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

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?

 

 

The Car Wash

 

 

 

I love going through the car wash.   There is just something fun about it for me.    I’m pretty sure it has something to do with that movie from the 70’s and, of course, the Rose Royce classic song.

“At the car wash
Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa
Talkin’ about the car wash, girl
Come on, ya’ll and sing it for me”

Most automated car washes are just a quickie through the rinse machine by a gas station and nothing like the one in the Car Wash movie but … every now and then, I pretend.

First, there’s the rinse:

wpid-IMG_20130607_142329.jpg

 

Then, the big roller thing that seems to beat the hell of your car:

image

 

Oh, don’t forget about the side, flappy/scrubby things.    This is right about when panic starts to set in and you realize that you cannot leave your vehicle.   And, you imagine some idiot trying … which would be complete madness.

image

 

Almost, there … final rinse.   Then, the massive dryer thing.  You can see daylight again.

image

 

Just wait for the green light from the machine and enjoy that fresh, clean car feeling.   Aaaah.

“(Hey, get your car washed today)
Fill up and you don’t have to pay
Come on and give us a play
(Do the wash, right away)”

Disney’s World of Color

After spending a week at Disneyland and California Adventure, one of my favorite memories is the World of Color show.    There are so many fun things in both parks, but this was pretty spectacular.   And, for my family, it was a nice end to a great day.    We had dinner in Carthay Circle, which was fantastic, and walked for a bit before the show started.   Then, we enjoyed a reserved viewing area that came with our dinner package.   I was truly impressed with the magic of Disney, the lights, the music and how they managed to figure out that they could project images on the spraying fountains.    If you like the water fountains at the Bellagio in Las Vegas, you will enjoy the World of Color.

World of Color

rainbow beams

pirate lady and the tramp dumbo dory buzz bambi ariel

 

yellow and blue woc1 red rainbow skittles

fire

All of these photos were taken with a Nikon CoolPix AW100 and captured as stills from the HD video.   I’m still pretty impressed with myself for getting it all to work out right for the photos and, when photographing a nighttime show, I found this to be an easier way to get to enjoy the event with my family rather than fiddling with a bigger DSLR to get the longer exposure shots.    And, I haven’t had the best luck with long exposure shots so this was much less frustrating for me.    Let me know what you think of the results.   And, if you have any tips on night shots or fireworks-type shows, please comment with your suggestions.   Thanks.

My full video from the show is almost thirty minutes and can be found HERE on my Youtube page.

Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge, Nevada

The Stillwater National Wildlife Refuge is near Fallon, Nevada, and is about an hour east of Reno.    It is strangely listed as a ghost town on many websites but it is actually inhabited by a variety of Nevadans such as Paiute and Western Shoshone Indians, alfalfa farmers and a cattle rancher or two from Fallon.   There is a significant amount of history to the area and is a wildlife preserve for many wetland species even though it ironically borders a private hunting club.   The dichotomy of Stillwater is strong.   Sometimes, when the water is being released for the local farms, the area will be dry as a bone for miles and, when the water is plentiful, it is green as could be.   It’s like the Kalahari Desert of Nevada.

stillwater-no-water_1 stillwater technicolor horzion stillwater desert horizon stillwater mtn horizon south entrance 2 stillwater duckwater stillwater yellow road 102211_1402 102211_1406 102211_1416 102211_1452 blue heron profile blue heron z1 blue heron z2 blue heron z3 blue heron z4

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.