August At Altitude

While awaiting delivery of the Sportsmobile, spending time in Tahoe sounded like a good idea. Tahoe winters are familiar – we skied Heavenly, Squaw and Alpine over several winters. One summer, we camped near Emerald Bay for a week..  A condo at Northstar Resort became our home for the month of August.

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We filled the SUV rental car with mountain bikes, hiking boots and bathing suits. One of the great benefits of Northstar in the summer is the mountain bike park and the hiking trails.  On our first full day, we popped some sandwiches in our pack and hopped on the gondola to ride up to mid mountain for a hike on the Sawmill Lake trail.

The trail map showed the difficulty as a blue level. Hiking and mountain biking trails are marked on the map just like ski trails with green easiest, blue more difficult and black most difficult. A couple of guys bounded down the trail with a passing “good luck” quip. Could they tell we were only one day into the altitude adjustment?

Weekday activities in the summer find trails almost empty. About 3/4 of the way to Sawmill Lake, we stopped to snack on the peppered turkey sandwiches. With no other hikers in the area, we both silently started to think about bears. Duncan probably thought I was just cleaning off my trekking poles when I tapped them together ten times. “Hey, what do you think about heading back to the gondola?”, I proposed.

After approximately 100 yards, a group of hikers stopped to ask directions to the lake. We pointed them along our previous path. Five minutes later, we hear the roar of a bear throughout the mountain.  Another five minutes later, the same group of hikers caught up with us. They came within a hundred feet of a bear who most likely wanted some of our peppered turkey sandwiches.

Over beers (not bears) in the village, a table of folks told the story of a woman spraying herself with bear spray to deter bears. The story went on to claim bears are actually attracted to pepper. I am not sure any aspect of the story is true. That said, we did not take peppered turkey on any additional hikes.

There is simply no way to get bored in Tahoe.

Do you want water? What kind? Lakes or rivers? What type of transport – boat, kayak, SUP, raft, wave runner, canoe, paddle wheeler?

Do you want to be on wheels? Duncan enjoyed a two hour downhill mountain biking class.

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We biked the Truckee River Trail during the eclipse.

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How about some scenic vistas?

Finally, a few random shots.

The month in Tahoe exceeded expectations. We will return in the campervan!

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