Another long overdue blog post - Lake Tahoe. I never really bought into all the hype around Lake Tahoe. But, since visiting, I've come around. It's a beautful place filled with adventure and excitement.
During the long President's Day weekend, me and 11 other friends drove down to Tahoe. We used Airbnb to find a cabin that would hold all 12 of us comfortably. The neighborhoods around Tahoe remind me of summer camp. Many of the homes resemble cabins and lodges. The one we stayed at was in Northern Lake Tahoe and was just a short walk down to the water. Can you believe that this is what is looked like!? Just your stereotypical cabin, no big deal. (Kidding - I loved it)
Our first day there was extremely casual. We left at 4:30 am to beat the traffic on Friday, and since we knew the drive was going to be long, we wanted to get there early so we could do some work before jumping into the fun. However, getting up at 4:30 means that everyone was pretty much dead the rest of the day. Some of us used the day to get some work done, some did a bit of exploring around the area. And others took the opportunity to nap off the early morning.
The next morning, we decided to go on a big hike. With a good night's sleep under our belts, we decided to do the 10 mile Mount Tallac Trail. Because what are a bunch of 20-somethings gonna do instead? No, we couldn't do a shorter or easier hike. This one was rated #1 and we were determined to do it!
On our way to the trail, we stopped at Emerald Bay. This is the scenic viewpoint where everyone and their mother takes photos. We're guilty too, but it's so beautiful. Worth the stop.
Alrighty folks - the Mount Tallac Hike. This hike is better suited for warm weather. When we went, there was quite a bit of snow on the ground, which made it significantly harder. We were slipping and sliding the whole way, but we made it to the top and the bottom without any casualties. The first 3 miles of the hike are rather mild. Most people can do the first part of the hike without too much worry. If you get the opportunity, even going on the easier part of the hike is worth it.
This part of the hike is also significantly less snowy, but parts were still icy. It offers great views of the Lake as well. I'm going to be honest and say I have no clue what this adjoining lake is called, but it's gorgeous
The further we went, the more beautiful the views became. The snow got deeper too. What was the most surprising was how rocky it was to the summit. You literally had to scale loose rocks. I'm not going to lie, I didn't make it to the summit. I legitimately thought I might die on the way up. We essentially got as far as we could (although a group of my friends made it to the tippy top! Kudos to you homies). I'm going to to go ahead and say that we (basically) made it to the top. And in our defense, we were so close.
The hardest part of the hike was getting down the Mountain. In comparison, doing down was a lot worse than going up. At one point I had a full fledged face plant. It was comical. None of us had grippy shoes and we spent a lot of the time sliding down on our butts. It was a real challenge. The hike down was like giant slip and slide and it was not a cute look to say the least.
By the time we got down, we had enough adventures for the day. Back home we went.
I went skiing for the first time that Sunday! A group of us went skiing while the others decided to go see more of the Lake. I figured that if we drove 4 hours to Tahoe, I should at least try skiing. Unfortunately, the weather was miserable - snow, ice, and wind. None of us brought any cold weather gear to California so we had on jeans, sweatpants, and light jackets. It was a sight. We tried to go to Squaw Valley, but they were experiencing 80 mph winds and all their runs were closed. So instead, we booked it to Alpine Meadows.
After getting our rental gear and tickets, my friends taught me to "pizza" and "french fry" with the skis and told me to go for it. Imagine: a small adult who has never skied, in makeshift ski clothing (none of us brought winter gear), standing at the top of the bunny hill. It was not pretty. But, I am proud to announce that I only fell once all day!
The weather was definitely a downer, but since most of us were terrible at skiing, it was a bonding opportunity. Misery loves company. I think the ski lift operators were surprised that we were braving the ice and snow. I paid $100 - I was going to get my money's worth. And it was a ton of fun. I think next time I go I can graduate to the easy blue trails.
And just like that, our fun weekend getaway was over. We spent the last day packing up and going home. We did stop for some brunch and souvenir shopping. The traffic was horrendous on the way home. It took us an extra 2 hours to get back to Silicon Valley. It was all worth it though. I had one of my favorite weekends with some great people. Trips like these are what really make the college experience worth it.
Tips for Tahoe
- If you go in winter, bring winter appropriate clothing
- If you go skiing, bring ski appropriate clothes
- Aka, it's cold in Tahoe, despite it being located in California
- Traffic is awful. Leave early or late to avoid it.
- Check Airbnb for some great accomodation options. Most are pretty affordable.
- Pick hikes that are doable in winter. As fun as Mount Tallac was, it would be better in the summer.
- If it snows, the police may require you to have snow chains on your car. As someone from New England, this seems terribly ridiculous. Snow chains? Really? But alas, people from California have no clue how to drive in bad weather (my roommate didn't know how to defrost a car!!!!) It's comical. But definitely have snow chains ready if you plan on going in the winter.
- Bears are present in Tahoe, so don't leave any food in your car.
- HAVE FUN TAHOE IS GREAT