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Published by Christina on August 19, 2012, in Recent Projects



Trail & Vistas is the only guided hike of its kind!

Celebrating it’s 9th year, Trails’ is once again aligning the stars to enchant you on a hike like no other. As this is a sell-out event, I strongly encourage you to BUY TICKETS now to ensure your participation in one of the year’s most popular events. To boot, my lovely sister, “Erika Miss America” will join an entourage of the nation’s most celebrated artists.  I hope to see you on the trail. – Christina

Beloved Chief Red Hawk with InnerRhythms Dancer on Donner Summit, photo credit Scott Thompson

What: Trails and Vistas 2012 art hikes

Where: Donner Ski Ranch, 19320 Donner Pass Road, Norden, CA  (10 minutes from Truckee, CA)

When: Saturday, Sept. 8 and Sunday, Sept. 9, 2012

Theme: The Dreaming Tree

Tickets: Available online at www.trailsandvistas.org. $30 general admission, $10 ages 5 to 12 years old.




Nonprofit organization Trails and Vistas announces Tahoe Truckee art hikes overlooking Donner Lake and the Sierra on September 8 and 9, 2012 at Donner Ski Ranch. Attendees will experience rare live musical performances, original dances, poetry readings, storytelling and installation art along a guided, moderate two-mile hike that creatively blends art and nature. The theme for the 2012 art hikes is  “The Dreaming Tree.”

Trails and Vistas performances are the only guided art hikes of their kind throughout the state. Thirty talented artists and sixty volunteers collaborate to present the signature art hikes. Artists range from world musicians and dancers to storytellers and visual artists.

Attendees chose from one of the morning or afternoon scheduled art hikes and begin a two and a half hour guided adventure through the natural world. Host sponsor Donner Ski Ranch offers sweeping views and a relaxing place to enjoy refreshments before or after the hike.

I often state that although our modern technology is wonderful, it has changed the way people interact and connect. Technological connections are not the same as physical connections. Many of us know this but the act of ‘disconnecting’ technically is so profoundly hard to do. Trails and Vistas brings that to the forefront – allowing even for just a few hours a chance to reconnect physically to each other, to the earth, and to what is truly important in our lives,” shares Patty Baird, co-owner of The Cedar House Sport Hotel, a Trails and Vistas sponsor.

The advance ticket cost for the art hikes is $30 general admission and $10 for ages 5 to 12 years old. Organizers encourage people to purchase tickets this month because the hikes often sell out in advance. If there are tickets available the day of the hike, the cost is $40. Visit www.trailsandvistas.org for tickets and more information.

2012 Artist highlights


“My art is about connection – to a place, to the earth, to people’s lives. The Dreaming Tree art hikes are sure to inspire, surprise and delight our senses,” shares Nancy Tieken Lopez, Trails and Vistas’ artistic and executive director who began designing art hikes while earning a Masters of Fine Arts from San Jose State University fifteen years ago.

Illustrator and sculptor Angelique Benicio will bring an element of mystery and magic to The Dreaming Tree.


“Native American music, especially drums, rattles and chants are a part of my culture, and, growing up, music was always inside my heart and soul,” shares Blackhawk, a 2012 art hike participant who learned music from his uncle Guy Many Horses and his grandfather Two Feathers. At the age of twenty-two, Blackhawk moved from music to become a professional kick boxer, winning four world kickboxing titles and earning an eighth degree Black Belt in karate. Now retired from kickboxing and living in Utah, Blackhawk is back in the studio sharing stories through his music. For the 2006 Trails and Vistas art hike Blackhawk shared his karate knowledge on top of a giant boulder, silently moving with power and fluidity. Blackhawk will be storytelling and playing his 12-string guitar in honor of his brother Red Hawk, a long time art hike artist, who passed away last year.

Trails and Vistas also showcases local creative talent. Poet and dancer Jean Louise Fournier has performed her poetry at Trails and Vistas for the past four years and will return with movements that show a strong connection to place. Kira Catanzaro is a performance artist and writer who has performed in Trails and Vistas since 2006. Catanzaro explains, “I turn to Mother Earth for restoration. She is my nourishment, my comfort, my teacher and my joy. I secure my roots to her heart and open my crown to share her abundant inspiration.” Her poems are an invitation to step off of the path of the mundane and into the realms of the mystic. Cathee vanRossem-St.Clair, artist, poet, storyteller and artist-in-residence for Arts For the Schools says, “Since I lifted my first crayon, storytelling and language — the language of birds, the language of the earth, and the silent language we humans use to interact with our inner and outer landscapes– have fed my art. Images from dreams, observations, and quirky musings push their way into my sketchbooks to this day.”

Aimee Lowenstern will be performing an original poem at The Dreaming Tree. After attending a previous Trails and Vistas’ hike her passion for art in nature soared and, as a Sierra School of Performing Arts student, she is one of Trails and Vistas youngest performers.


New for The Dreaming Tree art hikes is Sonja Brodt who founded Ecokinesis Dance Company and blends science and art by drawing inspiration from her career in the environmental and agricultural sciences at the University of California, Davis and from the dance traditions she has studied around the U.S. and Asia/Pacific region. Ecokinesis Dance Company seeks to increase an understanding and appreciation of the natural environment. The company fuses elements from ballet and modern dance, Hawaiian hula, East Indian folk dance and Japanese butoh to create movement that is “eloquent and flowing,” says Rasmi Simhan, Sacramento Bee Arts Critic. Meri Superak, who plays a stunning native flute, will accompany her.

A San Francisco Bay Area native, Lesley Ehrenfeld Chapman performed “The Trees Have Eyes,” her first piece for Trails and Vistas last year at Spooner Lake. When performing in nature, Chapman looks to the environment for inspiration. Her installation for The Dreaming Tree will combine sculpture, movement and mythology. “Lesley is sure to delight our eyes and imagination with grace and discovery,” promises Lopez.

InnerRhythms Dance Theatre brings unforgettable performances to Trails and Vistas each year. Elizabeth Archer is the artistic and executive director of the Truckee-based dance company as well as the performance director for Trails and Vistas art hikes. Archer and InnerRythms co-founder Sheri Woodsgreen will choreograph two pieces that will dazzle with beauty and breadth of dance for The Dreaming Tree.


New for 2012 are Billy Bensing and Kellie Garmire. Bensing, whose beautiful and passionate vocals have been compared to James Taylor and Neil Young, has spent much of his life traveling the world and sharing his talents as a singer and songwriter with guitar and mandolin. At the age of 16, along with his sisters and mother, Bensing moved to Paris, France. Guitar in hand he immersed himself in the language and culture. After three years his family moved to Sydney Australia. Settling in Sydney, Bensing continued writing songs and performing. Determined to pursue his song-writing career, he relocated to Los Angeles, where he recorded and performed successfully for several years. Yearning for a more tranquil and natural lifestyle, Bensing visited the Sierra Nevada foothills where he found what he was looking for and settled in Grass Valley. He quickly found steady work and began to network with other musicians. In 2005 his collaboration with Mary Youngblood, the renowned American Indian flutist, was featured in a Grammy Award winning CD called “Dance with the Wind.” Born in Chico and raised in the Central Valley, Kellie Garmire relishes in the creativity that music and song bring to her life. She will perform with Bensing.

Also new for The Dreaming Tree is classical guitarist Louis Valentine Johnson who has performed as a soloist throughout the US, Europe and South America and has collaborated with symphony orchestras and gifted musicians from all over the world.

World musician Emily Tessmer will return to Trails and Vistas 2012. She is a Truckee resident and explains, “I believe that we are living in very special times where sharing your light with the world is of the utmost importance. Music is the language of the heart, which transcends all time and space, and with a gentle hand can remind one of their divine essence.” She has been writing, recording and performing music for 17 years.

On Sunday, the Banana Slug String Band from Santa Cruz will also perform. The band has played at hundreds of venues across the country and Canada, and their playful tunes explore environment stewardship. Families with children will especially enjoy the fun band.

The Dreaming Tree host sponsor is Donner Ski Ranch. Additional sponsors include The Cedar House Sport Hotel, Hampton Inn & Suites, Kelly Brothers Painting, Moody’s Bistro & Beats, The Richardson House, Tahoe Truckee Community Foundation, The Truckee Donner Chamber of Commerce and The Truckee Hotel. Media partners include Cap Radio, 101.5, Moonshine Ink, Sierra Sun and The Weekly.

Visit www.trailsandvistas.org for the most up to date event news and list of 2012 participating artists.

About Trails and Vistas

Trails and Vistas is a non-profit organization based in Truckee, CA. Nancy Tieken Lopez started art hikes while earning a Masters of Fine Arts from San Jose State University, and she collaborated with local non-profit organizations to design the first Trails and Vistas art hike in 2004. Trails and Vistas’ mission is to create art experiences in nature that inspire environmental awareness. The distinctive art hikes are a collaborative effort led by founder and artistic director Nancy Tieken Lopez and co-director Elizabeth Archer with vital support from volunteers and regional environment and arts organizations including the Truckee Donner Land Trust, InnerRhythms Dance Theatre and the KidZone Museum. Visit www.trailsandvistas.org for tickets and more information.