Thursday, December 6, 2007

Marmots at Squaw Valley High Camp

Marmots also known as woodchucks or groundhogs can be seen in the higher parts of the Sierra Nevada. The High Camp at Squaw Valley is an easily accessible place to look for them or to listen to their high-pitched squeaks. I have seen plenty of marmots there this August. My favorite trail is Emigrant Peak Trail that leads you into a westward direction away from the ski lift spaghetti towards the Pacific Rim Trail. This is marmot territory. I saw them chasing around or sun-bathing on rocks. If you are getting too close, they may hide under a rock pile. If you are quiet and patient, they eventually may carefully raise their head above their protective rock to see what is going on.

Getting there. From the Olympic Village in Squaw Valley you can either take the cable car or hike uphill (about 2 hours, some steep parts) to High Camp. Once there, take the High Camp Loop Trail that continues as Siberia Basin Trail which turns into Emigrant Peak Trail. Emigrant Peak (about 2,900m high) offers a panoramic view. And the marmots shouldn't be far away.

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