"Jewel of the Sierras!" Wednesday, 9/10/14
California is a big state! And it isn't always easy to "get there from here." Jimmy and I were hoping to go on a day hike with Laurie and Odel.... but where? We live in Nevada City and they live near Placerville -- not necessarily a great distance, but there's hills 'n mountains in the way and few roads across. We compromised with the five-mile Rubicon hike along magnificent Lake Tahoe. Both couples had an approximate two-hour drive to get to the trailhead at Vikingsholm. No matter... even the to/from drive is beautiful!
Laurie and Odel had hiked this trail before and she assured us that Rubicon is a delightfully easy hike with fairly level walking, stunning views of Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe, and quiet forests along the way. Best of all, we parked our Prius at D.L. Bliss State Park and they parked their Prius in the Vikingsholm parking lot, hence no doubling back or major uphills. After last week's effort on our part, this sounded perfect! Under sunny, sapphire-blue skies, with a temp of 76°, we strapped on our packs and started down the steep one-mile pedestrian trail at Emerald Bay Overlook to Vikingsholm below.
I'll give you a teeny bit of history on Vikingsholm. In 1928, a lady from Santa Barbara CA bought the site at the head of Emerald Bay and instructed Lennart Palme, a Swedish-born architect, to design a home for her. The construction methods are the same as those used in ancient Scandinavia, with authentic furnishings, etc. The home was completed in 1929 and Mrs. Knight spent her summers at the home till her death in 1945. Nowadays, during the summer, you can take a guided tour, but it wasn't open today. My photos don't do it justice, sorry. It's beautiful.
Fannette Island is the only island in Lake Tahoe, and it rises 150' above the water. In 1929 Mrs. Knight had a stone tea house, resembling a miniature castle, built on the island. She and her guests would take a motorboat to have tea out there. Cool beans. Alas, vandals wrecked it and only the stone shell is left. You see all manner of watercraft in the waters here and walking on the island IS allowed. You just can't swim to get there. Trust me, you wouldn't want to swim in these cold waters!
The tea house is barely visible behind the paddle wheeler's top deck.
Watch out! It's a rock shark!
Crystal-clear brilliant blue waters in Lake of the Sky.
Jimmy, Laurie, and Odel... making our way alongside the lake on the Rubicon Trail.
We did hike up and down some, and don't you think it's worth it for a view such as this? We ate our lunches up on these granite boulders.
"Up above the world so high, like a diamond in the sky!" Rubicon Point Lighthouse was the "highest elevation lighthouse on a navigable body of water in the entire world!" Built in 1919 at a cost of $900.00, it was abandoned in 1921 when a light was built at Sugar Pine Point.
Haha, we all thought it looked like an outhouse!
We finished our trek sometime around 4pm and began the long drive home. Road construction delayed our progress. By the time we were five miles out of Nevada City, we pulled into The Old Five-Mile House (aptly named) and ate outside on their large patio in the waning evening hours, relaxing and listening to live light jazz. Comfortable in the evening air, still wearing shorts and tees, we drained two cups of coffee each, and I wolfed down a veggie pizza while Jimmy devoured a good-sized burger. After driving all that distance and the long hike, this was the perfect ending to a great day. We didn't get home till 12 hours after we left our house, but that was ok. The whole day was A-OK!!