Oh, Tahoe! Part 1

This post could easily be comprised entirely of photographs, no words, because it almost seems blasphemous to attempt to describe Lake Tahoe’s beauty with mere consonants and vowels. I’ll take a stab at it anyway: – In the Forest – On Mountains – With a Clear Blue Lake – Surrounded by Rocks – And a Sandy Beach – High Up in the Air. It’s every vacation you’ve ever been on, rolled into one. It’s some of the best pieces of Earth brought together. And it’s the greatest possible reward for getting through the Nevada desert.

As you near the end of Nevada, it becomes extremely hilly, then mountainous, and before long your ears are popping. You drive round and round the mountains on the edges of various cliffs, and you have to force yourself to look at the road instead over the side because it makes your stomach drop. You drive as close to the center line as you can without hitting oncoming cars. You see the signs…Elevation 5,000 feet…6,000 feet…7,000 feet…you try not to think about the fact that you’re a mile and half in the air. Pretty soon you have to focus your attention by force again, but this time it’s because the scenery is so beautiful it mesmerizes.

The highway makes a giant loop around the Lake (the entirety of which would take days to drive), and spits out little collections of attractions/trails/restaurants/motels/gift shops at various points around the loop. My first stop is swimming at the Sand Harbor Beach access point. The following is my view from the beach:

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I wanted to stay forever!

A few shots from the road:

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I stopped for lunch and had a soft shell crab sandwich that was okay. The soft shell crab at my sushi restaurant back home was better.

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It was at this restaurant that I started to miss my boyfriend, Joseph, immensely. Of course I’d missed him throughout the trip, but this was different. I saw a family of 3 or 4 generations sitting at the next table over, and they looked the way my family always did when we joined together for Christmas or Thanksgiving dinners. Thirty or so people with their heads bowed in front of the food, listening to Grandpa’s blessing. I was reminded that it was this month last year that my Grandpa passed away, and that Joseph’s lifelong friend passed away on the same day. We mourned together that whole week. And now here I was, in the most beautiful place I’d ever been, where thousands of families and honeymooners flock every year, and I was alone. By choice. What was I thinking?? All I wanted was Joseph with me. I tried to suck it up and focus on the fun to be had right in front of me.

I looked around the gift shop and bought myself this hemp bracelet with a charm in the shape of a wing and a charm that says Believe. Completing this trip would take every drop of “belief” in myself that I could muster. The card that the bracelet comes on is also a seed you can plant in the ground. I haven’t taken the bracelet off since.

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I continued driving around the huge loop, and by late evening, look what I found!

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(I made it!!)

This was in the neighborhood of South Lake Tahoe, which has a long strip of nightlife and entertainment. I walked up and down the strip before stopping for a drink at this cool bar full of local art and young people.

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The next morning I got breakfast and continued around the loop.

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I stopped to hike and swim around Donner Lake.

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I told my friends back home, my theory was that the Donner Party resorted to cannibalism because they paid $8 to go in the park and weren’t allowed to swim.

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^^^ Me not looking happy. I did find another spot to swim, though. ^^^

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Part 2 is next!

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