The first weekend in May I joined a Field Biology Class on a trip to the Sierra Nevada's. With many summers spent around Lake Tahoe growing up, I am ashamed I have not done more exploring around the less traveled areas of this beautiful mountain range. This trip was a great exploration of many new places these ancient volcanic mountains have to offer. Throughout the whole trip I was already planning my next trip back.
We drove as a caravan from the foothills through the high alpine passes along highway 88 stopping in different ecological zones along the way. As you get higher up into the mountain peaks, only the most well adapted species can survive. Many of the species, plants or animals, found in the alpine areas are specially adapted to survive long winters and short growing seasons.
Along the eastern side of the Sierra range you can find warmer drier areas with plenty of campgrounds spanned up and down the highways. Towns can be few and far between, so make sure to fill up on gas when it's available and always get your evening supplies early because the stores can close relatively early in small towns.
Highway 4 is a narrow road that winds over a very high altitude pass and just one day before we were headed home, it was closed. With its opening, we were able to round out the trip exploring down the mountains from high alpine lakes, like Mosquito Lake, all the way down to Calaveras Big Trees State Park. While many people in the group had to return home for Sunday night routines, we decided to explore Big Trees for just a few minutes. We decided we had to leave three hours later, very reluctantly.