Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

New Year's at Calpine Fire Lookout

January 8, 2017
Last weekend, we stayed at the Calpine Fire Lookout in the Tahoe National Forest. The forecast called for a major snowstorm, so we geared up for cross-country skiing and winter backpacking (including our tent, in case we got waylaid by the storm hiking in). Sunday morning, we drove to Sierraville and hiked 2 miles in (with 1000 feet of elevation gain), carrying 4 gallons of water (since there is no running water at the tower) and our XC skis (since the ground was pretty clear on the first day).

The forecast was correct – it started snowing the first night and continued for days (which gave us plenty of fresh snow to melt/filter/boil for extra water). We played Scrabble and card games, read, drank hot chocolate, (re)-learned to XC-ski, and ate good camping food. (The place turned out to have a very well-equipped kitchen, minus running water, which augmented our usual backpacking kit.)

On Tuesday, with 2-3 feet of fresh snow (still coming down), we geared up and slogged back down the trail. (The thin XC skis fell right through the snow, so we were basically plowing with our legs the whole way.) We had a great time and would definitely go back.

Calpine fire lookout, upon arrival.
Calpine fire lookout, upon deparature.
Hiking in, skis strapped to our packs.
Not much snow on the ground when we arrived.
We made it!
Ben carried four gallons of water.
View from the lookout - day 1.
Cabin balcony - day 1.
Cabin balcony - day 2.
The beginnings of a Scrabble game.
Writing in the visitor's log

View from the lookout - day 2.
Re-learning how to XC ski.
XC ski boots keep your feet warm and dry.
Ben all geared up for skiing back to the car.

Making New Year's resolutions.
We made a snowman.

A few more photos of the lookout.

Storm blowing in
- Steph (photos) and Ben (video)

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