Wednesday, December 06, 2006

Lake Tahoe - Part 1

There is one thing that I have to give credit to California: no other state it he US has so much beautiful scenery all packed together within a day's trip. Its 3 vastly different big cities (San Diego, Los Angeles, San Fransisco) are surrounded by countless beaches, numerous ski resorts, exhilarating national parks, deserts, mountains, cliffs, valleys.... the list just keeps growing. Here is another beautiful spot that we found out in our recent visit at Lake Tahoe:

Lake Tahoe (the blue waters at the far background) is a huge lake at an altitude of 2km. In this picture above you can see another smaller lake in the foreground and at a slightly higher altitude. They are separated by and surrounded by pine trees. it is one of the most popular vacation destinations in the US because especially in the winter one can do skiing and other winter activities while in the environment of the waters and the lake. For example, look at this amazing picture on the right (not by me) with the slope overlooking the lake. It is breathtaking...

So we decided to go there for our thanksgiving weekend. We were a group of 7 people that left altogether in a minivan (it was so much fun!) and we were joined on the next day by 3 more guys from USC. We rented a nice house near the lake (it was $300 a day, and it has 4 bedrooms) and the first thing we noticed when we got there it was how perfect it was: fully equipped kitchen, living room, fireplace, BBQ, everything was there! The only items we had to buy was some supplies like food and drinks.

We had to drive a full 9 hours to get there (including stops), it is 500miles from LA. When we got there it was thanksgiving day (which means there are no people around, everyone is dining at a friendly place). We thought we were the only people in the lake, but fortunately we found an open restaurant that served traditional turkey dinner (although myself I got a steak again). This is were we took our first group picture:

This is a view of a typical bedroom in our house:

This is about 1/3 of the room; there is a double bed on the other side of the picture.

In the night I felt for the first time this year some winter. I found this CD i had downloaded (legally and free, from Ruckus) named "The most relaxing piano something". I had it playing. We started the fireplace and we turned off all the lights in the house, and just sat around the fire talking...

So the first day was extremely tiring as you realize:-) In the following day we got up, ate breakfast, prepared, and set off to hind a good hike around the lake. At this time of the year (late November) there is not much snow around to allow skiing.

I found a trail that looked interesting on the guide I had brought with me (Lonely Planet's California). When we got there there weren't many people, but there must have been bears around since the only marks we found on the snow were bear prints:

Some people in the group (aka Melania) were scared. Our reaction was this:

( it is not a fake picture!)

So we ran away. Since we had 2 hours before it got dark (which is 4pm), we went on the west side of the lake, in a place called Emerald Bay, one of the best natural ports and also one of the most photographed places anywhere in the world:

to be continued...