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Sierra Stories

  • The Great Race of 1908

    By Mark McLaughlin on August 24, 2016
    American technology and innovation has been impressing people around the world for generations. And, of course, there is always that Yankee competitiveness that has kept the United States on top of the economic heap for more than a century. The American Flyer in Utah. | National Automobile Museum One story that exemplifies American know-how and the country’s can-do spirit is […]
  • Fatal flash flood on Mount Rose

    By Mark McLaughlin on August 17, 2016
    The Tahoe Sierra is one of the most popular recreation areas in California, a region where summer thunderstorms are not uncommon. Residents and visitors alike should be aware of thunderstorm activity while enjoying the mountain lifestyle. Be aware of changing Tahoe weather. | Mark McLaughlin It may seem obvious that exposure to lightning on mountain peaks and ridges can be […]
  • Lucky Baldwin: A Tahoe entrepreneur, Part II

    By Mark McLaughlin on August 10, 2016
    Tallac Hotel and old growth trees. | Mark McLaughlin Lucky Baldwin made a lot of money investing in Nevada silver mines, but his 1880 purchase of a hostelry near Emerald Bay helped save some of the last of Lake Tahoe’s old-growth forest. In the 1860s and 1870s, Tahoe’s extensive stands of virgin timber had fallen to the woodsman’s axe in […]
  • Lucky Baldwin: Tahoe Visionary, Part I

    By Mark McLaughlin on August 3, 2016
    Elias “Lucky” Baldwin wasn’t just lucky. He knew how to make money, lived a life of risk and adventure and left a scandalous trail of marriages, divorces and affairs in his wake. One of his biographers called him a “Comstock plunger, real estate promoter and glamorous libertine, who loved most, after a sharp trade, to squeeze three girls at once.” […]
  • Bid for Lake Tahoe National Park

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 27, 2016
    This year the National Park Service is celebrating its 100th anniversary. Many of America’s most scenic and historic places have been set aside and protected as national parks. The concept of a national park is an American innovation that grew out of the conservation movement that began in the 19th Century. Timber baron Duane L. Bliss supported a Tahoe Forest […]
  • Dare to shoot the Flume

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 20, 2016
    Every summer, mountain bikers flock to Lake Tahoe’s East Shore, eager to ride the old Flume Trail. Littered with wooden planks from a 19th-Century water flume, this narrow pathway hugs the steep west slope of the Carson Range. It challenges the courage and endurance of adventuresome cyclists. Although a ride along the Flume Trail can stir the heart, the real […]
  • General Phipps: Intrepid Tahoe Pioneer

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 13, 2016
    Before pioneers and loggers of European descent first settled the Tahoe Basin in 1860, the forest was old-growth coniferous, dominated by stately sugar pine trees. Statuesque softwoods such as Jeffrey pine and sugar pine towered over a forest floor mostly devoid of thick vegetation or dense stands of timber. General Phipps’s cabin at Sugar Pine Park. | Mark McLaughlin Early […]
  • Brockway’s Picnic Rock: Stellar views & history

    By Mark McLaughlin on July 6, 2016
    One popular and accessible Tahoe hike or mountain bike ride is a segment of the Tahoe Rim Trail that starts on the east side of Highway 267 just south of Brockway Summit. The short trip to Picnic Rock is a little more than 1.5 miles, but must be considered moderately difficult since virtually every step is uphill. The ascent is […]
  • Winter 2016: Did El Niño match the hype?

    By Mark McLaughlin on June 29, 2016
      Media headlines began popping up in the early summer of 2015: “El Niño is coming!” “Look out for the most powerful El Niño in history!” “Southern California better batten down the hatches!” It was enough to make one run for the hills; to the Tahoe Sierra, that is, where a blockbuster winter was seemingly guaranteed. After four dry winters, […]
  • June 1969: Rare Summer Flood on Truckee River

    By Mark McLaughlin on June 22, 2016
    It may not seem like it during our region’s current drought, but the Truckee River is one of the most volatile waterways in California and Nevada, prone to flood about every nine years. The most recent significant flood event was in January 2006, so the statistical clock is ticking. Considering our current situation, a major flood on the Truckee doesn’t […]