Lake Tahoe: Traipsing in North America

I was able to see this place when I went to Reno last 2008. A lake up on the Sierra Nevada  range, half of it sitting on California, and the other half on Nevada. The crystal clear water of the lake and the carpet of evergreens on its shores gave a mystical feel to the place, as if unicorns may suddenly present themselves right in front of me . The lake is named Tahoe, one of God’s masterpieces.

A stiched panorama of the lake. These shots were taken from a cable car, going up one of the mountains holding the lake..

It took more than an hour’s drive to get there from Reno, where I was visiting. The drive started from an unspectacular freeway, the typical long strip of cement that criss-crosses the entire United States. As we got off the freeway though, and started making our way up the mountains, the view started to change. First we passed by the old Carson city, then the scenery changed into pine trees on both sides of the road as we gained altitude, snaking our way up the mountain roads.

The scenery became more beautiful the higher up we went, but that wasn’t all that got me excited on this trip. Travel, after all, is not just about arriving at the destination…half of it is the thrill of getting there, and how could “getting there” not be thrilling if one is driving a sporty, athletic car up scenic and twisty mountain roads. I was at the helm of my aunt’s Subaru Legacy, and it was loads of fun hearing its engine growl with power as we go up inclines, and feel the tires sticking on the road like bubble gum as we take on corners.

I haven’t had enough of my Kimi Raikonnen fantasy though when we reached the apex of the highway, and had to slow down as we approached the edge of the lake. The thrill of the drive was over, but it was replaced by something else. Right before us, framed by the straight road ahead, and the tall trees on both sides, is a magnificent view of the lake…and boy, what a view. I couldn’t take a picture because I was driving, but I could still “see” that scene even as I type here on the keyboard, as if it’s a digital photograph permanently saved on my head. Straight, smooth road…tall, straight and lush pine trees…and deep blue lake as smooth as glass…just plain lovely.

A cove, within the large lake. While this picture does not nearly equal the "visual shock" of my first view of it from the road, it's still summarizes what the lake is like. Blue waters, lush pine trees and surrounded by beautiful mountain peaks.

Lake Tahoe of course is not your unspoiled paradise, untouched by human hands. This is the United States after all, where any attraction must have a highway leading up to it. While it wasn’t spoiled, it certainly wasn’t untouched by human hands. The lake’s environs is a large ski resort during winter, and a major recreational destination (boating, camping, etc.) the rest of the year. And, since part of it lies in Nevada, there are casinos on its shores.

The development at the like side though was as “unintrusive” as it can get, and the presence of a few hotels and casinos did not diminish the charm of the place. This place is one proof that humans need not be destructive.

Cable cars going up one of the mountains surrounding the lake.

A small town, by the lake side

A casino, on the Nevada side

* this trip was taken July 2008. All photos taken with Sony DSC-H50.

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