After leaving the Avenue of the Giants and the cool ocean breezes, the drive down into the Sacramento valley was long, hot, and mostly pretty dull with the exception of the golden covered hills I found just as the sun was setting:
My base camp home office for the week was an RV park in Truckee, CA conveniently located on I-80. Each night after work, I'd take the 30 minute drive south to Lake Tahoe to take a few shots at sunset. Parts of the lake are extremely deep (nearly 2000 feet) and cold. The waters along the deeper shorelines produce a wonderful emerald blue color while the sun is still high in the sky. But in the afterglow of sunset, when the sky glows with color, the still waters also begin to reflect those colors as well.
A spot well-known by nature photographers and locals, is hidden at the bottom of a cliff along the eastern Nevada shore just south of Sand Harbor called "Bonsai Rock". I finally located it on my 3rd night and found the unmarked trailhead to get down to the lake to take these shots. For a few of them, I had to stand calf-high in the lake, but boy was it fun!
For our final night in Truckee, Millie and I went up to the top of Donner Pass to hike a neat little trail through a few mountain streams and over large, smooth slabs and boulders of granite. There were even a few spots with snow still not melted (that Millie had a great time running through!).
We took the old Donner Pass Highway back down into Truckee, and spotted these rock climbers as well as other scenes. I can't imagine how the pioneers made it over this pass with their wagons on their way to strike it rich in California gold country 150 years ago (and obviously, some never did made it). A roadside memorial commemorates the infamous Donner Party's story of cannibalism for survival when they got stuck in these rocky hills during the winter of 1846-47.