Winter has come to Martis Camp and the high country. And beyond the crackling fires and frosted window panes of civilization, life goes on – a life far different than the one played out under summer skies. This is the time when animals hunker down, forests go silent, and man swaps golf clubs and tennis rackets for snowshoes and skinny sticks.
This is Martis Camp under cover.
Here, across nearly 2,200 acres of forest and meadow, is where mother nature and human nature seamlessly coexist. Located in Martis Valley at the base of Northstar California’s Lookout Mountain, Martis Camp is a community of 671 Luxury Lake Tahoe Estates quietly situated between Truckee and that stretch of water more than a mile high and 1,600 feet deep known as Lake Tahoe. By summer, Tahoe’s one of the world’s great playgrounds. For now, however, her beaches are quiet and the world around her is still. Very still. But any illusion of life being on pause is exactly that – an illusion.
Meantime, somewhere in the deep woods, a black bear and her cubs are settling in for a long, slow sleep in dens made of rocks, roots, and rotted out trees.
Deer move more slowly, seeking shelter from the storms…and nourishing blades of grass or twigs.
In the frosty riffles of Martis Creek and the Truckee River, the American Dipper is busy bouncing from boulder to boulder in search of a meal. A year-round resident, this industrious bird seems to be constantly bobbing in local streams, whether in the warmth of summer or the dead of winter.
In the snows covering grassy meadows, foxes and coyotes keep a close ear to the snow, ready to pounce on voles traveling a network of dirt-lined tunnels that resemble a small-scale subway system. Chipmunks continue to do what chipmunks like to do, in spite of the chill: they keep busy, just as kids do…albeit in more comfortable surroundings.
Just beyond the Martis Camp Family Barn and Concert Lake, another round of winter approaches as a raven – known for its antics and intelligence – plots his return to the forest roost while birds of a different feather arrive…and others head south. At the same time, on the banks of Martis Creek, low hanging branches of willow and pine continue to add on to their chandeliers of ice.
Against a backdrop of white, mother nature never ceases to entertain. Even the onset of a new storm carries a sense of anticipation, challenging each animal to find its own means of survival.
Of all the animals present at Martis Camp, however, perhaps the most fickle and industrious of them all…is man himself. For some, it’s the season for a warm fire and a good book. Many are drawn beyond the comforts of home and hearth to take on the challenge of the slopes, while others prefer the quietude of a trail. They’ll hang lights in trees, send fireworks to the skies, and find a multitude of means and reasons for avoiding any semblance of hibernation.
Winter has settled in for the season. Spring and summer will come, sooner rather than later. But for now, it’s a time to celebrate Martis Camp…under cover.
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