Outdoor Project

Hello out there in the blog-o-sphere … it has been a while.    What have you been doing?    Holidays, happy stuff, winter adventures?    Ya, me too.

I have news for you.   And, it’s fun!    I have become part of a new group (or two) and can now share it with you.    Check out, Outdoor Project.    The company is a fun group of people looking to be a resource for your outdoor adventures.   Right now, the bulk of hiking, biking, paddling, snow fun is based in the Pacific-Northwest but this group has high aspirations to do more.   And, I’ll be adding in some Nevada/California fun, too.

I’m working on adding in my kayaking adventures from Lake Tahoe.   If you been following along, you’ve read about it here on this blog, but here’s my Outdoor Project post.

Ya.   Nice Chris-Craft wooden boat.  Cha-ching. $$$$

BONUS!   You can join in on this fun, too.    It’s free to become a member of the site and they are currently recruiting contributors.   Check out the site and consider joining us.   Let them know that I sent you!   If you have questions or would like more contact information, please email me at gingerleaphoto (at) aol (dot) com.

P.S.   I have some other plans for the new year … 2014 is going to be great!   And, it involves FILM.   Stay tuned …

 

 

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

Point Pinos Lighthouse, California

pp lighthouse

The Point Pinos LIghthouse in Pacific Grove, California, is about five minutes (depending on traffic) away from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   If you are planning a visit, this is a great side trip and is much less crowded than Cannery Row or any of the downtown area.

I became a lighthouse nerd a few years ago when my family took a camping trip up the Oregon coast and we stopped at all of the lighthouse along the way.   I have a little lighthouse “passport” and the volunteers or tour docents that work the lighthouse have stamps and stickers for the book when you present it to them.   It’s a fun thing and we always buy a book or magnet from the gift shop.   Lighthouse restoration and preservation seems like a pretty decent cause to donate a little cash to, right?

Point Pinos is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the west coast of the United States.   It has been flashing a Fresnel lens nightly since February 1, 1855.

pp light

There is even a golf course just outside the lighthouse with fantastic ocean views.   Oh, and the deer don’t seem to mind if you play through, either.   Wow.   Deer.   Right in the middle of a town.  (If you knew how crowded this part of California actually is, you would share my awe.)

pp light golfers

pp light deer

We weren’t there during the right time of year but, apparently, Pacific Grove is also known as Butterfly Town for the Monarch butterflies that migrate through during the winter.   Have you ever been there to see the butterflies?   I’m certain it’s nothing short of spectacular.

Seahorses, Monterey Bay Aquarium

Allrighty … here’s another post from the Monterey Bay Aquarium.   I know I have bragged about how great the visit was, how awesome the jellyfish were, and how beautiful The Kelp Forest is … but, seahorses are the BEST!   I had forgotten there were so many kinds.   And, BONUS, did you know seahorse Dads are the childbearers of the species?   Yup.   The Daddies are the Mommies.   Go figure.

OK.   That’s all the science stuff that I remember from the exhibit.   On to photos …

The Kelp Forest, Monterey Bay Aquarium

I have to admit that I didn’t think The Kelp Forest was going to be that big of a deal.   I mean, I really thought it was going to be a fish tank with some seaweed.   Honest.   Wow — I was wrong.  This is way cooler than just some seaweed.   Way cooler!

aq kelp jd mom

The tank is three stories tall and open to top of the building so natural sunlight shines in through the water.   It is amazing.   I could have stood there all day watching leopard sharks circle the kelp.   All.day.long.

I never imagined that kelp would be this beautiful.
I never imagined that kelp would be this beautiful.
Peek-a-boo, Fishy!
Peek-a-boo, Fishy!
Scuba Steve answers questions from INSIDE the tank.
Scuba Steve answers questions from INSIDE the tank.
aq kelp forest
Just a section of the huge kelp forest tank.

This is a must-see and makes the $35 per person admission to the aquarium worth it.   To watch some video of the sharks in the kelp forest, check out my YouTube channel, HERE.   I don’t have the video upgrade on this blog so … you gotta click through to get there …

Have you ever been to The Kelp Forest at the Monterey Bay Aquarium?   What did you think?

Is there another exhibit at a different aquarium that compares to this?   Please tell me about it.   I think I might be adding aquarium visits to my travel wish list for the future.

The Jellies Experience, Monterey Bay Aquarium

The Monterey Bay Aquarium is one of those magical places that must visited at least once in your lifetime.   If you are lucky enough to live close, it is mandatory that you visit regularly to see how the exhibits change and go to special events.  The aquarium sits right on the bay and there are tons of natural wildlife to see all along the coast including seals, sea otters and whales.   And, in case you are feeling left out because you are too far away, those crazy scientists in Monterey have lots of live webcams for you to check out the sea creatures from home, right HERE.

Today, however, I am going to take you with me on part of my family’s adventure through the aquarium.    It was a wild Saturday during peak hours in the middle of summer.   So, that means my four year old ran out of patience pretty quickly and every square inch of the place was crawling with tourists (just like us) trying to get the perfect picture for their scrapbooks.   I would have loved to stayed in the aquarium all day to learn more about all of the different species and the interesting trivia that wins on Jeopardy but that just wasn’t possible.  Here’s the highlights and our trippy adventure with the jellyfish.

“The Jellies Experience” is the jellyfish exhibit and has been set up with a 60s theme; groovy music, strobe lights, and a psychedelic feel that’s totally mellow, ya.   Right on!

So, enjoy the fake names that I have given all of the jellyfish in the photos because I wasn’t paying attention to all of the signs and see what I think they should be called.

Do you have an aquarium near you?   What do you name the jellyfish?

Up next:   The Kelp Forest …

Beach Days

My family and I visited Monterey Bay in California last weekend.   It was just a short visit but we made sure to get some beach time in while we were there.   The sun cooperated on the first day but the foggy, marine layer stuck around too long on the second day for us to get much warm weather.   It didn’t matter to us, though.   The icy, cold water of the Pacific was still tolerable enough to wash our souls a little bit.   It’s always nice to get away from the norm for a bit and recharge.  What do you do to recharge?

water view

watching the waves   beach1 b

beach2 wide view

Plus, those cold weather days are good for seashell hunting!   Check out our beach loot:

beach loot

Stay tuned for more Monterey photos … of course, we visited the aquarium.   And, there’s a cool lighthouse out on the point, too!

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?

Lake Tahoe, Nevada

Lake Tahoe is incredible.    I have lived near here my entire life and it still takes my breath away to look at this glorious jewel of the Sierras.

According to the United States Geological Survey, “Lake Tahoe is located along the border of California and Nevada. About one-third of the basin is in Nevada and two-thirds is in California. The basin is bounded by the Sierra Nevada to the west and the Carson Range to the east. The Lake Tahoe Basin was formed by geologic block (normal) faulting about 2 to 3 million years ago. The down-dropping of the Lake Tahoe Basin and the uplifting of the adjacent mountains resulted in dramatic topographic relief in the region. Mountain peaks rise to more than 10,000 ft (3,048 m) above sea level. The surface of Lake Tahoe has an average elevation of about 6,225 ft (1,897 m).

Lake Tahoe was occupied by the Washoe Tribe for many centuries. The Washoe Indians were hunting and fishing in the area long before General John C. Fremont encountered it in 1844 during his exploration of the Far West. Since then, public appreciation of Lake Tahoe has grown. Efforts were made during the 1912, 1913, and 1918 congressional sessions to designate the basin as a national park but were unsuccessful.”

The name Tahoe has an interesting and disputed history.   According to tales and Mark Twain-style facts, the lake has been called  a variety of names my map-makers and early settlers such as Lake Fremont, Mountain Lake and even officially named Lake Bigler after California’s third governor, John Bigler.

I prefer some of the tales that are outlined by http://www.rubiconbay.net/name.htm as follows:

John Charles Fremont, in 1844, had heard “Tah-ve” from the friendly Washoe Indians defined as “snow.” Henry DeGroot, who listened attentively to the Washoes and Paiutes, interpreted “Tah-oo-e” as meaning “much water” and “Tah-oo” as simply “water.” Other spellings of the word were given as “Taa-joe,” “Ta-ho,” “Ta-jo,” and even “Pah-hoe.” To complicate matters further a Nevada newsman voiced the opinion that “Ta-au” in Washoe dialect was pronounced “Was-soo” and sometimes even “Da-au” with the word meaning “lake.”

Clear water, deep water, big water, snow water, and fish lake were additional fist shaking translations argued back and forth with every interpretation actually the opinion of some white man.

One of the more logical explanations of how the word Tahoe came to be applied to the lake is that Spanish explorers preceded Fremont in the discovery of this body of water, possibly in the early 1800’s and noting its obvious resemblance to a deep chasm filled with water gave it the Spanish name, “Tajo,” pronounced “Ta-ho.”

As “Tajo” is variously translated “cleft,” incision” and “cut,” in addition to chasm, it is conjectured that “Tajo” could have entered the Washoe Indian vocabulary as easily as other Spanish words have entered native languages.

Pronunciation of the word Tahoe has also been the source of heated debate for nearly a century. Pioneer Lakers pronounce “Ta-hoe” as “Tay-hoe,” and the true mark of the early lake resident is the inflection he or she gives the word. One venerable gentleman, who had lived 80 years in the Tahoe region, insisted that tey always used to say “Tay-ho” and “Tellec.” Another old-timer with a background of seven and on-half decades at the lake indicated that “Tay-ho” was the accepted pronunciation until the steamer Tahoe was launched in 1896, at which time the pronunciation was changed to “Ta-hoe.”

Editor R. E. Wood, writing in the Tahoe Tattler during the summer of 1881, added and element of confusion to the accepted version of Tahoe’s early day pronunciation. He chided his readers, “Only the Washoe Indians say ‘Tay-hoe,’ the white men say, and correctly so, ‘Ta-hoe’.”

The generally accepted interpretation of Tahoe today is “Big Water” and, in spite of the eminent Mark Twain’s views, Tahoe symbolizes the epitome of magnificence found in those high country reaches of the world wherever blue sky, towering mountain peaks and snow water combine.

This holds true today with the name Tahoe, although it took a full 75 years from the passing of the statute legalizing Lake Bigler, before the California Legislature solemnly convened and rescinded the act.

The new statute read, “The lake known as Bigler shall hereinafter be known as Lake Tahoe.” A spirited issue had at last been laid to rest.”

For us here in the Sierras, winter hasn’t fully arrived yet even though we do currently have a touch of snow.   The ski resorts are making snow and will open this weekend.  Take one last look at some Indian Summer shots of “Big Water” and let me know what you think.