We had the most amazing trip to Lake Tahoe last week-end. The perfect combination of great weather, lovely camping site and breathtaking landscapes. The map below shows you where exactly Lake Tahoe is. We spent 2 days in South Lake Tahoe (B) and 1 day in the North-western region, where the 1960 Olympic Games took place.
The journey takes 4 hours but is mostly a very pleasant one, especially the Highway 80 we took for the return. Almost two hours of typical western movie landscapes, but not a single Sioux in sight unfortunately. You can have a glimpse of the Lake Tahoe in the second picture at the back.
The edification of our beautiful and peaceful "Five Star Hotel" at Fallen Leaf Lake campground amounted to building the 8th Wonder of the World and necessitated a rigorous protocol:
Step 1: Be sure to have all the raw material, and for that take your ENTIRE house with you. Need to mention here that the temperatures would drop to 2C (35F) over night, so we needed to have a good duvet on top of our sleeping bag just in case... Now try to stuff all that in the Mini!
Step 2: Find the right spot by studying with the greatness of care the aligning of the Sun with the Great Bear Constellation.
Step 2: Get a dedicated architect-builder who knows where the different pieces go. Yellow pole in yellow hole, easy enough, but what about the angle of the tent peg and the string?
Step 4: Have a silly photographer who enjoys taking silly pictures.
And now follow the guide:
The Kitchen: as the US bottle of propane did not fit our butane stove burner, we had to cook for 2 days (dinner AND breakfast!) using the fire pit. It was super fun and we took that opportunity to enjoy a fantastic and typical Boy-Scout evening with the "cooking" of pop-corn and gigantic marshmallow (classified by myself as one of the greatest invention ever).
The Dining room and its bear-proof cellar: every piece of food or any type of item with the possibility of a smell (deodorant, toothpaste etc.) had to be locked day and night. Ce woke up in the middle of the night to put away a lipstick tub forgotten in the car... She was THAT stressed. She could not close an eye the entire 1st night, whereas I slept like a baby. I have to say that when you see the pictures and the warnings about bear damages and/or mauling, you do follow the Rangers recommendations according to the letters. But unfortunately (for me), we did not see a single bear! Although, the second morning we heard a dog howling in the most of chilling way possible! We suspect that a a bear might have been very close by...
Dramatically, bears would come back to camps if they ever find free food and may become aggressive to get more food from Humans, requiring the Rangers to cull them, as the poster above states ("A fed bear is a dead bear").
The gambling joint: if you can find a Scrabble with my &%£$@ first draw, please feel free to enlighten me. Being lucky to have friends speaking lots of different languages I will accept words in any of your idioms.
The Highlight of our trip: a Kayak outing near Emerald Bay. Never seen such a transparent water in a lake:
The Emerald Bay
The 3rd day of our trip we headed north and stopped in Sugar Pine Point to visit the Hellman-Ehrman Mansion (also known as Pine Lodge). A fantastic visit thanks to a great guide, stunning surroundings and beautiful historical buildings.
The gorgeous Mansion's beach and its Caribbean waters. Colour-wise not temperature-wise.
The Squaw Valley Resort: for our Anniversary we spent a night in one of this posh resort we would never go to, was it not for a special occasion and a 50% discount offer found online. You should have seen my utter embarrassment when the hotel valet helped us unloading Mini and all our camping gear/food neatly packed in IKEA bags. Not exactly the picture of elegance! But the guy was the ultimate professional and even congratulated us for packing so "efficiently" (his word). Ditto with the guy at the Checking Desk, who did not bat an eye when he saw our less than stylish clothes (I was in flip-flop and shorts and Ce was wearing a trousers stained with fire soot...). Oh well, the best attitude in this kind of situation is to pretend to be super cool and not give a damn...
The hotel and its own sky lift, and the view from the hotel grounds:
The hotel interior and the incredible view from the lounge: