Monday, July 16, 2012

Looking Down from the Black Buttes

Grouse Ridge continues to have a special place in my heart. Just up the road from Grass Valley, it features some of the most beautiful vistas, lakes and granite landscapes anywhere in the Northern Sierra Nevada.

My love affair with Grouse began on my mountain bike seventeen years ago as I tackled its relentless rocky trails. But like all exceptional networks, it is often best enjoyed on foot where you can take in its beauty at a slower pace. With this in mind, I set off yesterday with my border collie on a trek between Grouse Ridge itself and the Black Buttes.

The hike itself is a 7.5 mile journey out and back. I decided to scale the broken rock of the stunning buttes above Glacier Lake to take in the exceptional views atop this 8K foot set of peaks. It is a short, somewhat strenuous ascent, but well worth the investment once you absorb the 360 degree views from the Tahoe Basin to the Sacramento Valley and beyond.

I noticed that the Forest Service and Eagle Scouts teamed up to place desperately needed signage at trail junctions in the area.  BONC and IMBA plan a weekend of riding and trail maintenance starting on September 14th. All this is wonderful, as Grouse never quite gets the volunteer attention it deserves. All things considered, I think it is the far and away the best trail network in our area.

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