It is amazing how nature sees the window of opportunity and then plans accordingly. The wildflowers in the Lake Tahoe basin are a spectacular sight and usually at their peak near the end of June/ beginning of July. This year you will have to plan those wildflower hikes a littler earlier! Because of the lack of moisture this year you can already see a few snow roses forcing their way through the soil to make their appearance. Over the last few years of minimal weather, these beauties are becoming harder and harder to find. If you see them on the trail, be sure to take a photo as their days are numbered if we don’t see a change in the winters.
One my family’s favorite wildflower hikes is Big Meadow, Meiss Meadow and Lake Winnemucca all rolled into one. This is a great short trek for beginner backpackers! All of my kids can hike in, carry their own packs for a couple night’s stay and hike out without even one meltdown! Yes, even Sam! Parking is easy at the Big Meadow trailhead and the Tahoe Rim Trail has made it a great adventure for all.
Plan on seeing those wildflowers a little earlier this year. Come mid July you may have missed them. Big Meadow has a picturesque setting with lots of Pink Monkey Flowers and Purple Columbine…one of my favorites. Meiss Meadow, Frog Lake and Lake Winnemucca have an abundance of Blue Flax. Red Mountain Sorrel and Red Alpine Paintbrush that blanket the hillsides. It really is a mystical experience and if you can get the kids off of their plethora of electronic devices for just a day, they will confess their enjoyment in the end.
Our family did this in a 3 day trek last year…it was spectacular. No one got to bring their iPods, Kindles, iPads, etc. It costs next to nothing and it is first come first served at the Ranger Station at the top of Carson Pass. There are only a few campsites at the lake and they are spread out so you will not be in somebody else’s adventure. The swimming is a bit frigid, but the kids couldn’t feel it and spent most of the days jumping off rocks and hiking around to the other side of the lake. At night we played cards, watched the stars and I made up corny horror stories which kept the little ones up with fear. Good times.
They have asked when we will do that trek this season….it is one of their favorite memories. I love that they bring it up often…a simple camp trip that really was spontaneous. I have spent thousands of dollars taking these kids to other countries and yet the free camp trip is one of their favorite memories. Go figure. Might it have been because there was not an abundance of exterior stimulation and that I was able to give them the very thing that they need the most…my time??
In closing, I make the claim that wildflowers will improve your family life. They will improve your relations with others. Their medicinal purposes are multi-layered in that they can heal your physical body and your spirit man as well. They are yet another reason why life in South Lake Tahoe is second to none! Living here is so much more than a house in the mountains…it is a lifestyle. Go hike.