I’ve never been to Lake Tahoe before so didn’t know what exactly to expect. It’s a beautiful alpine lake surrounded by mountains, many of which are skiable, way up in the Northern Sierra Nevada range of California.
I stayed at the Tahoe Lakeshore Lodge, which is fine unless you have a neighbor that either snores or parties hard, because you’ll hear both of them through the paper-thin walls, as I did. But the view was stunning from our corner balcony overlooking the beach and that made up for a lot.
We decided to spend a half day riding bikes along the shore and stopped at the “stream profile chamber” at the Taylor Creek visitor Center. It’s an underwater viewing station of a section of the creek that makes for a pleasant stop along the route of the Rainbow Trail. We saw a snake slithering through the clear water as well as some frogs and cutthroat trout swimming around. Very cool.
Then we rode up to Fallen Leaf Lake, which is yet another of God’s masterpieces, only this one wasn’t marred by the sound of outboard motors, at least on the day we visited. Later on the same ride we stopped at Camp Richardson for an ice cream cone on the way back, then spent the late afternoon enjoying the beach in front of the hotel.
The beaches are highly granular and I suspect almost certainly man-made but still they’re way better than trying to step into the water through a maze of boulders or a swamp of sucking mud as you usually have to do at a lakeside. It’s actually superior to oceanfront beaches in some respects because the waves are very small if there are any at all so it’s great for water sports as well as sunbathers and waders. But it is cold…not Florida spring water cold, but cold enough you’ll probably not want to linger more than a few minutes.
Speaking of Florida, the weather here is a perfect antidote to the Sunshine State’s brutally hot and humid summers. temperatures in the day hit a high of 83, but with low humidity I was comfortable hiking around even at mid afternoon. At night, we kept our windows open and enjoyed the chilly mountain air, with lows in the high 40’s. Perfect as far as I’m concerned.
On another day I explored Emerald Bay, which can be accessed by car only via a fairly long hike, or by boat simply via the mouth of the bay from anywhere else on Lake Tahoe. It was described to me as the eighth wonder of the world and the most photographed place in California. I don’t know about that, but it is beautiful…just take a look at the pix. And worth a visit if you’re in the area. I was told to arrive early, so I got there at 8:30 and had no trouble finding a parking spot at Inspiration Point. However. later in the day, when I was leaving, the lot was full-and this was on a Monday after school had started.
To me, Tahoe is a perfect place. It has all of the natural beauty you could ever want with a fantastic climate. Yes, it gets cold in the winter, but then you can just enjoy the world class ski resorts. South lake Tahoe is small enough to have some charm but big enough to sport the amenities most people are looking for. If only it had an Orthodox church…and the real estate was about 50% cheaper.