Inside this newsletter:

Gear Gyrl | Summer Lineup | Hike Leader Highlight |Conservation Corner |From the Chairs |From the Outings Chair | From the Treasurer


If you have a conservation article, a poem, or and outdoor tip, etc., please share it with us by sending it to:

Please put "Rainbow Sierrans content" in the subject line.   

We look forward to your contributions.  We may edit for length.   Thanks!



Camping and Dark Skies Festival at Lassen Volcanic National Park

Thursday through Sunday, August 1-4, 2019    

The Rainbow Sierrans are excited to return to Lassen for a long weekend of hiking, stargazing and swimming in pristine (okay, sometimes freezing) mountain lakes. This scenic and geologically interesting park offers a wide variety of hikes of various lengths, some through areas of geothermal activity, such as Bumpass Hell, many others scaling peaks and wooded areas, offering numerous swimming opportunities. This special Rainbow Sierrans camping trip coincides with the annual Lassen Dark Skies Festival: two days of talks, stargazing with astronomers, and workshops and other star-oriented activities. Hike during the day, learn about the night sky after dark, and hang out at camp and on the trail with friends from the Rainbow Sierrans. What could be better?

Labor Day at the Lake:  Lake Tahoe Group Camp Friday- Sunday, August 30- Sept 2.     

Join us at beautiful Sugar Pine Point State Park (along the western, quiet shores of Lake Tahoe about ten miles south of Tahoe City on Highway 89)  The Sugar Pine Point area has been a favorite for locals and visitors for over two hundred years, and the Rainbow Sierrans have enjoyed several summer camping trips here as well.

The park offers incredible views, a historic estate, the tallest pine trees in the world, peaceful camping, and wonderful hiking opportunities.

Gear Gyrl with Sylvie Hessini


                           Hiking-The Ten Essentials

Packing the “Ten Essentials” whenever you step into the backcountry, even on day hikes, is a good habit.  Though you may consistently use only a few items, should something go awry you’ll appreciate the value of carrying these items that could be essential to your survival.


The Ten Essentials Systems

1.  Navigation: map, compass, altimeter, GPS device, personal locator beacon satellite messenger         

2.  Headlamp: plus extra batteries.

3.  Sun protection:sunglasses, sunscreen, hat and sun-protective clothing.

4.  First aid:including foot care and insect repellent, as needed.

5.  Knife: plus a gear repair kit, including duct tape.

6.  Extra food:beyond the minimum expectation.

7.  Extra water:beyond the minimum expectation.

8.  Extra clothes:beyond the minimum expectation.

9.  Fire: matches, lighter and possibly a stove.

10. Shelter: can be a light emergency bivvy.

The exact items from each system that you take can be tailored to the trip you’re taking.  For example, on a short day hike that’s easy to navigate, you may choose to stick with water, food, extra clothing layers, sun protection, map and compass.  On a longer, more complex outing, you may decide to carry all these tools to help you.  When deciding what to bring, consider factors like weather, difficulty, duration and distance from help.

Happy Hiking!         

Hike Leader Highlight        



Meet Karen Lee ~ 

I grew up in Southern California and moved to the SF Bay Area in 1987.  I currently live in Orinda and love “living in the trees.”

When I was looking for other lesbians to hike with, I found the Gay and Lesbian Sierrans Meetup (now Rainbow Sierrans) and truly enjoyed the community.  There seemed to be a need for hikes between 5 and 7 miles so I became a hike leader.

I like leading events because it’s fun to enjoy the outdoors with like-minded people and share with them places I love to go.  It’s also fun to teach a new sport like aerobie golf and have others share in the excitement. I love connecting with people and being a part of helping others connect.

I have been leading hikes for the Rainbow Sierrans for two and a half years.  However, since I tweaked my knee in January, I have been unable to lead long hikes so I have been leading aerobie golf events. It’s been a lot of fun!

When I’m not hiking or playing aerobie golf, I like to explore new areas, travel (National Parks are my favorite), get together with friends or meet new friends, play mahjong, play ping-pong, put together jigsaw puzzles, take pictures, and do accounting for the nonprofit Seventh-day Adventist Kinship International.

Whenever my life gets stressed out or rigid, I put on the song “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.  It always puts a smile on my face and helps me relax.

My favorite hike is The Narrows in Zion National Park.  On the one hand, I feel so small between the high red rock walls.  On the other hand, it is such a spiritual place that I feel so safe and loved and connected to an awesome God.

Conservation Corner 


Thoughts about Carpooling

I know - and you probably do too, about the benefits of carpooling. You reduce your carbon footprint by getting cars off the road; if all twelve hikers pile into three cars instead of instead of twelve you’re at a 75% carbon footprint savings for the hike if I did the math correctly.  If all four hikers in the car split the cost of gas and park entrance fee (if there is one) then you’ll have enough to buy that micro-brew or snack at the end of the hike.  And, all of you can consider ourselves as not responsible for the heavy traffic on the ride home.  It’s an all- around feel good as long as you’re riding with others who follow carpool etiquette.  Carpool what?

Here are some things to consider when carpooling:

 For the carpool driver –

-       Announce a central meeting spot, time to meet, and how many can ride safely in your       car 

-       Let everyone know when your car has been filled

-       Double check that your car is tidy

-       Only offer pooling if you and your car are insured

-       Wait to have that after hike adult beverage until your home

-       Double check that seat belts are available for all poolers

-       Make sure you have your pooler’s cell numbers-just in case, and that they have yours

-       Announce any car rules you may have such as smoking, eating, drinking, etc.


For the carpoolers–

-       Make sure you have your carpool drivers cell number

-       Arrive ready and on time

-       Offer to pitch in for gas and entrance fees (don’t wait for the driver to ask)

-       Arrive showered with clean clothes

-       Refrain from wearing perfume or cologne

-       Don’t ask for special stops

-       Bring a plastic bag for muddy hiking shoes, and bring a change of shoes

One last thing, any carpool distance is a winning situation. For example, maybe you choose to meet at the Mill Valley Park and Ride to carpool to the Rock Springs parking lot instead of meeting at the El Cerrito Bart Station.  If that’s what you can do,it still makes a difference. 

 From the Chairs with Paget Valentzas and Anita Bowen

Hello Lovely Rainbow Sierrans!

Paget and I hope everyone has been getting outside!  The evening hikes in Tilden this summer have been a bit of a discovery for me as there are fewer people and the light is magical.  As we enjoy the outdoors, I like to keep in mind what we can do to protect our planet.

There has been a recycling revolution happening these last few years and it is rather complicated.  The term “aspirational recycling” seems to describe a great deal of the earnest recycling we have been doing.  If you want to know more, read this article put out by the Sierra Club:

My take away is to support a concept called Product Stewardship or Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR).  In a nutshell this is a strategy where the producer has to take responsibility for the “end of life” of any product and packaging. This is a very powerful way of putting pressure/responsibility on the corporations for waste.  This system has successfully been in place in Europe for over a decade.

Here are two links for further exploration:

Anyone interested?  Let’s get together and figure out how we can get involved!

On a different note Paget found this quiz put out by CNN to test your climate change knowledge.  It was super interesting to do and the results are surprising.

Climate Change quiz

Paget and Anita


Rainbow Sierrans Needs Outings Leaders

If you enjoy the outdoors and have some leadership skills, please consider becoming a Sierra Club outings leader. Because the demand for our outings often exceeds the supply, we could really use a few more leaders! If you have enjoyed several Rainbow Sierrans’ outings, you may feel called to give back to the organization and join our team of enthusiastic volunteers. You may have favorite hikes you would like to share with others, but if you don’t, our leadership team can share some trails that are tried and true. Even if you can only lead a few outings each year, we are still grateful for your contribution. We all appreciate the thoughtful planning competent organization that goes into our outings. This happens because the Sierra Club trains its leaders to provide an enjoyable experience for all participants as we explore, enjoy, and protect the planet.

Follow these steps to become an outings leader:

1. You must first be a current member of both the Sierra Club and Rainbow Sierrans.

2. Complete the Sierra Club online Outings Leader Basic Training 101. The new OLT Learners guide may be downloaded from the Rainbow Sierrans website. A face-to-face OLT 101 course—if it is offered—also meets this requirement.

3. First Aid. Each outings leader must maintain first aid certification. This is required for us to be covered under the Sierra Club's insurance. The SF Bay Chapter offers first aid training several times each year, or as another option, RS will reimburse $75 of the cost of a first aid course from other providers.

4. Co-lead two hikes. You must co-lead two hikes with a hike leader who is RS certified, and you must be the primary organizer of one of the hikes.

5. When you have completed the above requirements, please scan your first aid card and your OLT 101 certificate and email them to the RS Outings Chair at this address:

If you have questions or feel ready to step up, please contact:

Your devoted Outings Chair,

Ann Lehr

From Treasurer, Kat Zumbach 



Hello Rainbow Sierrans, 

We are now more than halfway through the year, and I wanted to give you an overview of what your membership dues, donations, camping trip, and event contributions pay for and how we keep it all going.

So far this year we have been kayaking and camping at the Channel Islands, Green Creek, and Lassen. Some explored tide pools at the Younger Lagoon.  We are looking forward to Labor Day camping, our annual member picnic, and our holiday party. We also have hike leader training and first aid certification for our lovely hike leaders that keep our club active and outdoors. 

To accomplish all of this, we rent a storage unit to store our supplies and equipment needed for our events. We maintain a website that allows us to manage our memberships, take payments, send out email blasts for camping trips and other fun events, and publish newsletters. We also use Meetup for hikes, and a payment processing system.  Plus, did I mention our hike leaders?  We like to show them our appreciation for all of their hard work and the many hikes they’ve led. 

This year to date we have generated $16,700 in contributions with expenses at $14,600.



Outings and Camping -  $13,455.00 Membership Dues - $3,344.00

Outings and Camping - $10,080.00

Membership - $1,324.00

Administration - $3,200.00

What do these expenses mean? Camping and Outings are for just that, expenses for campsites and outings like Kayaking. Membership expenses are for the holiday party and the annual picnic.  Administration is for PayPal fees, the storage unit, and Website expenses. 

We still have five months of expenses to pay for and a fabulous holiday party to throw.  The only income generated between now and the end of the year will be from membership dues and donations and I estimate another $3,000 in expenses by the end of the year.  Without your membership and event contributions, we would not be able to do what we do.  


With appreciation, 

Kat Zumbach Treasurer, Rainbow Sierrans

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