Outdoor excursions don’t have to be gorgeous. Sometimes they satisfy the initial craving, the taste for some tall trees and clean space absent of concrete. A hike might unclutter the brain and retrain your eyes to look upward. Perhaps you get a few shards of sunlight striking your skin, and you snap a few photos but they turn out ho-hum. You tuck your phone back into your pocket, instead watching your dog bound up the trail and wonder how you’ll find your car again. That’s essentially how this weekend went — it was both exactly we needed and nothing to write home about.
Living in a city is convenient. Groceries, booze, entertainment, and work are all within walking distance (or a short drive). And yet, cities are chaotic. Brake dust, honking, sirens, unsavory people and smells are also within walking distance. Don’t get me wrong — I’ve enjoyed the past few (many?) years of city living. My stint in the Bay Area was probably the best in terms of urban existence. I biked on a rusty Schwinn to work and class, walked past wisteria-bedecked homes for morning buns and coffee, or hiked up the trails that took you high above the city in less than half an hour. But cities thrive on romanticization, which I’m prone to. Having grown up in rural California, urban environments have always been thrilling and exhausting.
So, we drove east. Up past Placerville into the pine trees, through an irrigation district and past a man-made lake that quaintly framed the snow-capped Sierras. You guys, there is SO MUCH SNOW this year. It’s the middle of May and here we are with a winter storm warning and ski resorts that will be open through July 4th. I’m thrilled and nervous about the backpacking and camping trips I have planned this summer (whoops). All that to say, should you find yourself needing a respite from loud ripe odoriferous places, take a drive to the mountains for an hour or two. And then have a beer with some men in kilts.
Fleming Meadow Loop
- Length: 2-5 miles (depends on how lost you wanna get)
- Time: 1-2 hours
- Difficulty: Easy-Moderate
- Trail: I’m not sure which trail we followed and we never saw a meadow (we kept following the blue 8 markers), but this USDA map has a bunch of spurs from the parking lot we found. Don’t be deterred by the stripped van at the turnoff – we didn’t see anything sketchy at the trailhead. I’d like to come back and do the whole loop, but the doggo was hot and the husband wanted beer. So it goes.