we would need for an overnight in case the Land Rover broke down. Read the rest of this page »