Alan and Jonna's 2012 Graeagle, CA trip

For the fourth year in a row, Jonna and Alan flew out to the Sierra Nevadas to spend New Year's Eve weekend at a cabin in Graeagle CA. This year we went it with Jonna's brother Jamie, niece Rosie, nephew Larkin and Larkin's girlfriend Hannah. Normally, we spend our Graeagle weekend playing in the snow but the weather didn't cooperate with us this year. The temperature was cold but not a flake had fallen for weeks before our arrival. We spent the time hiking and visiting a nearby hot spring.

Here are some of our favorite photos from the trip (each photo is a thumbnail linked to a higher quality picture.):

1) Normally, the manzanita bushes are covered in multiple feet of snow so this was the first time we could appreciate how vibrant the red of the trunks were.

2) Just an artsy show showing the rocks embedded in a fallen tree's root system, the sun shining through the canopy of the redwoods and the moss covering the trunks of the evergreens.

3) A lovely stream we found on the hike - surprisingly, it wasn't frozen when all the other water we saw that day was.

4) The family enjoying spending time together!

5) It took us a while but we eventually hiked up high enough to find a little snow. Not enough to carry out our annual sledding (and we wouldn't have wanted to since it was old enough to have become the dreaded Sierra Cement) but at least enough to say we saw it.

6) Jonna and Rosie posing together on our hike near Long Lake.

7) There may not have been snow on the ground but the cold weather had turned every stream into a beautiful ice display.

8) A panorama showing us hiking through the Sierra landscape. It really was a shock to see all the green, after years of us hiking in a snow-covered forest during our previous visits.

9) The sun was blinding reflecting off ice covered Long Lake.

10) Larkin managed to peel up a big sheet of ice off off the shoreline and we all enjoyed looking at the ice crystal formations.

11) Bro and Sis, together again.

12) We did return to Johnsville, where we normally spend New Year's Day sledding, but the ski slope was completely bare. Instead, we just went for a hike up to the top of the mountain.

13) The manzanitas bushes on the ski slope were head height. This helped explain why post-holing through the snow was such a pain in some of previous hikes. We never knew there were 5 foot high bushes bent over underneath the heavy snow.

14) Hiking in the Sierra pines is always spectacular!

15) ...and the views are too!

16) Artsy shot - Old bones in the scree field.

17) With the ground dry we could hike much further than in previous years. Traditionally, we just hiked to the top of the Johnsville ski slope and then bombed down on the sleds. But without snow slowing us down we hiked to the top of Eureka Peak and then took a group photo of us all at the summit!

18) The view down onto Eureka Lake and the Plumas-Eureka State Park was pretty impressive from on top of Eureka Peak.

19) Artsy shot - dry grasses waiting for spring.

20) What goes up, must come down. The scree field was an ankle twister but we all managed to slide our way down without injury.

21) On the north side of the mountain we found some more Sierra cement. It was hard and slick!

22) Yup, another artsy shot - lone tree on the ridge line.

23) Having seen Eureka Lake from Eureka Peak, why not turn the tables. That is Eureka Peak in the background as seen from the shore of Eureka Lake.

24) We cobbled together some wood and built a bonfire for our last evening. Smoores are sweet but are nothing compared to time spent together.

25) Faces in the dark, lit by flaming balls of burning marshmellows.

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Alan Fleming