I just spent a glorious week at Lake Tahoe.
Okay, I wasn’t that thrilled with the snow, but it was an overnight thing, soon melted, and it did make for some lovely scenery. Mostly, though, I prefer my snow in pictures.
My hubby and I arrived at Lake Tahoe right after most of the parks and historical sites shut down for the season (sad!), but just in time to enjoy all the breathtaking fall color—without the congestion of all the Summer Folk. And when I say “breathtaking,” I do so with all the words my thesaurus can list in mind: spectacular, awe-inspiring, magnificent, sensational, wondrous, and all the rest.
Our tiny but quaint room was at the Olympic Village Inn, originally athlete dorms for the 1960 Winter Olympics. We didn’t spend a lot of time indoors.
Have you ever been to Chimney Beach? There’s an honest-to-goodness stone chimney built on the beach—and no explanation of how or why it’s there. The weather was warm, the lake too inviting to resist. We went wading. I learned later that the area nearby is “clothing optional.” Some sort of warning might be appropriate, eh? Happily, we had the beach mostly to ourselves. A mountain goat disguised as a man literally ran down the steep, boulder-strewn incline behind us. He did it with a drink in one hand and his phone in the other. I about had a heart attack watching him, but he grinned happily and said, “I like rocks. Rocks are my friends,” and took off for parts unknown.
Other than him, we saw one grumpy photographer and one friendly, chatty one. Hubby was in Photographer Heaven. A haze hovering over the far side of the lake helped make for some fantastic sunset pictures. I even managed to catch a good shot on my cell phone with my extreme lack of photography skills. (Unless otherwise noted, I took these pictures, and they don’t begin to compare to those taken by the pro…!)
Tallac Park is a historic site comprised of the Baldwin Estate, the Pope Estate, and Valhalla. I really wish the programs had still been ongoing; I would have enjoyed learning more about the people and the area. Still, there were only a few people there with us, and you cannot imagine a more peaceful setting with towering evergreens all around, little patches of sunlight, and autumn coloring the gardens.
Fallen Leaf Lake had a name that appealed to both of us, so we sought it out via a teeny, tiny, one lane road. We drove by the lake. The road was high on the mountainside, and there were no good spots for stopping for pictures. We never did make it all the way to the lake itself, but we hiked around Glen Alpine Falls and had lunch on the rocks. Lots of wonderfully impressive rocks.
Then came the Rubicon Trail on the southwest shore of Lake Tahoe. I’m not sure how it related to the word “Rubicon” in the traditional sense (as a point of no return). Granted, we only saw a few miles of its actual 22 miles. I liked our few miles. It was a beautiful, easy hike, from top to bottom. Interesting fact: Jeep’s “Rubicon” is named after this trail.
Legend has it that before the famous and wealthy Lora Knight purchased most of Emerald Bay in 1928, another colorful fellow had dibs on the island. Captain Dick Barter claimed to have built a tomb and a small chapel on the island. He was not interred there, but perished in a storm. Some claim his ghost still haunts the island.
The wind sprang up the next day, and the temperature dropped a hundred degrees.
Okay, it was only about twenty, but still!
At another spot on Zephyr Cove (I think?) we watched one brave soul launch himself into the blue, clearly taking up the challenge laid down by our mountain goat pal. What is the aquatic equivalent of a goat?
We weren’t quite that spunky, but we did dare a sunset cruise to Emerald Bay aboard the Safari Rose. Her captain reminded us of the actor Terry Quinn—similar look, same voice. We braved the upper deck for the trip out. Hubby got lots of pictures of the coastline, Fannette Island, and Vikingsholm. The captain took the boat right up to the island. While folks were asking “Is this a reenactment of the Titanic?” one daring and darling little girl reached out to touch the rock. Yes, we were that close!
I’d share pictures with you, but my hands were too cold to take any, and I haven’t seen any that my sweet photographer took!
It snowed that night.
All righty, then! Time to go home!
The trip was wonderfully relaxing, and I still can’t get over how utterly beautiful it was there at Lake Tahoe—not just a pretty lake in the pretty woods, but all the beautiful autumn colors. Maybe we’ll have to go back in the spring so I can compare seasons, but I don’t think even spring can compare. Every corner, ever height revealed a new astonishing vista.
I’m sure there were at least a hundred-and-one of them…