As we settled into our California home, we quickly realized that one of the perks while living in the Sierra Nevada foothills is that the mountains are less than an hour away.  In the early spring of 2015, we took our first California outdoor trip. The trip was light and easy, mainly to get a glimpse of Sierra Nevada and its communities.

We started with a brunch at Ike’s Quarter Cafe in Nevada City offering us our first taste of the state’s hospitality and the warmth of a small town feel. It was  hard not to gush as we dined with the locals under a charming cherry blossom. It did not disappoint.

Brunch at Ike's Quarter Cafe in Nevada City under a cherry blossom in April.
Brunch at Ike’s Quarter Cafe in Nevada City under a cherry blossom in April.
At Ike's Quarter Cafe in Nevada City, California.
At Ike’s Quarter Cafe in Nevada City, California.
Strolling around downtown Nevada City, California.
Strolling around downtown Nevada City, California.

 

The drive was fun as we moved into a higher elevation. The Yuba River along Highway 49 was full and everything looked green which are good signs of an early spring. However, a few thousand feet of elevation more and the scenery was different. The ground was still carpeted in snow!

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The Yuba River along Highway 49.
The Yuba River along Highway 49.
The Yuba River along Highway 49.
Snow at 6,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Nevada.
Snow at 6,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Nevada.
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At 6,000 feet elevation in the Sierra Nevada.

 

My favorite part of the day was realizing that behind the forest of pine trees and past the snowy curves of the mountains is a valley that can take anyone’s breath away. I still remember how I felt when I first saw the valley at this overlook for the first time. This part of the country is beautiful.

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Overlook of the Sierra Valley.
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Overlook of the Sierra Valley.
Overlooking the Sierra Valley.
Overlooking the Sierra Valley.

 

Our last stop for the day was the infamous Donner Pass. It is a passage used by the pioneers to reach California from the East as they drag their wagons over the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is named after a group of California-bound settlers, the Donner Party. They found a route blocked by snow and when their supply ran out, some resorted to cannibalism. Only 45 out of the 81 settlers survived and reached California.

The memorial at the Donner Pass.
The memorial at the Donner Pass.
Approaching Donner Summit.
Approaching Donner Summit.
Approaching Donner Summit.
Approaching Donner Summit.

 

Cheers to more California adventures in the future!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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