Lake Tahoe on a Friday! 9/21/12

In our effort to avoid weekend crowds, we missed our last opportunity this year to ride the gondola from Squaw Valley @ 6200' to High Camp @ 8200' - it would only be open this coming weekend for its final runs in 2012.  Oh well.  We were all dressed to hike the high country, but twas not to be.  Instead, we ate our picnic lunch in Squaw Valley in full view of the gorgeous mountains.  Looked like a mountain bike race was being held, as evidenced by bikes careening down slopes usually associated with downhill skiers in deep snow pack, à la the Winter Olympics held here in 1960.  The bikers were wearing numbered bibs and extra-protective helmets.  The day was warm, the mountain air dry and crisp.  After eating, we strolled around the Village before driving to the Truckee River Dam.

The gondola heading down, back to the barn. 

Anne and Rus in Squaw Village; the gondola tower vaguely seen on top of yonder mountain.

Dam at the mouth of Lake Tahoe's single outlet:  the Truckee River.

Truckee River rushing under Fanny Bridge as it emerges from the lake.
Unretouched photo - the water really is turquoise and as clear as tap water.

From the Dam, we climbed back into the car, heading south along the lake, and checked out various state campgrounds.  Anne suggested we drive down to Emerald Bay to look at the Vikingshom Castle.  She read that the castle, built in 1929, was considered to be the finest example of Scandinavian architecture in the U.S.  The parking lot was nearly full when we pulled in, so summer may end tomorrow, but people are still out and about on a Friday!  We discovered the castle could only be accessed by a one-mile hike down to the water and the same one-mile STRENUOUS hike back up to the parking lot.  We elected to view it online!  Inspiration Point vista afforded us wonderful lake views.  The emerald-blue water sparkled in the sun.

Emerald Bay.  Can you see Jimmy?  The distant shore is in the State of Nevada.

Rus and Anne; me and Jimmy at Inspiration Point.

Fannette Island - Tahoe's only island, and site of Vikingsholm Tea House.
Kayaks paddle to it.  Wish we'd had kayaks, too!

In 1861, Mark Twain wrote of Lake Tahoe:  "So singularly clear was the water that when it was only twenty or thirty feet deep the bottom was so perfectly distinct that the boat seemed floating in the air!  Yes, where it was even eighty feet deep.  Every little pebble was distinct, every speckled trout, every hands-breadth of sand...."

We continued driving around the lake and got caught up in road construction and traffic in South Lake Tahoe, which was no fun.  However, we figured as long as we'd gotten this far, we may as well circumnavigate the whole lake (Lake Tahoe has 71 miles of shoreline).  Once we broke thru the jam, we enjoyed the rest of our drive.

On the opposite shore, Rus climbed the boulder for the best view.
This was taken near Sand Harbor State Pk in Nevada.

And finally, at the northern reaches of the lake we reached Hwy 267, which would take us to Truckee, where we hoped to eat dinner!  Recommended by [my son] Matt, and starving, we drove to Jax Diner at dusk.  When we were seated in a booth, the signed photo below is what Jimmy and I would see on the wall behind Anne and Rus while we ate! We were unaware till now that Jax had been visited by Guy Fieri, of Food Networks popular show:  Diners, Drive-ins and Dives.  We also give Jax at the Tracks a thumbs-up!

Dunno what time we arrived home; maybe 10 pm - very full day, very good day.  We certainly know how to use up a day!!!

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