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!

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 …



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:


And, here’s the sunrise:


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:


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


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   These kayakers know their stuff and seem to catch a lot of balloons along the way.

red balloon

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 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.

Instagram Web Profiles

Instagram has been releasing web profiles for users all week.  I have been checking and waiting and checking and waiting in anticipation of sharing my profile with you.   There has been a lot of talk about whether or not Instagram is real photography and, before that, whether or not it should have just stayed an iPhone app.    Well, I’m an Android user that prefers her Nikon and I think Instagram is fun.    That’s all.   Just fun.

Are you an Instagrammer?   What do you think about it being a phone app or a web profile?   Either way, come on over and join me at

Or, just enjoy some of my recent favorites here:

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Welcome to #Nevada #wwimadventure

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Golden blast of autumn color

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Sand Harbor, #tahoe #kayak

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Mount Rose, Reno, NV

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I am thinking about doing a weekly Instagram post for this site so get ready to see more funky filters and retro shots soon.

Autumn in the Sierras

Photographers who carry their cameras around with them all of the time get the best photos.   That’s what I’ve been told anyway.   And, some days that works out to be a good idea.    I was lucky enough to have my camera with me the other day when I drove up to Lake Tahoe for other work-for-pay activities and managed to get off the beaten path for a couple of minutes to take some pictures.   Enjoy.

This is Spooner Lake and is just up the hill from Carson City, NV, before you make the turn to Lake Tahoe.   I think a lot of people are distracted by the beauty of Tahoe and forget what a little gem this one is.

It’s hard for me to resist a good look at some aspens changing colors in contrast to the pine trees here.   A little touch of red would have made it all too perfect.

It was a little breezy at Tahoe today but the big blue sky and big blue water are still so inviting.   I could sit at this bench all day.

Maybe, I should.    This is a much better spot than any office.

Don’t tell this cute little butterfly that winter is coming … and that I am looking forward to it, too.