Lake Tahoe. Just speaking those two simple words turn up the wanderlust in many, and thought of a favorite vacation destination for others. Dreams of wining, dining and year-round recreational activities for everyone. Everyone that is, except lowlanders like myself that suffer altitude sickness. But that was already covered in a previous blog entry.
Lake Tahoe, a major tourist attraction in both Nevada and California, was formed about 2 million years ago during the Ice Age. It’s renowned for the clarity of the water and the beautiful panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides.
I started my Tahoe experience at Incline Village on the north end of the lake and drove south along the eastern shore toward Sand Harbor where I took my first hike. As I hiked along the rocky coastline I enjoyed various shades of blue as the depths of the Lake changed. The water at Sand Harbor is crystal clear blue with sand below surrounded by dark blue water reflecting off the giant rocks below. Sand Harbor beach is a popular spot for swimming in the cold lake, paddle boarding or picnicking.
I continued driving South I drove through the dual bore Cave Rock tunnel. Cave Rock tunnels are at an elevation of approximately 6,360 feet and is considered a sacred place to the Washoe Indian Tribe whose ancestors performed religious ceremonies inside the largest of the caves. It was impressive.
My last hike of the day was at Nevada Beach at South Lake Tahoe, still remaining in Nevada before crossing into California. At an elevation of 7,100’ the beach is wider than any other beach on the lake. The parks tall pines and subdued atmosphere are welcomed characteristics, as visitors come to enjoy the peace and quiet of the lakeside mountain landscape.
Fun facts: Lake Tahoe is the highest altitude lake of its size in the USA, and the second deepest behind Crater Lake, Oregon. The lake never freezes over due to the constant flow of water. On average 1,400,000 tons of water evaporates from the surface of Lake Tahoe every 24 hours! And I, due to my fear of another episode of altitude sickness, am glad I took photos because I will not return for another look.