So Long, Long Hike, Longer than Expected Drive

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Lake Tahoe, California to Yosemite National Park, California, 245 miles

0901 Lake Tahoe to Yosemite Valley 245

Map credit: Google Maps 2017, courtesy AAA

Since it was our last morning in paradise, Kim and I wanted to take Laura and Don out for breakfast and one of their favorite places called Bert’s, which happens to be right across the street from Ernie’s.  Too funny!  Bert’s  would have been one of my go-to joints as well – my sausage Benedict was incredible, and Kim’s eggs, bacon, and blueberry pancake looked yummy.  We went back to the cabin and loaded our car, and then Kim and I headed up the lake toward Emerald Bay for a hike and a tour of Vikingsholm.  We parked the car at Eagle Point Campground and made our way to the trailhead of the Rubicon trail, which was about 1.5 miles from Vikingsholm, which was a private home built by Mrs. Lora Knight in 1929.

Rex and I had been to Vikingsholm before, but we had hiked down the driveway, which is a VERY STEEP 1 mile hike – killer on the knees going down and aerobically exhausting getting back up.  The Rubicon trail is longer, but on a much easier grade.  It was a fun hike, as we could see the tea house on Fannette Island and then even Vikingsholm on the way down the mountain.  Just before reaching the house, we crossed a bridge over a pretty running creek.  We got there just in time for the noon tour, which we thoroughly enjoyed.  Be sure to read more about Vikingsholm HERE, and visit it when you go to Lake Tahoe.

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The hike back up was not bad at all, although it was a good bit warmer by the time we started up the hill.  Just as we reached the end of the trail, we met a couple and a Tahoe photography tour guide who were on their way to the Point, so we extended our hike long enough to see the view from there.  We were rewarded with panoramic views of the lake and of Emerald Bay, and we could even see Don and Laura’s place from there.  We saw a huge eagle’s nest on the way back, but no eagles – bummer!

Since we were going to Yosemite, we knew we needed to get on the road soon, so we didn’t delay any more, nor did we stop for a cold drink.  It was just as well, since the route we had decided to take proved to be impassable due to a forest fire.  Thankfully, we did not have to backtrack too far to get on a different path (thanks to a friendly sheriff who was in the right place at the right time for us – getting his mail from a rural mailbox where we just happened to be turning around!) and we made it to the Yosemite Valley Lodge just as darkness fell.  Turns out it was really good we talked to the sheriff, because the alternate route we would have taken was also closed due to a different fire!  Yosemite is one of those places that you have to wanna be – it was not an easy drive, but it was beautiful!  At least I was able to enjoy it – I had to keep telling Kim not to look, as it was a steep, curvy mountain road with very few guardrails.  We were very thankful to have gotten as far as we did before the sun started setting!

We got checked in, found our room (not without incident!), unloaded the car, and headed to the Mountain Room Lounge for a late dinner and a well-deserved adult beverage.  We opted to share a big appetizer platter of ceviche, a charcuterie, and chips and salsa while sipping on cocktails.  We had enough food for about six people and we did not eat it all!

After our long and tiring day (all 17,000 steps of it), we sort of collapsed into our beds and were asleep right away.  If only we’d had some air conditioning, we may have slept really well!  And if Kim hadn’t waked up worrying about forest fires!  Anyway, it was a fantastic day and we were thrilled to be in the park!



We’re on Tahoe Time

Tuesday, 29 August 2017

Lake Tahoe, California

It sure felt great to wake up and know we didn’t have to pack things up and move on!  I woke up early and went out to see the sun coming up over the lake – what a sight!  I might get up earlier if I knew I would see that every morning!  Laura fixed us a wonderful breakfast of pastries and fresh raspberries and strawberries – so juicy and good. After breakfast, we just sat outside and watched the lake come alive here at the end of the summer.  Before long, we saw a huge yellow hot air balloon floating almost silently across the lake.  It was so quiet that we could hear the bursts of fire as the balloon went higher.  Laura showed us the barge where the balloon would land out in the middle of the lake (well, middle from where we were – it’s a BIG lake!).  So we watched the landing and we watched a parasailer, and we watched Laura’s friends and their dog go out on their paddleboards for a ride.  I brought my laptop outside and sat at the picnic table and wrote a blog post – it was a wonderful lazy morning!

After a while, Laura took us on a walk over to a historic section of Lake Tahoe called Tallac, which was very close to their neighborhood.  We saw old lake homes, boats, cars, and firetrucks that have been protected and restored – so fun to see how the really wealthy lived here, way back when!  From there, we walked to the Stream Research place where we could go inside a building and see the actual stream next to us – fish, crawdads, and other living things right in front of us.  The pine trees provided loads of shade for us near the old homes, and pines, birch, and other trees offered a canopy otherwise, until we crossed a meadow.  Going back, we followed the bike path, which was paved and faster, but not nearly as shaded.

Once back at the cabin, Laura fixed us a light lunch of corn chips with ground beef, salsa, and cheese – very yummy!  We spent the rest of the afternoon sitting outside and only going in to do some laundry.  I even got brave (and hot enough) to go swimming in the lake – pure refreshment!!   Way better than the fountain in Carson City!  It was not nearly as cold as I was afraid it might have been – I really enjoyed it.  The water is so clear – I could see the bottom way out past where I could touch it!  Before we knew it, it was time for a sundowner.

For dinner, Don grilled delicious pork tenderloins and Laura made salad, pasta, green beans, and hot rolls.  How lucky were we??  Thanks so much for your wonderful hospitality, Don and Laura!  Laura showed us some photos of the cabin (which was built by her dad back in 1956) and its evolution, along with family photos and photos of her new grandbaby.  We had a mini Historian lesson and then we all spent time on our laptops in front of the TV.  Oh, and we may have had a bit of ice cream…and of course we chattered all evening, as if we had all known each other for years!  Kim and I got the laundry done and got things packed up as best we could.  We were both sad to be leaving such a magical place the next day!