Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Lake Tahoe --- Rubicon Trail and Kiva Beach for the Dogs

Bandido Running out of Lake Tahoe with his Tennis Ball

Roger here....   The morning after our last post we had intended to go on an organized tour in a less crowded part of the lake.  It was Sunday.  It was Father's Day  The tours were closed.  Plan B.

Traffic Jam Near Vikingsholm Trail Head

Hiking along the shoreline on the Rubicon Trail was on our must-do list.  We wanted to do this hike on a weekday when parking would be easier and the trail would be less crowded.  Oh well, with the cancellation of our earlier plan, if we intended to do it at all,  Father's Day had to be the day.  By the time (9:00 a.m.) we got to the trailhead at Vikingsholm (another attraction) the parking lots were filled (and closed).  Visitors, such as ourselves, were parking on the sides of state highway 89 and walking a mile or two to the trail head.  I don't think so.  

We drove another five miles, paid $9, and parked at the opposite end of the trail head located in D.L. Bliss State Park.  There were no hassles at the far end of the hike.  It was worth the $9. The first part of the trail followed a gentle path through a forest of Jeffrey Pines.  We walked about half of a mile, when Dianne turned on her Map My Walk app to keep track of distance.  Before long, Lake Tahoe and the mountains on the far side of the lake became visible through the pine trees.

As we approached the lake, we found ourselves high above the shoreline amidst scattered boulders.  The elevation change was not too great, but there was quite a bit of up and down.

The end of the trail was 3.6 miles from the trail head for a total of 7.2 miles.  The historic Vikingsholm Mansion and a gigantic waterfall graced the end of the trail, but our goal was not to do the entire hike.  Our intention was to enjoy the jaw-dropping scenery around every curve, then turn back after two miles, or so.

Yes indeed, the scenery around every curve.  We rested occasionally so that we could push on to see what was around the next curve.

Golly gee!  I am glad we did not turn back before we saw this.  I wonder what's around the corner.

It would have been a shame to not have seen this.  Do you think that might be Emerald Cove on the other side of that curve?

I am pretty sure that Emerald Cove is just on the other side of that point.  Let's walk that far and then turn back.

Dianne says, "It seems a shame to walk this far and not see Emerald Bay and the small island in the middle of the bay.  Roger says, "We have been walking for quite a while, are you sure you want to continue?"  Dianne says, "Let's see if the bay is around the corner?

The trail eventually left the lake and crossed a peninsula.  I asked a couple of oncoming hikers if Emerald Bay was ahead, which they confirmed.  The remoteness of the trek ended as the trail descended to the rocky beaches of Emerald Bay.  Pleasure boats, swimmers, and young people laying on beaches and the boulders replaced the isolation.

Dianne said, "I still want to see the small island."  I said, "Are you sure you want to walk further?  It is up to you."  Dianne said, "We walked all this way.  I want to see the island."  Another mile later, we saw the island.

"The Island"  Look carefully and you'll see the remains of a stone tea house on top.

We also saw a sign that indicated we had walked 3.6 miles.  Dianne said, "I am not going to walk six miles."  I said, "You are going to have to walk 7.2 miles to if you want to get back to the car."  Dianne said, "I just want to use one of those restrooms over there, then I want to be back."

I am not going to talk you through the return trip. Suffice it to say, that the second 3.6 miles were not as fun as the first 3.6 miles.  There was quite a bit of, "I just want to be back."

The stream crossing, steps, and others like them, in the photo below were a little more challenging on the return trip.

After we crawled back to the car, Dianne turned on her Map My Walk app that showed the path of our hike.  Were we tired and hungry?  Definitely.  Are we glad we did it?  Without a doubt.

The green dot shows where I remembered to turn on the app.  The hike was out and back and beyond the green dot back to our car. -- D.
Some ice cream from that interesting-looking ice cream parlor on the way back would have hit the spot.  However, there were no places to park, and we could not have dealt with the line of people waiting to get in anyway.


It is interesting how different areas of the country are either dog-friendly or dog-unfriendly.  Oregon is dog-friendly.  Florida is not.  Lake Tahoe is a little bit of both.  We could not take our dogs on the Rubicon Trail yesterday (they would have loved it*) because neither the state park trailhead, nor the Vikingsholm trailhead allowed dogs. 

(*They would have loved the first four miles of it; the last three miles I guarantee Tequila would have been laying down.   I wanted to lay down! -- D.)

 In fact, there were lots and lots of signs warning visitors to NOT EVEN THINK about bringing a dog into those areas.  Just down the road, Kiva Beach and the Tallac Historical Center welcomed dogs with open arms.  Today we arrived, dogs in tow, around 9:00 a.m. and pretty much had the beach to ourselves.

We enjoyed a quiet walk up and down the lengthy beach.  Of course, we brought a tennis ball.  Bandido had a blast plunging into the lake and swimming out to retrieve it.  It is a shame that we don't have a nearby lake for this boy in Texas.

After a while, we walked off the beach into the extremely well-maintained historic area.  Tallac was a very large resort and casino built by a wealthy entrepreneur from San Francisco.  The resort buildings no longer exist, but the resort attracted other wealthy Californians.  Two of them built expansive homes and gardens next to the resort, which are immaculately maintained today.  Visitors are encouraged to stroll the paths through the grounds, and dog "poop bag" stations are situated throughout the property.   

The lawn of the Vallhalla Mansion serves as a local site for concerts and art fairs.  A community theatre operates productions from a renovated boat house on the lake.

This interesting cabin on the water was a guest house on the Pope estate.  
We walked through the Pope estate gardens, and....
Imagined spending the night on this screened second-story sleeping porch.

The lake filled with pleasure boats was never far from the estates.

After a couple of quiet hours with the dogs in this idyllic setting, we decided to take them back to the motor home, while we returned to The Beacon Bar and Grill for lunch.

The food and setting were just as nice the second time.  There was one difference.  The temperature was in the upper 70s, and the beach was full of people enjoying the day.

My hat was not pink!  I was sitting under a red umbrella!
Guess what?  On the way back to the motor home, I found a parking place near the interesting-looking ice-cream parlor. Yay!  We both had cups of mocha almond fudge.

We have one more day at Lake Tahoe before continuing our northward travels.  The pet picture of the day is another shot of Bandido retrieving his tennis ball from the lake.

The water is freezing cold, but I don't care!


Suzi said...

Our son lived in Truckee years ago so that area is very nostalgic to us. Where are you staying while you're visiting?

Travelwithwhippets said...

We have moved on after a week. We stayed at Tahoe Valley RV Resort in South Lake Tahoe. It was a good location for seeing many different parts of the lake.