Cold and snow no excuse to stop hiking Tahoe Basin

One of the highlights of winter hiking in the Sierra Nevada is the surreal calm of the forest under a blanket of snow.

There are very few leaves to rustle and, when the snow is powdery, not even footsteps make a noise.

That’s why the sudden burst of birdsong on a recent trip to Chickadee Ridge was such a pleasant surprise. One moment a group of Tahoe Rim Trail Association members was walking through the forest and enjoying the silence when the trees burst to life.

Chickadees fluttered over and around the group chirping and, presumably, looking for a handout. No one gave the birds any food because it’s not good to feed wildlife. But that didn’t stop the chickadees from trying, many going so far to land on people who stopped for too long.

The opportunity to share those kinds of unexpected moments are why the association is leading a series of winter hikes this season. The idea, according to trails director Lindsey Schultz, is to remind people there’s no bad season to experience the Tahoe Basin. That’s assuming people take winter precautions.

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