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!

Vivid in Black and White

Tahoe is known at the “lake of the sky” because it reflects the vivid, deep blue skies of the Sierras.   On this day, we had some interesting clouds happening.   I think this black and white treatment does the trick in showing just how dramatic this part of the world can be.   Enjoy.

z bw homewood clouds

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?

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.