LAKE TAHOE. I’ve been on vacation since mid-May, and it’s been a good one. I actually can’t remember the last time I took two, whole weeks off at one time. This block of vacation was actually saved to go to Ireland but I had to delay the trip until this upcoming Sept. Anyways, took off for Tahoe last Monday and spent a glorious 4 days there. We didn’t really have the luck of the Irish with us as far as weather was concerned. Spatters of rain began within a 1/2 hour into the drive. Rain continued to increase as we reached the Sierras and as we passed the summit on Highway 80, it was a serious downfall with temperatures registering 40˚F. I worried a little about camping in the snow, I mean, it was only midday and it could easily drop to freezing by nightfall.
First we had a lunch in Tahoe City, did some grocery shopping, and headed for our campsite. Set up tent, get all the logistics in order (had to use a bear box for food and aromatics) and make a fire as soon as I could. It was cold ( a lot of layers under that coat)!
A misty rain was off and on the rest of the afternoon and we actually cooked dinner and stayed outside until a little after sunset until the rain returned in earnest. We packed everything up and headed for the tent; K, myself and my dog. I was looking forward to my new sleeping pad, really a backpacking air mattress made by Big Agnes, the insulated Q-Core Superlight. The last few trips I’d been experiencing hip and back pain with my old pad and was hoping for the best with my new one.
We just made it into the tent, convinced the dog she’d be more comfortable at the end of the tent instead of on top of me, when it really started to pour. My tent is also a Big Agnes and I’d really never tested it in heavy rains. Well, tonight was the night. It rained steadily throughout, but we were dry and “snug as a bug” all night long.
No rain upon awakening but heavy clouds, and I checked the weather report to discover there would be intermittent sun and showers. It was also cold, so I set about making a morning fire before we cooked breakfast, and had some downtime drinking coffee, reading, and picture taking.
This trip was a hiking one. The last few times to Tahoe we’d brought the mountain bikes. There are lovely trails where dogs are aloud just above the campsite in a State Park. But, we’d been doing so many miles on our road bikes and completed the Permanent just a week ago, so we left the bikes at home. Today’s plan was one of two hikes around Squaw Valley; we chose the 5 Lakes Trail, not far from Alpine Meadows ski area.
We started too late to make it to the lakes; they would be another 1-1/2 miles. So we stopped at a switchback with a wonderful view and a place to sit for a snack, and some rest before we headed back down.
This hike was listed as moderate; the first half was much steeper but we climbed about 2,000 feet in a mile and a half. We really liked this trail and hoped we’d get back to it vowing to start earlier so we could get all the way to the lakes. Here’s our route, you can see the lakes to the left:
To be honest, we were tuckered out, including the dog. We stopped to replenish our ice, but other than cooking dinner and having a evening campfire to sidle up to, we hung out at our campsite the rest of the day. Look some shadows!
The next day’s weather report said no more rain, with temperatures predicted to be on the rise. We awoke to sunshine but all of us were feeling a bit weary from yesterday’s hike so we decided to head to Truckee River for the day. Chloe’s favorite thing (besides the frisbee); water! We packed an excellent lunch and found a perfect little spot, with great access to the water and a good amount of stick throwing material.
We’d been cooking in camp for all our meals so for our last night’s dinner we went out. Nothing fancy but they had really good beer. As usual, I made an evening fire and we relaxed and read, and talked until the evening cold drove us to the tent. On our way out we stopped for a late breakfast in Tahoe City. The restaurant was filled with old bikes; here’s one.