Waiting for Winter

The weeks before ski season always leave me in an uncomfortable state of limbo.  The days are too short – and cold – for any long mountain bike rides, and hiking requires more layers and planning.  Add to that a stupid injury (mine), the start of a bad cold (N) and unusual arctic temps, and we realized our options were limited this weekend.  In the end we headed to Fallen Leaf Lake, an area neither of us had been to recently.
Boathouse at Fallen Leaf Lake

It had been awhile since I’d explored the north side of the lake, where little treasures await, including an abandoned boathouse and the stone foundation of what might have been a grand lake house.  The vantage point from this side of the lake is unfamiliar, and we both stared at Freel Peak for a second or two before we realized what it was.

The trail on this side of the lake eventually meets up with an enclave of summer homes located in the shadow of Mt. Tallac. While not as extravagant as some of the homes at the end of Fallen Leaf Lake, these were still a far cry from a Forest Service cabin.  I’m pretty sure that the paved road out there isn’t plowed in the winter, but as there was nobody around, I couldn’t confirm.  We both agreed that having a snowmobile and stockpiled supplies in one of the lakefront properties would make for an awesome winter, considering the backcountry skiing possibilities nearby.

California Wildfires, Round 32

This is getting old.  More smoke has invaded the Tahoe basin, giving residents and visitors alike a taste of Beijing air quality.  This time it’s due to a raging outta control fire near (and soon to be in?) Yosemite.  Since much of the area that’s currently an inferno hasn’t burned in 100 years, it’s not likely that this one will be contained anytime soon.

So, what’s a person to do in a recreation mecca when recreation may be hazardous to one’s health?  I’ll call it ‘having a tourist’ day.  Instead of doing a long, arduous bike ride or hike, I took the dog and a visiting friend to Fallen Leaf lake for a gentle stroll and stick throwing session for the dog, and then onto the Valhalla & Pope Beach estates.  This was followed by a mellow bike ride to the beach for lunch.  Sad to say, that wiped me out and I’m currently dreaming of blue skies and genuine sunshine as I avoid the worst of the afternoon smoke.

Global Warming is a Liberal Conspiracy

How else do you explain record breaking temperatures in Northern California this weekend? Heck, it’s rarely 80 degrees in South Lake Tahoe in high summer, and it’s been that and warmer the past few days.   I have no idea what this bodes for summer proper, but for this weekend it meant backcountry skiing wasn’t such a good idea (without freezing nighttime temperatures spring corn snow is kaput) and the already high streams are likely to run higher in the next few days.

What’s a heat-fearing person to do? I did manage to rally for two very fun mountain bike rides on some lower elevation trails that are already melted out and becoming dusty. To make up for neglecting the dog on said rides I took her to swim in Fallen Leaf Lake.  Despite really warm air temps the lake water is still very cold – so much so that even in the shallow areas I could barely get to knee deep.  It was gorgeous though, all early spring green and disappearing white on the mountains, and with the atypically calm day the water was glasslike.  Too bad I have no camera these days to capture such moments, since there’s no way my prose can.

Either the sticks were heavier than usual or Soleil is simply out of shape, because she’s been catatonic since we got home. Smelly, damp and snoring, she could be a poster child for the happy dog.