Sorensen’s Resort: 1,000 ounces of gold well spent

The Sierra Nevada range runs 400 miles north-to-south and 70 miles east-to-west in California and Nevada. The history of the area leaps out at you when you see signs signaling the Donner and Carson Passes and Emigrant Gap, along with vista stops and markers that tell the story of the early explorers and settlers. Wonderful names like Eldorado, Echo and Loon Lakes, Sugar Pine Point, Gold Run, Dutch Flat and Desolation Wilderness sprinkle the area.

Sorensen’s Resort was our destination. It sits at a 7,000 foot altitude, on the eastern edge of picturesque Hope Valley, south of Lake Tahoe. Martin Sorensen built a cabin there in the 1890s. Guests were welcomed in 1926.

In 1982 the current owners, Patty and John Brissenden, purchased the resort under unusual circumstances. The seller insisted on being paid in gold. At the time, gold was $410 an ounce and the purchase price settled upon was 1,000 ounces.

Sorensen’s Resort is open year-round and features 29 log cabins in a 165-acre compound setting. Our cabin was comfortable, with a queen bed, kitchenette, microwave, wood-burning fireplace, loft and bathroom with shower.

Forget about with-fi! This is a perfect spot to take a digital vacation.

There’s a cafe that’s quite good, serving breakfast, lunch and dinner. Complimentary wine, coffee, tea and hot chocolate is served throughout the day.

There’s also a wood-fired sauna, but the star of the show is the location. We took a scenic hike through the aspens — the trailhead was practically at our doorstep. It’s also a perfect spot for fishing, hiking, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, bicycling, exploring or just relaxing. Quite a purchase for 1,000 ounces of gold. Logon to for further information.

Travel Tips: A quick drive to Grover Hot Springs State Park,, is a must. There are hiking trails, Alpine meadows, campsites, a gift shop and visitor center and two outdoor spring-fed pools. One is cooled down to 102 to 104 degrees (the temperature coming from the earth is 147!). The other is kept at 70 to 78 degrees.

You can find a superb travel guide to the 25 million acres of the Sierra Nevada at

One of the delights of California road trips is discovering great food in surprising places. Here are three: Ali’s in Markleeville, Marty’s Cafe in Truckee and, my personal favorite, 88 Giant Burgers to Go in Pine Grove.

For high altitude safety and health, hydrate often, take clothing layers for temperature changes, watch your alcohol intake, wear good walking/hiking shoes and a hat and, of course, use sunscreen.

Enjoy the journey…



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Howard Hian

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