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The holiday season officially starts in our little corner of the Lost Sierra on the first weekend in December. There is nothing sweeter than the community spirit evident at the two holiday celebrations; one in Portola, the other in Graeagle.

Festivities kick off Friday night with Portola’s Light Parade and Christmas Fair. Despite the chilly evening, Commercial Street was lined with families eager to see this year’s line-up of illuminated parade entrants. They weren’t disappointed as once again the local businesses and organizations created a festive atmosphere with their brightly lit vehicles and holiday-themed floats.

The central bonfire was a popular spot to warm up between shopping at the old-fashioned Christmas fair booths, watching the parade, checking raffle tickets to see if you’d won one of the dozens of donated gift baskets and waiting for the tree to be lit. Christmas music flowed throughout the evening and a warm, neighborly time was had by all.

On Saturday the festivities move to Graeagle. The businesses in the little red shops that line highway 89 are open for early Christmas shopping, each one offering some type of treat for shoppers, either a signature beverage or snack. It’s a very festive shopping experience with a couple hundred of your closest friends!

Santa always makes a visit and the horse-drawn sleigh delights kids of all ages as it makes its way through town. Due to the loss of half of the team of horses that have drawn the sleigh for many years, this year’s sleigh was pulled by a tractor decorated for the holiday. Adults like me seemed to be much more disappointed than the kids who didn’t seem to mind at all.

The bonfire was again a big draw as everyone gathered on the lawn to listen to music by Danny Horton and cross their fingers in hopes they’d win the gift basket full of Graeagle Bucks and treats as they awaited the tree lighting. Nature provided an amazing complement to the man-made visuals with a nearly full moon rising through the trees as the huge pine tree came alive with colored lights.

If you’re looking for festivities that bring out the true spirit of the holidays, make a note to be in the Lost Sierra the first weekend of December next year.

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Some days, I just don’t feel up to taking on the elements. My sister was in town visiting and the wind was howling and the cloud cover was making a hike seem more like effort and less like joy so we decided to see nature through a completely different lens—through art.

We’re fortunate to have in Graeagle a truly inspiring art gallery aptly named, Red House Art Gallery. It’s housed in a little red house on the green in “downtown” Graeagle and is open year-round. The owners, Toni and Brian Carl, bring in many local artists’ work as well as art they discover on their travels. They have a keen eye for finding engaging art of the natural world, whether paintings, photography, jewelry, glass or ceramics.

On this particular day the sun periodically broke through the clouds adding spotlights of illumination to an already perfectly lighted gallery. What a rich and luscious visual experience it was! Every time I go into the gallery I am reminded how much I love experiencing the world through others’ perspective.

As winter approaches and the weather turns colder, don’t forget that you can have a wonderful experience of the great outdoors by visiting the Red House Art Gallery.  www.RedHouseArt.net

 

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Oct. 28 was a perfect fall afternoon for a pool party. Warm sun, clear skies and more than 300 guests celebrated the grandeur of Altitude, Nakoma’s new 12,500-square-foot, one-of-a-kind recreation center located in the heart of the resort.

Beer and wine flowed, along with a nearly endless stream of finger foods from Altitude’s bistro. While the kids challenged themselves on the climbing wall, adults toured Altitude taking in the fitness room, yoga loft, theater and Apex game room. The spacious pool deck was the perfect place to sample an array of culinary offerings and enjoy the late afternoon sun.

Altitude’s scale and aesthetic had the crowd buzzing, not to mention the extensive recreation options offered for all ages. The positive energy ran well into the evening, when many of our guests moved the celebration to Nakoma’s Frank Lloyd Wright-designed Clubhouse for dinner. 

Altitude offers year-round recreation for overnight guests at the Lodge at Nakoma and Nakoma community members, so plan a getaway to Nakoma and experience firsthand this wonderful new amenity.
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I love volunteering. I get to use my skills in different settings and feel good about supporting groups I believe in. Sometimes volunteering is about the mission of the organization and sometimes it’s simply about having some fun with people I know. And sometimes, like last night, the two come together.

Last night was the opening of the Grinduro festival, the newest of the Triple Crown biking events that raise money for Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship, a mighty local organization that builds and maintains outdoor hiking/biking trails in Plumas, Lassen and Tahoe national forests. This organization is worthy of its own post, but suffice it to say that these folks accomplish a LOT and have a darn good time doing it.

Grinduro is a cycling event and festival that combines the best elements of a mountain bike enduro with a gravel grinder-style road race. Festivities include two days of excellent food, a handmade bike show, an art exhibit, live music and camping.
My “job” was to sell all kinds of Grinduro-branded merchandise from T-shirts to socks, gloves, hats and jerseys. Not a difficult task at all since the merchandise was all great looking and participants seemed eager to support SBTS and memorialize the event with cool gear.

I met some really interesting folks from all over the western United States and even a couple from Europe! Some were hard core cyclists eager for the competition and some were casual cyclists who wanted to try something new. All were intrigued by the event and happy to be spending the weekend in Quincy riding the trails and supporting the hard work of SBTS.

There were food trucks with a great variety of culinary delights to try and fire pits to warm us while we dined. The entertainment started after dark with an inspiring movie about the vision and work of SBTS, then live music under the stars. It was a fabulous way to spend a Friday night, and for festival participants, it was just the warm-up for a weekend-long fun-fest.

If you’re looking for a fun way to become part of the community, consider attending a local fund-raising event or even volunteering. Your contribution will certainly be appreciated. Learn more about Sierra Buttes Trail Stewardship Here.

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We in the Lost Sierra know that the Historic Longboard Revival Race Series provides some of the greatest family-friendly winter entertainment available. But as of today the event is no longer our little secret.

The cover of the September 21st issue of Powder Magazine features a photo of the women winners of the World Championship Longboard Revival Series Race held in March, 2017 at the Johnsville Ski Bowl and the issue contains a great article about the event.

Written by David Page with photography from David Reddick, the 8-page article covers last March’s World Championship race and much of the history and lore behind the races. It’s a great read with terrific photography including some historic photos you may not have seen before. Grab a copy from the newsstands or subscribe HERE.

The 2018 Historic Longboard Revival Race Series will be held the third Sunday in January, February and March of 2018. Learn more about this crazy backwoods fun at Plumas Ski Club’s website.



Left: 2nd place Sarah Johnstone
Middle: 1st place Jessica Nelson
Right: 3rd place Austyn Harrington

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Fortified by a beautiful blue sky and bloody Marys, players in the Nakoma Education Fund Golf Tournament raised more more than $11,000 for Portola Jr.-Sr. High School on Sept. 13.

Forty golfers took on each other and the Dragon golf course to have fun and raise money for Portola Jr.-Sr. High’s tech program needs. The $11,130 raised is the highest amount so far in the history of the NEF tournament, eclipsing last year’s total by more than $3,300.

“I was thrilled when I saw the NEF check in my office,” said school Principal Sara Sheridan. “Our school community is so grateful for the amazing generosity and support of Nakoma.”

Funds from the 2017 tournament will go directly toward technology at Portola Jr.-Sr. High, as the school needs more laptops and upgrades in classroom instructional technology.

Nakoma’s 2016 NEF golf tournament raised $7,784, with the proceeds going to C. Roy Carmichael Elementary School’s computer lab.

That private-sector funding is important for small, rural schools because it allows administrators to provide unique opportunities for students.

Sheridan said that in the past Portola High has used donated funds to send students on college visits, build computer labs and purchase innovative technology such as 3D printers and Mind Storm Robots.

Kate Rowden, Nakoma’s membership and group coordinator and Portola High graduate, said that addition to entry fees, Nakoma raised money through donated raffle and silent auction items. Those items were supplied by local individuals and businesses who recognize the importance of supporting education in Eastern Plumas County.

“We intend to grow the Nakoma Education Fund tournament in coming years and in so doing increase the amount we can give back to our students and their teachers.”

Nakoma Resort staff thanks all the sponsors of the 2017 NEF tournament and the participating golfers who came out to play for such a worthwhile cause. We will be announcing the September 2018 NEF tournament date as well as new fundraising initiatives early in the new year.

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One of the most satisfying aspects of living in a small community is knowing that you can make a positive impact by supporting local non-profit organizations. We are lucky in the Lost Sierra that so many people give their time and energy to a multitude of non-profits which take on important missions such as preserving the area’s cultural and historical legacy, expanding recreation opportunities, providing services to the community and so much more. The fundraising events are usually creative, fun and unifying for the community.

Today I got to experience a brand new collaboration between local brewery The Brewing Lair and High Sierra Animal Rescue (HSAR), a no-kill shelter committed to saving homeless pets and advancing pet welfare.

The Brewing Lair is a home grown brewery with some outrageously good beer set in a little corner of the forest, just perfect enjoying a cold brew or round of disc golf. It’s a lovely spot for an afternoon picnic on any day, but today there were great raffle prizes to support HSAR plus delicious food from the Red Truck out of Truckee and live music from local band Prescribed Burn to add to the ambience. The Brewing Lair generously donated $2 from every beer purchased to HSAR.

What could be better than an afternoon spent hanging out with friends in a beautiful outdoor setting enjoying a delicious brew or two listening to a great local band while raising money for an extremely worthwhile cause? It doesn’t get much better than this in my book.

If you don’t know about this fine organization, High Sierra Animal Rescue is a no-kill shelter in the Lost Sierra that also offers dog boarding, so if you’re in the area and need to leave Fido for a night, now you know where to go.

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