Just a couple miles north of Truckee, a pristine mountain meadow was bursting with wildflowers, stretching below snowcapped peaks and mixed conifer forests for hundreds of acres. I was setting eyes on it for the first time ever, and it was every bit as beautiful as I had dreamed.
The meadow was saturated in green. Willows dotted the horizon. A quiet creek bent in horseshoe-like shapes, flowing downstream to the Truckee River. Black bears, bobcats, mountain lions roam this land, as do deer, beavers, squirrels and many species of birds. This valley is habitat for endangered species and hundreds of species of plants. The landscape is unaltered, appearing much as it did before European settlers first arrived in the Sierra Nevada in the early 1800s.