Sunday, June 19, 2016

Lake Tahoe --- brrrrr!

Lime Green Moss on a Dead Tree at Glen Alpine Springs

Roger here... After our harrowing drive in the wind, we safely arrived in a very congested (and chilly) South Lake Tahoe.  It has been sweatshirt weather since we arrived --- mid-30s when we wake up with highs in the 50s.  I must say though, the bright sunny sky does make things nicer.

During the morning of our first full day, we went to the Visitors' Center where Anne asked us a few questions, then gave us all kinds of ideas of activities to enjoy during our time here.  Thanks, Anne.

Since we were not interested in a major adventure after the long day before, we decided to go to one of Anne's suggested restaurants for lunch.   What a great idea.  The Beacon Grill and Deck had great food (I had the day's special, toasted cheese and tomato-basil soup) and an amazing beachfront view.  The warm sun brightened our mood.  (Glad I slathered sunscreen on my face, as I do every day).  After lunch we spent the rest of the day looking at brochures and planning our week.

We plan to eat here again before we leave.

We passed an interesting ice cream place on the way back to the RV park, but there was no place to park.


After our mellow day of lunch and not much else, we were ready to stretch our legs.  It was still in the 50s, but that is just fine for hiking.  Anne told us about an interesting, dog-friendly, four-mile (round trip) trek to an abandoned resort from the 1800s.  

Slow Going
Getting to the trail head was an adventure in itself.  The bumpy, one-lane road required numerous stops and pull-offs to allow oncoming traffic to pass.  The five-mile drive seemed much longer.

The narrow road eventually crossed a narrow bridge over a babbling mountain stream, ending at the trailhead parking lot.  

The first part of the trail was flat, but wet.  This picture shows the third wet area that we were forced to negotiate.  At first we did some rock hopping.  We then gave up and sloshed through the shallow water.  Our hiking boots did a nice job of keeping our feet dry.   Dianne experienced great joy photographing me as I attempted to keep my balance.

As we left the wet portions of the trail, we faced new challenges.  The surface became very unfriendly as it sloped upward and was covered by difficult-to-negotiate and unstable large rocks.  We eventually surmised that this must have been the roadway that the horse-drawn wagons used to transport people to the resort.  It may have been good for horses and wagons.  It was not so good for us.  Unfortunately, things did not get better for quite some time.  We almost turned back, but thankfully we pushed on.

Have you no consideration for my tender paws?!

Eventually, the trail flattened, the large rocks diminished and the surface became more walkable.  It was then that Bandido and I found a rock to climb :-).

(Kings of the Hill -- D.)

We soon began to hear flowing water.  Well, this was a pleasant surprise.

An Impressive Waterfall --- and a Surprise!

We found the abandoned resort shortly after passing the waterfall.  The soda spring that attracted visitors was discovered in 1863.  The construction of the resort began in 1884.  For forty years, this, the first resort built in the Tahoe area, was a popular destination.

This old photo shows guests arriving by horse and wagon in 1904.

Five of the original buildings that were designed by famous architect (of the time), --- Bernard Maybeck, are still standing and architecturally sound.  The stone building below was the dining hall.  Most of the windows had protective coverings...

...but after some tromping around, Dianne was able to get a picture of the inside.  

The photo below shows a corner of the building as well as its unique setting.

Back in the day, it was an elegant setting....

The octagonal building in the foreground of the picture below was the detached kitchen.

There were no exposed windows in the kitchen, but a skylight emitted enough light for Dianne to take a picture through a crack in the corrugated metal that surrounded the building.

This is  one of the remaining cabins. The windows were too high to be able to see inside, but as Dianne often says, "When there's a will, there's a way."

She took a picture of the inside by standing on her toes, holding the camera high above her head, and taking a blind shot through the window.  Hmm.  It looks like someone has spent the night here recently.  The cabin is certainly not in a state of disrepair.

We spent quite a bit of time wandering around the resort, but eventually it was time to head back.  
A change of direction offered us views that we did not notice on the way up.

Bandido also found something new on the way back down the trail.  A STICK.  Not just any stick, a perfect stick --- not too big, not too small, a smooth round surface, and tasty.  He was very proud of his stick.  He climbed up on another rock just so he could show it off.

Hey everybody!  Look at my stick.  It belongs to me.

It was lunchtime when we returned to the trailhead.  We do not take food on the trails in this area because they could attract bears, but we do enjoy picnics back at the car.  And yes, the dogs did each get the last bites of my sandwich.

Before leaving the trailhead, I took a picture of Dianne and the dogs on the bridge by the stream.

On the way back to the RV Park, we again passed the interesting-looking ice cream parlor.  However, I did not want to get rear-ended on the busy street, AND, there was no place to park.


Dianne and I have varied interests as we travel.  I am usually most interested in nature, scenery, architecture and exercise.  Dianne is also interested in those things; however, often her interests expand into the realm of history and research.  When she discovered that there was a state park in nearby Truckee that stood on the site of the Donner Party tragedy, with exhibits of pioneer travel across the Donner Pass, I knew we would be going.  What better way to get away from the Saturday crowds by the lake than to take a mini road trip away from the hustle and bustle.

As we left town, we passed the interesting-looking ice cream parlor, but it was too early in the morning, it was on the wrong side of the street, and there was no place to park.

 A large lake serves as the center of Donner Memorial State Park.  It is the only California State Park in the Tahoe area that allows dogs.  That being said, it does more than allow dogs, it encourages them.  There is even an area designated for dogs who might want to swim in the lake.  However, it was barely 50 degrees and windy when we arrived.  Our South Texas dogs had no interest in getting their paws wet.

There was an open area on a peninsula near the dog beach where several of the dogs were "unofficially" off leash.  Bandido and Tequila had a joyous time chasing each other through the pine forest and making a couple of new friends.

Before Dianne visited the museum, we spent about an hour walking along the groomed hiking trails.  No sore feet or potential sprained ankles on this day.  

(My normal hiking view, as always, red ears leading the way -- D.)

Despite the cool weather there were kayakers and paddle boaters on the lake.  There were also bicyclers, picnickers, and hikers.  This was a cool little state park that seemed to be very popular with young families.  

After a picnic lunch, we walked to the museum.  I sat on a bench with the dogs while Dianne enjoyed the museum.  The huge statue in the photo below represents one of the countless pioneer families that crossed the Sierra Nevada on their way to California at the Donner Pass.

We talked about taking a couple of very short hikes to waterfalls on the way back to South Lake Tahoe, but the crowds at the trail heads were intimidating and there was no place to park.  We did, however, take a very quick side trip to Squaw Valley, the site of the 1960 Winter Olympics.  I have very distinct memories of watching those games on TV when I was ten years old. They were the first Olympic games that I remember.  I was fascinated at the time and very much enjoyed getting a quick glimpse of the site.

As we returned to South Lake Tahoe, I took another yearning look at the interesting-looking ice cream parlor, but the area was way too busy, the lines to get in were way too long, it was too cold for ice cream anyway, and there was no place to park.

Tomorrow is Sunday and the crowds at this end of the lake will probably be frustrating until the weekenders leave.  So, we are planning another excursion --- hopefully away from the crowds.  Oh, and it is supposed to be a little warmer.

The pet picture of the day shows Bandido proudly walking down the trail with his stick.

The True Definition of a Butt Shot

No comments: