Alpine County’s newest resident |

Alpine County’s newest resident

by Lisa Gavon
Alpine Bureau
Jason and Amanda Lyons, with baby Sierra Noel. Sierra was the first baby born to Alpine County parents in 2016.
Lisa Gavon | Special to The R-C

It was a good thing her car broke down. Amanda Craft went into Woodfords Auto to get help with the repairs, and it was there that she met the love of her life. Jason Lyons was the mechanic on duty and fixed her vehicle. Until this intersection, they had led parallel lives here in Alpine County, growing up only two blocks from each other. Being in different grades, they had never actually met before. It was easy for them to fall in love, sharing so many similar values and experiences, albeit in different years.

Jason was born in Carson City, and Amanda was born in South Lake Tahoe. Both Jason and Amanda moved to Woodfords with their families when they were about 8 years old, and took naturally to the rugged outdoor lifestyle. They attended Diamond Valley School, and each of them were homeschooled for several years. Jason graduated from Douglas High School in 1996, and Amanda graduated in 2005.

After high school they left Alpine County to explore the world. Amanda attended college in Reno, and Jason moved to Idaho. It took each of them 6 months to realize how much they missed it here, and to head back home. Amanda has always had a gift with children, and has been working at The Early Learning Center for over 10 years. Jason worked with the Forest Service and at Woodfords Auto until he received a permanent position with USFS in 2008.

In a ceremony uniquely their own, they were married at sunrise on October 19, 2014 surrounded by a happy group of friends and family. The geese flew overhead as they took their vows, and the rays of sunlight played across the waters of Indian Creek behind them. They had a breakfast buffet, and spent the day where they like to be the best: outdoors in the forest.

Their daughter, Sierra Noel Lyons, is the first baby born to Alpine County parents in 2016. She entered the world at Barton Memorial Hospital at South Lake Tahoe, weighing in at 6 pounds, 2 ounces. Being the newest resident of the least populated county in California, she is .09 percent (nine hundredth of a percent) of the population. In contrast, if she was born in city like San Francisco, with the amount of people living there estimated at around half a million, she would be .0002 percent (two ten thousands of a percent) of the population. It is a significant difference. She is born into a place where an election can be won or lost by just one vote, and where the wild critters far outnumber the humans. Statistically, there are slightly less than two people per square mile, and that makes it a pretty special place to live.

Jason says, “I would like to show her the same sort of childhood I had.” He has fond memories of living what he calls a “High Mountain Ranger” sort of existence. He would ride his bike, go fishing, and spend the majority of his time outside. Amanda feels the same, having spent her growing up years riding horses with neighbor Cami Chavez on beautiful mountain trails. They both describe their upbringings as being “at a different pace” and “enchanting”.

They have learned the skills of self sufficiency, being prepared in any wilderness situation. Jason is adept at repairing, building, and restoring, and Amanda is skilled at canning, sewing, and keeping the home-fires burning. Recognizing that the Alpine lifestyle is demanding, both are thankful to their parents for the opportunity to grow up here. They want to offer their daughter the same wondrous experience.

Sierra Noel Lyons is already her own person. With dogs barking, and people laughing and talking, she remains peaceful and at ease. She is surrounded by the love of her family, and welcomed warmly into the Alpine County community.