Mountain Times: Snow, alligators and Christmas trees | SierraSun.com

Mountain Times: Snow, alligators and Christmas trees

Norm Nicholls
Special to the Sun

TRUCKEE/TAHOE, Calif. and#8212; What a great dump of snow to get the ski season kicked off! And, it looks like Alpine not only saw the snow, but also and#8220;the lightand#8221; and has decided to open on Friday. All the ski areas have a lot of work in front of them, but it looks like good skiing for the early birds and the Christmas holidays is an almost certainty!

A week ago Alice and I were with good friends, Bill and Pat Johnson of Tahoe Donner, in Doral, Fla., (Miami area) enjoying great weather, a fabulous golf course and the wonders of the Everglades.

During our week together, we played several rounds of golf at the greatest golf complex I have ever been to, ate way too much food, and we took several sight-seeing tours. The weather was partly cloudy, fairly low humidity and temperatures in the 70s and low 80s.

I personally left the fairways at Doral in great shape since I played most of my many, many shots from the roughs and traps. Not a stellar performance, but what a great experience and#8230; thanks Pat and Bill for asking us to join you.

We also spent a couple of days discovering the Florida Everglades. The Everglades cover thousands upon thousands of acres of Southern Florida and is one of the largest wildlife and habitat refuges in the world. As usual, man has created changes that have affected the habitat of this special region due to development and the demand for fresh water in the Southern Florida area during much of the 20th century.

Thanks to efforts by naturalists, environmentalists and the National Park System, great effort is being made to correct the damage and to restore this huge area. Per the park brochure and#8220;Everglades National Park is the first national park that was created to protect a threatened ecological system.and#8221;

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We enjoyed viewing the birds which included egrets, herons, ibis, pelicans, anhinga, vultures, osprey and many other species. And alligators … we saw quite a few during our excursions and while driving along the waterways of the Everglades. Some of them were sleeping and sunning, some just crawling along, and we saw a few swimming with their legs dangling to the side and propelling themselves with their massive tails. We were also delighted to see a pod of nearly a dozen and#8220;bottle nosedand#8221; dolphins that were attracted by one of our tour boats.

We definitely had a great time in Florida, but we are happy to be home for the holiday season and the start of ski season.

Christmas trees: Yes, it is that time of year and the and#8220;Truckee Optimist Cluband#8221; will be setting up their Christmas Tree lot at Crossroads Shopping Center at the corner of Highway 89 and Deerfield Drive this Saturday. The Boy Scouts will also be setting up their lot next to Mountain Hardware.

Both lots are manned strictly by volunteers, and all monetary proceeds go directly to programs, activities, and major scholarships for the kids of the Truckee/Tahoe area.

I helped cut some of the local red fir trees and they look great. We will also be importing Noble and Grand Firs from Oregon and our driver says the quality of those trees are also exceptional this year.

And please do not forget and#8220;Truckee Community Christmasand#8221; and their efforts to make this Christmas a happy time for all. Please look for further information in the Sun, or call 587-5257. Or, simply write a check and mail it to PO Box 2955, Truckee, CA 96160. Thanks so much!

Norm and Alan Nicholls of the Nicholls Real Estate group are affiliated with Dickson Realty at 11500 Donner Pass Rd. in Truckee.