By, Sarah C.
After eight months of the repetitive school year routine, summer is when young people have time to try new things. Although some are lucky enough to travel to foreign countries or other states, many end up staying in town due to expenses and time commitments. A travel alternative to extravagant trips is backpacking. Penner Lake, in the Tahoe National Forest, is one of the better places to camp in northern California. Although the drive from the Bay Area to Placer County is around four hours, the breathtaking views are worth the wait. From the trailhead in Emigrant Gap, the hike to Penner Lake is three miles, which is reasonable even for those who are inexperienced backpackers. While the hike isn’t far, the trail is not clearly marked, making a map and compass required. Once at Penner Lake, there are multiple secluded spots to pitch a tent and set up camp. The lake, with crystal clear water, is a great swimming spot. For the adventurous, other hikes are easily accessible from penner, many of which pass by other impressive lakes. Although the sprawling granite landscape is a highlight of the area, one small aspect that I appreciated the most was the silence. Those who live in the city are constantly being exposed to background chatter that is so common we barely notice it. However, being in a place without the sounds of cars honking and people talking is a very calming experience. It is easier to appreciate the beauty of places like Penner Lake without the distractions of the city.
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