Grandparents and Grandkids Bond At Clair Tappaan Lodge
Every year the Sierra Club's "Just for Grandparents and Grandkids" national outings fill up as soon as the dates are announced. Two were held this year.
Lodging and meals are provided at the Club's historic Clair Tappaan Lodge, near Donner Summit in the northern Sierra Nevada. Participants hike, swim, raft, go on treasure hunts, listen to presentations by rangers and historians, and just hang out together in the beautiful setting, 7,000 feet up in the Tahoe National Forest.
"It's an amazing experience for grandparents and kids to be at the lodge together," says Jane Risk, who with her husband Jerry led their first Grandparents & Grandkids outing the first week of August. "When people walk in they see the huge fireplace, the library, all the decks and porches up in the treetops. Many grandparents say they wish they'd known about the lodge when they were children."
Among this year's highlights were picnicking and swimming at Donner Lake, hiking on the Pacific Crest Trail followed by an ice cream stop at the Soda Springs Store, riding the cable car to the high camp at Squaw Valley, and making s'mores around the campfire at the lodge. One evening the director of a local animal shelter gave a presentation where kids got to handle several domesticated animals, including two pythons.
"So many children these days don't get to have these kinds of experiences," says Risk. "As Club members we want to get people and children outdoors so they'll feel passionate about conservation. Children and even parents aren't getting outdoors enough—many parents don't have the time. But grandparents do, and it's a fantastic way to bond with grandchildren."
The Risks credit Roz and Derek Bray, who have led Grandparents & Grandkids outings for several years, for inspiring them to become leaders themselves this August.
All photos by Jane Risk except top photo by Marilyn Howard and second photo, far left, by Art Dana.