Lake Tahoe by Kayak, Part Four

Yes, folks, I am still working on paddling my way around Lake Tahoe.   It’s a whopper goal so I didn’t really expect for it to be easy.   And, it hasn’t been.   To make it 72 miles, a strong paddler has to break it into at least six or seven segments.   And, well, that’s just not possible all in one shot for me.    I knew from the get-go that we would be making multiple trips to the lake and there would be issues.  Last year, we started in July and thought it was manageable to expect at least a September finish.   Wrong.   All sorts of things got in the way; road construction, a massive wildfire, bad weather, bad timing, a sinus infection and life.   Oh, well.   There’s always next year …

tallac reflections

Welcome to 2014!  There’s no time limit to this kind of goal so we are still paddling!  If you are just tuning into my little adventure here are links to my previous kayaking segments: PART ONE PART TWO and PART THREE so you can get your paddle up to speed.

the view from the south shore ... paddle style
the view from the south shore … paddle style

Today, I am going to share my first kayak of 2014.   My paddle buddy and I decided to pick one of the most scenic and popular routes on Memorial Day weekend.   Why?   Well, why not?   And, I think we might have been hoping that going early in the season (albeit during prime time opening day) that some of the crowds would have forgotten to back their boat for a weekend at Tahoe.   We might have been right and just a little lucky.   It turned out to be a gorgeous warm day and not too crowded.  (Lucky us!)

We put in our boats at Lester Beach at Rubicon Point in D.L. Bliss State Park early in the morning, paddled through Emerald Bay and around Fannette Island then on to south shore’s Pope Beach.   No small feat in nearly 9 miles of paddling on out of shape arms, let me tell you.    Including our stop at Fannette Island in Emerald Bay at the “Tea Room” for photos, our boats spent about five hours on the water.   No joke, I was tired.   I think I am still am.   My arms are telling me that last statement is just all too true.   OUCH.

Of course, there are too many stories to tell from kayaking for that long but I don’t want to bore you with stories of eagle watching and calling seagulls in Emerald Bay “bagels.”   (Get it??   Bay-gulls.  Har-har.)   I know the real reason that I was out there was to get some awesome photos.   And, that I did.   How about a look?

First, we set out from Rubicon Point at Lester Beach, found the old lighthouse and got an osprey surprise:

 

Then, we entered Emerald Bay.   Vikingsholm Castle and Fannette Island are located here.    We didn’t stop for the castle but we did make it around the island and up to the “Tea Room.”   I have been to Emerald Bay many times and always wanted to get out on the island.   This was a big deal for me!

Just based on the number of photos alone, I should have split this post into several.   But, I can’t hold back.   There was just too much awesome.

Did I mention I fell out of the kayak at Fannette Island?   Yup.  Cold, cold water.   I didn't mind, though.   It was still a good day.
Did I mention I fell out of the kayak at Fannette Island? Yup. Cold, cold water. I didn’t mind, though. It was still a good day.

For the record, all photos were taken with my Nikon CoolPix AW100.   It’s a good, waterproof point-and-shoot.

Please leave me a comment with your feedback or just a “like” to let me know that you stopped by the blog.   Thanks!

Reno River Festival

Last weekend, instead of doing traditional Mother’s Day things, my family and I headed downtown to the Truckee River to watch some kayakers.    The Reno River Festival has been around for 11 years and features world-class kayakers in a variety of competitions on the water.   The event has struggled in the past and the weather here isn’t always predictable but this day was perfect.   The skies were blue, the air was warm and the crowds were just right.

a kayaker making it to his next buoy
a kayaker making it to his next buoy

kfest rfd

kfest wfield yaks

kfest watchers

kfest red yak closekfest fullhelmet turnkfest fullhelmet over

The traditional punishment when a kayaker comes out of his boat ... he must drink a beer from his boot.   Bootie Beer!
The traditional punishment when a kayaker comes out of his boat … he must drink a beer from his boot. Bootie Beer!
a drone is readied for flight
a drone is readied for flight
camera test on the drone
camera test on the drone
Boys looking for crawdads
Boys looking for crawdads
all smiles
all smiles

kfest bluespark wwater

the old Reno arch
the old Reno arch
one of my favorite shots from the day ... I'm a sucker for an accordion
one of my favorite shots from the day … I’m a sucker for an accordion

kayak xing

Where There’s Smoke …

Where there’s smoke, there is no kayaking.    Ugh.

In case you haven’t heard, there is a huge fire roaring on the edge of Yosemite in California aptly named The Rim Fire.   Normally, a fire more than 100 miles away wouldn’t be that big of a deal.   This is no ordinary fire.   Currently, it has burned more than 250 square miles and all of that smoke is landing on Northern Nevada.   It is so gross that there are major health advisories to stay indoors and, seriously, it is hard to breath.   We are talking worse than Beijing air quality here, people!

So, that means I did not go kayaking last weekend and I will probably not go this weekend.   And, ultimately, that is killing my summer goal of making it around Lake Tahoe via kayak.   The weather and the water are cold.   That’s not good for kayaking, either.   Well, not when you don’t really have cold weather gear.   My kayak buddy isn’t that into cold weather kayaking either.   This is turning into a big bummer.

Let me show you how bad the smoke is.  This is a comparison from my backyard:

image

And, here’s the sunrise:

image

And, for good measure, here is a shot taken by someone on a flight to Los Angeles.   Those NASA people can even see the fire from the International Space Station:

533215_10151867204538669_733926889_n

Another one from the local newspaper, this is just how smoke-gross it is in downtown Reno.  Photo by Marilyn Newton, RGJ.com:

1229859_10151725711247935_965668684_n

Lake Tahoe by Kayak, Part Three

We’re almost half way around the lake!    In case you are just tuning in to my kayak adventures, here’s PART ONE and PART TWO so you can get your paddle up to speed.

This weekend we added another segment to the circumnavigate Tahoe journey:   Rubicon Bay to Sunnyside on the west shore of the lake.   The goal was originally to make it another two miles to Tahoe City where we left off last paddle but the winds and boat traffic picked up and just made it miserable.   So, we took the opportunity to meet some friends on the beach and call it a day.   We added 10 water miles to our total, putting us at roughly 30-ish of the total 72 miles around the lake.   And, yes, my arms are sore!

My kayaking buddy has several boat options so this week’s paddle was done in a double-seater.   We were a little worried about our mileage and thought we could make better time in the double.   Last time, we averaged about 2 miles per hour and this week we brought it up to 3 miles per hour.   Pretty good, eh?

5 tyak feet

And, in case you were wondering, Lake Tahoe is notorious for its cold water.   I think the average summer temperature of the water is usually high 50s, maybe 60 degrees.   Brrrrr.    This is a common beach sign:

1 a tyak extremely cold water

 

So, take notes, water peeps.   It’s chilly out there!   We’ve gotten lucky and had decent weather but, even on the good days, let’s not pretend this is the warm Caribbean or anything.   I can’t imagine what 80 degree water actually feels like.   Weird.

What’s your favorite water spot?   Is warm or cold?   I’d love to get some water time on Tahoe this winter because I love the snow but I’m not sure that I have enough gear to protect myself from the icy water.   And, some of the portage points are not available in the winter.    I might have to reconsider that idea.

Stay tuned … more adventures and photos will be posted soon!

Lake Tahoe by Kayak, Part Two

Today’s journey via kayak starts in Tahoe City, CA, and paddles to Kings Beach, where we left off in the last post.

I’m not worried about paddling in order clockwise or anything like that in order to achieve the full circumnavigate goal.   I’m fortunate to live close enough to just drive up to the lake when I have free time to do another section.    I have seen several websites dedicated to a full camping adventure via kayak around the lake.   And, I have noticed that several attempts failed for one reason or another because of the length, weather and access.   I’m hoping that I get to all of my sections before the summer is over and I would have to contend with snow.   Wish me luck!

I really like the Lake Tahoe Water Trail website that I mentioned in the first post.   There is a lot of useful information and great maps.   Here’s the full view of Lake Tahoe:

Lake Tahoe map

On the website, the map highlights sections for suggested routes but I am finding that the logistics for what I am trying to accomplish doesn’t work to use their day trips.    I do like the information that is available about parking and boat ramps.   Good stuff.   And, I also think it’s funny that Lake Tahoe looks like a foot with weird shaped toes.

This is the view from Tahoe City's Commons Beach where we started.   Nice morning.
This is the view from Tahoe City’s Commons Beach where we started. Nice morning.
All the public beaches are hopping with vendors renting kayaks and paddle boards.
All the public beaches are hopping with vendors renting kayaks and paddle boards.
I loved this tug boat looking 'yacht.'
I loved this tugboat-looking ‘yacht.’
Looks like a good place to have lunch, right?
Looks like a good place to have lunch, right?
My lunchtime view
My lunchtime view
My lunch buddy--this is as close as she will let me photograph her.   She's shy.
My lunch buddy–this is as close as she will let me photograph her.
As always, the water is mesmerizingly beautiful.
As always, the water is mesmerizingly beautiful.

After lunch, the wind picked up and the paddling was pretty choppy.   Carnelian Bay is a great place to visit on Tahoe so everyone was there, in a boat, kayak or on a paddle board.   It was crowded in the water.    I have a horrible video that I am opting to not post but it makes you seasick to watch it and there are boats buzzing by everywhere.   That tells you how the rest of the afternoon went for this trip.    I had a headache when we brought our kayaks into the truck and my paddle buddy felt worse that I did.   We accomplished 9.2 miles of  headwind kayaking and we looked like it.

See that guy?   He's wearing a fedora in a kayak.   Douchebag.
See that guy? He’s wearing a fedora in a kayak. Douchebag.
Hot Diggity Dog!   That kinda looks like fun.
Hot Diggity Dog! That kinda looks like fun.

And, last but not least, I found a dead balloon floating in the water.    I thought it was the right thing to do by scooping it up and throwing it in the trash.    And, it reminded me of a blog post from someone else who does the same … if you get a chance, go check out windagainstcurrent.com.   These kayakers know their stuff and seem to catch a lot of balloons along the way.

red balloon

Lake Tahoe by Kayak

9 with all of the lake

One of my goals for this summer is to circumnavigate Lake Tahoe by kayak with a friend of mine.   It is about 72 miles and something many people do every year either by camping along the shores or breaking into multi-day segments.   My plan is to split the adventure into at least six (maybe seven) day trips and share it with you through my camera.

If you would like to know more about Lake Tahoe and the water trails, access points, etc, please click HERE for more information.

You may also notice a Tahoe Keeper sticker on my kayak in many of the photos and videos.   Lake Tahoe’s water brags a 99% clarity and one the best ways to maintain that is to keep invasive aquatic species out of the water.   All boats are inspected prior to launch in Tahoe and even kayaks can spread pollutants.   Please click HERE for information on the Tahoe Keeper program and how you can get a sticker for free, too.

This is one of my favorite pictures that shows almost all of Lake Tahoe so you can see the full lake.   I took this last summer from the Tahoe Rim Trail and hiked 14 miles to see the view.  This is from Snow Peak facing West and shows the full beauty of the mountains in the Sierra.

TRT Higher Tahoe Pano

Now, for some kayaking … we put in our boats at Sand Harbor State Park and paddled north through Incline Village, Crystal Bay, Stateline Point and the day’s destination, Kings Beach.    It was a peak Saturday with temperatures in the high 90s at the lake so it was a busy beach day.

Blue skies, blue water!
Blue skies, blue water!
As we were leaving Sand Harbor, we noticed some diver and dog training exercises.   How cool is that??
As we were leaving Sand Harbor, we noticed some diver and dog training exercises. How cool is that??
There's my kayak buddy in front of me.   You can also see some traffic in the background on the highway.   It took us forever to launch and park.   Ridiculously busy day.
There’s my kayak buddy in front of me. You can also see some traffic in the background on the highway. It took us forever to launch and park. Ridiculously busy day.
The boats of Incline Village.   Schmancy.
The boats of Incline Village. Schmancy.
Seeing the houses from the water is a real treat.   I'm sure this one is a bit outside of my budget.
Seeing the houses from the water is a real treat. I’m sure this one is a bit outside of my budget.
Ya.   Nice Chris-Craft wooden boat.  Cha-ching. $$$$
Ya. Nice Chris-Craft wooden boat. Cha-ching. $$$$
parasailer
parasailer
expect to see a lot of the back of this kayaker in my next few posts, she's camera-shy but will tolerate this much fame
You can expect to see a lot of the back of this kayaker in my next few posts, she’s camera-shy but will tolerate this much fame
I have a thing for taking pictures of my paddle against the water.   This picture is straight out of camera.   The water here looks soooo blue.   It is even prettier in person.
I have a thing for taking pictures of my paddle against the water. This picture is straight out of camera. The water here looks soooo blue. It is even prettier in person.
I was trying to get a shot of another parasailer here.   They were slowing the boat down and 'dipping' the person.   Crazy.   It turns out that my camera liked the bubbles from my paddle in the water better.  I thought it looked cool too.
I was trying to get a shot of another parasailer here. They were slowing the boat down and ‘dipping’ the person. Crazy. It turns out that my camera liked the bubbles from my paddle in the water better. I thought it looked cool, too.
Stateline Point.   From Nevada into California on the water.
Stateline Point. From Nevada into California on the water.
Right after Stateline Point, the rocks and depth of the water changed.   The wind picked up a bit, too.   But, look at how clear the water is!
Right after Stateline Point, the rocks and depth of the water changed. The wind picked up a bit, too. But, look at how clear the water is!
Kids jumping off rocks ...
Kids jumping off rocks …
Stand Up Paddleboarding is popular these days.   This was the SUP Super Highway to Kings Beach.
Stand Up Paddleboarding is popular these days. This was the SUP Super Highway to Kings Beach.
Even from the water, the beach looks packed.
Even from the water, the beach looks packed.
A beautiful, busy Tahoe day.
A beautiful, busy Tahoe day.

When I’m done with my trip around the lake, I am going to put together a video with snippets from the paddle trip and post it all together.    What do you think so far?

Morning Kayaking

This past week, I have been at the annual camping spot.  My husband’s family has been setting up shop in the same spot for the last few years and it’s always a ton of fun to get everyone together.   Most of us live in the Reno area but there a few Californians that travel up to visit and Stampede Reservoir is a nice mid-point for everyone.   We are a good group so there’s lots to look forward to at big, family mealtimes and lazy afternoons on the lake shores.

But, my special treat is to wake up ridiculously early and kayak.   It’s just me and a few early bird fishermen before the water skiers that drank too much around the campfire the night before manage to roll out of their campsites and fire up the ski boats.

And, now, thanks to a waterproof Nikon, I can share some of it with you:

glassy waters

 

the peninsula

So, where is this oasis?   Stampede Reservoir is just outside of Truckee, California.   I did a little homework and discovered that the man-made dam was built in 1970 as a Bureau of Reclamation project.   For more info, click HERE.   If you are interested in the local fishing report, click HERE.  I’m not into fishing but was impressed by the Mountain Hardware site.   It’s a pretty neat store for all kinds of stuff in Truckee, too.

Back to kayaking …

campsites
if you look really hard, you can see some of my family’s campers … sorta

tree reflection

I wanted to lean over and do a selfie here but had the sense to not tempt fate and end up in the cold water.
I wanted to lean over and do a selfie here but had the sense to not tempt fate and end up in the cold water.

I did a little video of some morning zen paddling to share with you, check it out on YouTube HERE.   I haven’t figured out how (or paid for the upgrade) to embed the video into the blog so you’re just going to have to deal with clicking through to it.

Have you been out on the water this summer?

Now, for some artsy stuff:

bw feather in colorbw feather

There were tons of feathers floating on the water all morning.   This is a shot including the reflection.   Which do you like better: color or black and white?