Lake Tahoe

August 7-9, 2012

We arrived in South Tahoe late in the afternoon of August 7 after our drive from Mono Lake and settled in for the night. After a fine breakfast, we walked just over a mile down to the gondola lift to the mountain to the south.

We boarded one of the small gondolas and were soon gliding high on the mountain with a view of the blue Lake Tahoe.

We got off at the middle station of the gondola ride where a very well-designed platform gave you excellent views of Lake Tahoe. It also gave a good view of the gondola lift.

This view to the northeast shows the expanse of Lake Tahoe from its southern shoreline.

This view to the northwest includes part of South Tahoe and extends up to the opening of Emerald Bay.

As we stood on the great viewing platform with the view of Lake Tahoe, we were keen on locating Emerald Bay. We planned to go there in the afternoon. Going straight up from the collection of boats at bottom right of the photo at right, you reach the north shore just past Emerald Bay. Coming down to the left you can just make out the entrance to the bay.

Rod is always interested in small game hunting, and you know that the squirrels will show up at any large lookout point like this. This golden-mantled ground squirrel looks like a real veteran.

By contrast, this tiny three-striped chipmunk looks like a very young one, compared to the one we saw at Devil's Postpile two days ago.

It was a friendly crowd around, swapping squirrel tales and other conversation. We volunteered to take some group pictures, and they returned the favor.

We continued the gondola ride to the top of its run, which was over the top of one rocky peak. There we got off to explore that area on foot. There was a large wooden dining facility where we got a cup of coffee. It was nearly empty, but it gave a sense of the size of this operation during the snow season. We decided to take the open chair lift to the next level. We had a look back at the big dining facility as we started up on the chairlift.

The chairlift gave us even higher views of Lake Tahoe.

We had expected the great Lake Tahoe view, but when we got higher, we could see over the intervening mountains and down into Carson valley of Nevada, the area we had traveled through yesterday on our way from Mono Lake. This time we had just swept smoothly up the chair lift to get over those mountains, but yesterday we had spent a long time on switchbacks up the mountain road and over the pass.

Up the gondola lift and up the chair lift, and we still weren't at the top of the mountain. We started walking on the trail, and when we reached the lift top of another chairlift from an eastern valley, we saw the elevation of 9817 feet and we understood why we were puffing as we climbed the steep trail. This is pretty high for Georgia folks!

We headed back toward the chairlift after our time of exploration around 10,000 ft.

We certainly enjoyed the lovely blue color of Lake Tahoe from this height.

Our first stage downward was on the open chairlift.

Then we again boarded the gondolas for the steep drop downward toward the town of South Tahoe.

Emerald Bay

It is hard to overstate the beauty of Emerald Bay on the southwest corner of Lake Tahoe. The beautiful water, tiny Fannette Island, and the magnificent forest make it an almost magical place.

Fannette Island is the only island to be found in all of Lake Tahoe. It is an upthrust of granite that rises 150 feet above the water. The bay is presumed to have been gouged out by glaciers, so it appears that the granite island was just tough enough that the glacier rode over it.

The stone structure on top that looks like a miniature castle is the "Tea House" built in 1928-29. After being transported to the island by motorboat, Mrs. Knight and her guests would occasionally be served tea there. A small fireplace in the corner and a large oak table and four oak chairs in the center of the 16 by 16 foot room gave it a very rustic appearance. Only the walls now remain, but it certainly adds to the uniqueness of the appearance of the island.

Enhancing the sense of the magical is that castle-like structure on Fannette Island.

Not visible from this vantage point is the 38-room Vikingsholm Castle, built by Mrs Lora Josephine Knight as a summer home.

Moving outward from the island, Emerald Bay opens up into the blue expanse of Lake Tahoe.

It was a reverie just to stand on the shore and take in the richness of the scene with the lush forest, the island, and the dramatic color of the water.

We moved on around to the end of Emerald Bay where we could get a view of the entire bay as seen above.

We had gotten a view of Emerald Bay from our airline flight on August 2, although I didn't recognize it at the time. We had also visited it on our 1982 trip and I remembered its beauty, so that's what prompted this afternoon's drive out to the bay.

Dunnigan to Atlanta

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