Tahoe!

Many people have bucket lists –  things they want to do and places they want to go before they die.  I have a list, but don’t call it a bucket list, it’s just a lot of places I want to visit “someday”.  Lake Tahoe was high on that list, it’s relatively close and I’ve heard about it’s beauty for many years.  Well, I finally made it there!

October was the perfect time for us to go to Tahoe.  The summer crowd had left and the winter sports hadn’t started yet, so it wasn’t overwhelmingly busy.  The weather was absolutely perfect!  Cold at night (teens and twenties!) but sunny sweater weather during the day.  It felt like absolute heaven!

We got there a day before our friends could join us, and spent a lot of time just walking around, drinking in the change and beauty.

I took my camera, of course, and was hoping for more Fall color than we saw.  Turns out, most of the foliage in the area is evergreen, but I still found some!  Mostly around Taylor Creek, which is about a 5 minute drive past South Lake Tahoe.  It’s a preservation area, with an easy walking trail through a surprising variety of environments all packed into one area.  I highly recommend taking the time to visit if you’re there!  We were again very lucky with timing.  We arrived as they opened, a sunny, cold, quiet morning, and enjoyed the amazing nature, and crisp, clean air.  The six busloads of 4th and 5th graders didn’t arrive until we were leaving!!

Places like this stir up the spiritual feelings about our world.  Thesee cautiously preserved, thoughtful views of pristine nature remind us that we share this amazing world and need to do a better job of taking care of it.  That feeling is a little disturbed by 60+ excited school kids, so I’m glad I got to experience it before they arrived.  Nothing at all against the kids, I’m just thankful that I was able to experience it the way I enjoy it.

Photos can share a lot of the beauty.  But they can’t (yet) share the way the sun feels on your head, the cool breeze on your face, the fresh (and sometimes not so fresh!) smells, the sounds of wildlife scurrying through the brush as you walk by, and the beautiful birds that are bold until you bring up the camera.

 

Of course, the crown jewel is Lake Tahoe itself!

 

We decided to do a lunch cruise of the lake, to get the full picture.  It was a 3-hour tour (yes, we were all singing the Gilligan’s Island theme), and even that wasn’t enough to fully experience and see everything.  The lake is fascinating, but here are a few facts that impressed me the most:

  • The water is 99.9% pure!  That’s basically distilled water.  And the Park Service aggressively protects that, so be prepared if you ever plan to put a boat in the water.
  • It’s the 2nd deepest lake in the U.S.   The Empire State Building would be entirely covered if you stood it in the lake.
  • It straddles two state, 2/3 in California and 1/3 in Nevada.  BUT, that only applies to the shoreline and the lake bed.  The water is actually owned by the federal government.
  • Wind waves can get as high as 8-12 feet in the winter.  Wind waves!!
  • The blue tint in most of the pictures is a real thing, not the camera!  The dry air causes the lake to evaporate constantly, which creates a blue haze. It’s so fine you can only see it in the distance. The day we went, there was also some lingering smoke from the devastating California wildfires mixed in.

We heard some interesting stories about early residents and history.  There were some really tough, interesting characters in the early days!

But cruising on the lake was the highlight of the trip!

And a little chilly!

 

The next day we decided to drive around the entire shoreline, which took several hours.  It’s amazing how diverse it is!  From the high mountains:

 

To the lower lying beaches:

 

And everything in between! Like a restaurant with ski chairs hanging from the ceiling.

By the way, it’s called Red Hut, and the food was excellent!

What an amazing place!  Eventually I’ll put more pictures in a photo album and share it, in my “spare time”.

After our wonderful, relaxing few days in Tahoe, it was time to head home.  We drove back to Reno early in the day since we had to check out of the hotel in the mornign.  We had several hours before our flight, but our friends were staying longer so they spent the night at a casino there.  Sorry, Reno, I am NOT a fan!

Reno’s downtown area, with the casinos, is small, dirty, and run down.  We walked around a little bit, but there were so many sketchy characters everywhere, up close and personal, that we decided to stay inside.  But even that wasn’t enough to take away from the great time we had!

Thanks Tahoe, I hope to come back soon!

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