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Wednesday, September 25, 2013

An Ode to Lake Tahoe

I could write a thousand words describing the Lake Tahoe region and all of it's beauty; how each season brings out a different aspect of the place; how the lake really lives up to it's famous clarity; that no matter what the weather brings it's one of the most spectacular places on earth.

But no one wants to read that garbage.

Truly, it's one of those places you just have to experience for yourself. If you need a little help getting off your butt and getting there, here are some pictures to try to goose you along:

Let's start with Emerald Bay:


A weird cloud formation over Emerald Bay, as viewed from Vikingsholm.

A sailboat glides into Emerald Bay beside Fannette Island.
Side of Vikingsholm; a "castle" built in 1928, it's now part of the state park. 
Window detail of Vikingsholm.

Just across the road from the Emerald Bay parking lot you can catch a trail up to Eagle Lake and Falls, an easy 1.5 mile trail that will get you a taste of the backcountry above Tahoe.


View from the trail to Eagle Lake, an easy day hike starting from the Emerald Bay area.


A view from beside Eagle Falls.

The Tallac Historic Site is a great place to spend an afternoon wandering around. Old summer cabins dot the landscape, and the local historical society has set many of them up with period furnishings to show what it was like to "summer" in Tahoe in the 1920's. Dogs are also welcome there if canines are part of your crew.

The meandering trail through Tallac Historic Site.
An afternoon thunderstorm is reflected
in the windows.

Tiga was fascinated by the historic artifacts in this cabin.






















Sugar Pine State Park boasts a huge mansion and assorted boathouses, as well as the best camping on the lake.

The Hellman-Ehrman Mansion sits on a hillside overlooking Lake Tahoe. Tours are offered of this huge "summer" home.
This lucky duck makes a living on Lake Tahoe begging for food.

Sugar Pine Point State Park is the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. Cross country ski trails turn into summer hiking trails in the snow-free months.
A bird sings for his supper at the Lily Pond, a 5 mile roundtrip hike at Sugar Pine.
Some of the flora and fauna you can find along the trail.














A pine cone sits on the forest floor, it's mother tree reflected in the shiny pitch.
No camping trip would be complete without "Dough Gobs"
A wooden dowel coated in biscuit batter roasted over a campfire, filled with butter and jam once it's done.

Spooner Lake is a state park on the Nevada side. I think fall is the best time of year there--it is chock full of quaking aspens that turn bright yellow and really do "quake" in the wind.


The trail around Spooner Lake, October.
"Hair Plugs"
Trees planted on a previously clear cut ridge.
The bark on this aspen looked like a goggly-eyed face to me.
Spooner Lake

Tahoe can be expensive and crowded, but just like Yosemite, it's well worth a trip. If you don't like crowds, go in the off-season. Autumn is my favorite time--the kids are back in school and the skiers are still waiting for that first powder to appear so it's not as crowded. There's something for everyone there: gambling on the Nevada side, pricey restaurants on the California side, camping, hiking, skiing, or just plain laying around on the beach.

Why are you still sitting there? Go already!

An afternoon thunderstorm over the western shore of Lake Tahoe.