Mountain Valley Living Magazine

By Angele Thibodeau

There is a point you reach during a long snowy winter, when you start dreaming about warm sunshine, wild flowers and green grass.  The birds welcome the season of spring with their sweet song.  Swollen rivers filled with snow melt, roar their way through the woods crashing around rocks and carving out marvelous waterfalls.  One of my favorite hikes is the Shirley Lake hike at Squaw.  Right from the beginning, you are greeted with a series of waterfalls and steps like crystal clear pools of water.  The further you climb, the more little hidden treasures you will find.  Gnarly tree roots twist and hug a boulder on the edge of a pool where a peaceful waterfall flows.  A perfect place to spread out a yummy picnic and if you are brave, remove your shoes and dip your toes in the icy water, exposing them to the first bit of sunlight they have seen in months.  The filtered light shining through the pine bows speckles the ground as a butterfly gracefully dances around, floating in and out of the rays of light.  After you pack up your lunch and continue on the climb, you will find your way to Shirley Lake.  A peaceful little lake at the bottom of Solitude Chair on Squaw Valley Ski Mountain, which not too long ago was scenery to powder seeking winter sport enthusiasts.  When you finally reach high camp at Squaw, you will be greeted with a breathtaking distant view of Lake Tahoe and mountain peaks.  If you choose, you can take a gondola ride down to the Village at Squaw or take the fire road down, which is also a very beautiful stroll.  Keep an eye open for wildlife. Bears and deer make there presence known in this area.  When you get to your vehicle for the ride home, take off your day pack and stretch. You will feel accomplished ,satisfied and fully recharged after absorbing all the beauty of this hike.  The hike is approximately four miles. For more information check out  Safe hiking and remember to pack out what you pack in!

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