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The Rest of August

By Tim Hauserman

While Labor Day looms in the calendar, there is still a lot of awesome activities to take advantage of before the heat of summer turns to the colors of fall. Here are four great choices to enjoy in August:

Rafting The Truckee begins again:
After this past mega winter, first there was too much water flowing into the Truckee, and then when it was time to begin releasing water from downstream reservoirs, there was not enough water to raft the Truckee. Now, with a recent increase in the amount of flow it looks like the river will provide that Goldilocks level that folks are looking for. As of July 6th, 200 cubic feet per second was flowing. The best rates are between 250-400 cfs or so. Earlier this spring it was up to 1600 cfs, and in late July it was at 78 cfs. Enjoy it while you can.

Music Everywhere
There are Sunday afternoon concerts on The Commons Beach in Tahoe City, Tuesday Blues Concerts in Squaw Valley, music and a lot of other stuff when Truckee shuts down Downtown for Truckee Thursdays, and Concerts on the Beach at Kings Beach every Friday (except August 11th). Whichever event you choose, there is nothing like enjoying music outdoors in the high Sierra, whether it is under the stars or next to Tahoe’s lakeshore.

Hey…Go jump in the lake.
If you are ever going to swim in the refreshing waters of Lake Tahoe, now is the time. The August 6th reading for water temperature is 70 degrees! That’s right, pretty rare to see a 7 as the first number for a Tahoe water temp. Shallow, sandy places are warmer, while deeper, rocky shorelines, will be a bit chillier, but it’s all good. Get in there.

Check out the Woodies
Take a step back in time On August 11th-12th at The 45th annual Lake Tahoe Concours d’Elegance held at Obexer’s Boat Company in Homewood. The show is a chance to take a close look at many of the most beautiful wood boats in the country. 

laketahoeconcours.com.

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
National Laser Sailboat Championships at Lake Tahoe


By Tim Hauserman

For over thirty summers, Monday nights at North Lake Tahoe has meant Laser Racing with the Tahoe Yacht Club. Lasers are single handed sailboats that are fast and physically demanding, requiring a great deal of strength to be able to hike out and flatten the boat to both increase speed, and keep from capsizing. Many local sailors have been racing for decades, while others are new to the sport, but this past weekend was a whole new ball game as the Tahoe Yacht Club hosted the US Laser National Championships. The four day event included about 100 of the best racers in the world sailing the waters of Lake Tahoe off Lake Forest.

I was lucky enough to jump on a press boat to watch and photograph the event on Friday. The smoke from the day before had cleared and being out on the lake was spectacular. The only problem was, there was no wind. So we drove around talking to sailors, went for a swim, and throughly enjoyed a relaxing afternoon. A highlight of the wait was a sailor riding his slippery dagger board behind a coaches motorboat like a wake boarder. It was pretty astonishing balance!

Eventually the wind picked up and the races began. The skill level of the sailors was amazing. Somehow all those boats managed to bunch up just behind the starting line seconds before the gun went off, and then used their innate sense of wind to conquer the course. Racing Lasers is a combination of strength, endurance, boat handling skills, and knowledge about the wind. A bit of luck might also be involved, especially in Tahoe with it’s frequently shifting winds.

There are two classes of Lasers, the Full Size and the Radial Class, which has a smaller sail and attracts younger and lighter participants. The male winner was Marek Zaleski from Norwalk, Conn., who won an astonishing 5 of the 7 races he competed in. Hanne Weaver from Seattle became the 2017 U.S. Singlehanded Women’s Champion on Sunday, after turning in top ten performances in 5 of the 6 Radial Races.

“It was really exciting to mix it up with the best sailors in the country,” said long time Laser racer Dan Hauserman. “Some of these guys are Olympic hopefuls and in another league. It was humbling, but really fun. I think this is the biggest sailing event ever on Tahoe, and the Yacht Club did an amazing job at putting it together.”

For information about the Monday night racing series, go to tahoeyc.com

 

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
Playing on the Truckee River


by Tim Hauserman

Nothing like a Saturday afternoon ride along the Truckee River to remind me to pass on a few tips about rafting or riding on the Truckee River.

Rafting the Truckee

The big winter we just had led to a topsy turfy summer for rafting on the Truckee River. The Goldilocks zone for rafting is between 200-400 cubic feet per second (cfs) released from the dam at Fanny Bridge. During much of the spring the dam was releasing more than 1000 cfs, and at times it was over 1400 cfs, which flooded the bike trail along the river. Once the lake reached it’s maximum and there was not the need to open the gates the Watermaster started releasing more water downstream from the full Boca and Stampede Reservoirs, and cut back the releases from Lake Tahoe to about 75 cubic feet per second…not enough to raft.

Today, I saw a lot of private rafts in the water. Unfortunately, I was seeing rafts in the water being pulled by people who were dragging them over rocks instead of floating. There are two ways to find out when is a good time to raft the Truckee. First, if the rafting companies are open and floating down the Upper Truckee, there is the right amount of water being released (they are not operating now), and second, you can go to the USGS Link that shows how much water is being released.

https://waterdata.usgs.gov/ca/nwis/uv?site_no=10337500

Look for somewhere in the 200-400 cfs range.

Riding along the Truckee

The five mile bike trail from Tahoe City to Squaw Valley is one of the prettiest trails anywhere, traveling next to the river the whole way. It’s a narrow trail, and as you can imagine, a popular place. Here are a few tips to both keep you safe and to literally avoid running into others on the trail:

Remember a bike trail is like a road, and just like on a road, if you stand in the middle of it and don’t pay attention, you may get run over.

Ride on the right, walk on the left (so that the walkers can see you coming).

If riding, say, “On your left” as you pass people on the left.

If walking, be prepared for fast moving bikes, so you don’t freak out when you hear someone say “On your left”

Take up just one side of the trail. If you are a group of four people, please don’t walk or ride four abreast, this makes it impossible for a fast moving bike to get around you. Remember a bike trail is like a road, and like a road, you are only allowed one lane.

Watch out for: children and adults who are oblivious to other users and rafters coming off the river without looking.

 

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
Tahoe City’s Five Favorites for Summer!

Concerts on the Beach: The lake is high, the temperatures are pretty dang perfect, and the music is fine at the edge of Lake Tahoe every Sunday at Concerts on The Commons. Whether you are there to enjoy the view, socialize with the throngs of locals and second home owners, or dance to the tunes right up front, there is nothing that says summer in Tahoe City better than the Sunday concerts on the beach. Bring a blanket and your low back chair, wine and food, and kick back. There are also a few food vendors if you didn’t have time to put together your own feast.
Concertsatcommonsbeach.com

Movies on the Beach: Bring the kids to The Commons every Wednesday through August 24th to lie back and watch the stars and experience a movie outdoors next to the shore of Lake Tahoe. Early arrivals get the best seats and a chance to enjoy Cheri’s Hand Dipped Ice Cream. Bring plenty of layers as well as sleeping bags and blankets, as the temperatures drop rapidly once it gets dark.

http://tahoetopia.com/moviesonthebeach

 

Farmers Market: Combine your love of fresh produce with your love of Lake Tahoe, by doing them together, every Thursday between 8 am and 1 pm right on the shore of the lake at The Commons. The market not only has fresh veges and fruits, but also baked goods, cheeses, crepes and Indian concoctions to eat now, or meat and fish to enjoy later.

Sidewalk Saturdays. The second Saturday of the month is time for the Tahoe City merchants to entertain us with sip and shop, special sales and music. Take a stroll through town and enjoy Tahoe City’s eclectic shopping experience.

Tahoe City Kayak. You can take off right from the beach in Tahoe City every day of the week. The water is high, meaning you can begin paddling just a few feet from the parking lot. This is the summer to get out on a kayak or paddleboard in Tahoe City.
tahoecitykayak.com

 

 

 

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
Ride to Truckee…and beyond!

By Tim Hauserman

An early summer midweek morning is a great time to ride your bike from Tahoe City to Truckee, and then, along the Truckee Legacy Trail to Glenshire. The roaring Truckee River is your companion the entire route, the temperatures are not too hot, but warm enough to ride in just a bike jersey and shorts, and the traffic has not yet reached it’s mid July craziness.

If you start at the 64 Acres Parking lot in Tahoe City the trip to the viewpoint at the edge of Glenshire is 38.2 miles round trip. Following the Truckee River it’s mostly downhill on the way to Glenshire, with a drop of about 300 feet. The trip back, however, usually combines both a slight incline with a headwind. On June 2nd it took me one hour and five minutes to ride to the Glenshire viewpoint, and one hour and twenty five minutes to ride back to my car.

Heading out from the 64 Acres Parking lot, I prefer to ride along the bike trail. You are right next to the river, and quite a big and beautiful river it is these days. Before heading out on your ride, however, be sure and check the latest figures on water being released at the dam above Fanny Bridge, as it can fluctuate significantly with no warning. The past week or so it has been hovering around 1000 cubic feet per second (cfs). That is fast, but low enough to not flood the bike trail. Even up to 1300 cfs, the trail will remain mostly dry except for a few short spots. But in the past month the river has gone up to 2000 cfs briefly, and hovered in the 1600 range for a longer period, both of which flood the heck out of the bike trail. If the river is impassable, or if it is a weekend and the bike trail traffic gets a bit heavy with folks who are not paying attention, you can always ride on the road, which has a good sized shoulder for riding.

To get the latest Truckee River release information go here:
waterdata.usgs.gov/ca/nwis/uv?site_no=10337500

Once you reach Squaw Valley, a wide bike lane is available along Highway 89. Eight miles later, take a right turn onto West River Street in Truckee, where you face the sketchiest mile of the route. Cars do go fairly slow, but the road is narrower then I would prefer. In Downtown Truckee, somehow get across the busy intersection of Brockway and West River Street to a mile of easy riding on the lightly used East River Street.

Near the end of East River, take the bike bridge across the Truckee River to meet the Truckee Legacy Trail, where you turn left. The Legacy Trail is wide, follows the Truckee River, and is a joy to ride…with one caveat. You will not be alone, and many of your fellow trail goers are dog walkers whose dogs are often not on leash. Be careful out there. The crowds do disperse, however, as you pull further away from downtown Truckee. Just after crossing a small creek, you race up a set of switchbacks to climb through a huge pile of talus to the end of the trail, and a beautiful viewpoint of both the Truckee River and town of Truckee.

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
Memorial Day Weekend! It’s Festival time!

 

By Tim Hauserman

After this past winter, any paragraph with the word summer in it is a welcome relief. So here it comes, a blog post about Memorial Day weekend: The unofficial start of summer in the Sierra.

While the 4th of July is when things really start to get busy at the lake, Memorial Day is traditionally the time when Tahoe folks rake up the branches, take down the shutters and start to enjoy their favorite summer activities. With the lake still pretty dang cold and many hiking trails still covered in snow, it’s also a great weekend to take advantage of some of the cool events going on in the area.

Two can’t miss Tahoe events to get to this weekend are the Made in Tahoe Festival in Squaw Valley, and Opening Day on the Lake along Tahoe’s West Shore.

Made in Tahoe Festival, May 27-28th 11-7 pm each day. Village at Squaw Valley

Celebrating all things local, the Made in Tahoe Festival will be a place to check out the products of over one hundred artists, photographers, furniture makers, clothing sellers, community organizations and anybody else that is creative and comes from Tahoe. Music and live performances will be going on all day at three different stages including a series of fun events such as hula hoop and dance workshops put on by Tahoe Flow Arts. And don’t worry, there will also be over a dozen locally inspired food and drink vendors to keep you satiated.

 

Opening Day on the Lake, May 26-28th.

From morning to night at a variety of locations.Organized by the West Shore Association, restaurants, museums, and a host of small businesses on the West Shore are celebrating Memorial Day with deck opening parties, live music, BBQ’s and special tours. Highlights include a 30th anniversary deck opening party at Sunnyside on May 26 at 11:30 am, and a Launch Party at the new Tahoe Maritime Museum location near Granlibakken on May 26 at 5:30 pm. Tours of Vikingsholm in Emerald Bay State Park and the Ehrman Mansion at Sugar Pine Point State Park will begin for the season on Saturday morning, the 27th.

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
Ahh May! Month of Transition

By Tim Hauserman

On May 1st, I sat along the crystal clear, calm as glass edge of Lake Tahoe, and began to have visions of paddleboarding or kayaking. It’s been a long, hard winter, and 60 degrees felt pretty dang warm. There was just a boat or two lazily floating offshore, and the snow capped peaks in the background made the image even more blissful. The problem was that there is still four feet of snow between me and my watercraft in my basement.

A few days later after a bike ride in Reno that topped out at 75 degrees, I headed to the beaches of Tahoe’s east shore. There were just a few folks making their way down to the rocky shoreline, and the lake was crystal clear and glassy smooth. I immersed myself very briefly in her cleansing water. The problem was that the water temperature was 46 degrees. Fortunately the warmth of the day quickly brought me back to life as I sat on a smooth piece of granite.

Such is the life of Tahoe in May. A mixed bag of spectacularly beautiful days and a few snow storms thrown in. The winter crowds for the most part are gone, and the summer visitors are still focusing on going to school and improving their golf game in the Bay Area, so May is a good time to find peaceful meditation at Tahoe. Many of the places where you would like to play, however, are still under multiple feet of snow. It takes a relaxed attitude and a bit of ingenuity to truly enjoy Tahoe this May. Here are three ideas:

Take a stroll around Tahoe City. Wander through the local shops, grab some grub, then find yourself down at the lake shore where the lake is high and the views are magnificent. Don’t forget to check out the Lake Tahoe Dam, where the river is roaring as the water master struggles to get rid of all that snow runoff pouring into Lake Tahoe. Then keep walking along the path downstream to check out the river (be sure and check the water flow monitor on the back of the dam first, if it is above 1300 cfs, the trail may be flooded).

Get out on the road bike. The dirt for mountain biking will take awhile before making an appearance, but the roads are dry and while a bit sandy, not too busy. Here are a few local road bike favorites: Squaw Valley to Truckee on Highway 89 and then via the Legacy Trail along the Truckee River to Glenshire; The Triangle: Tahoe City to Truckee to Kings Beach and back to Tahoe City; and finally you can take a drive to Sierra Valley, a bit of road biking heaven twenty five miles north of Truckee. Perhaps use it as warm up ride for the Tour de Manure metric century ride which leaves from Sierraville on June 17th. tourdemanure.org

If you get a calm day, and you can get your board out, take a paddle across Tahoe’s still surface, but don’t fall in. Unless you are truly daring, and want to test how fast you can get in and out of water.

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
The River has Risen!


By Tim Hauserman

This past winter we experienced near record amounts of snow at Lake Tahoe, with a good dousing of rain thrown in. Tahoe’s lake level is now only a bit more than a foot below the legal limit of the lake, with a lot of snow still in the mountains. So what does the water master who controls how much water is released from Lake Tahoe into the Truckee River do? Let a lot of water out.

A month ago I reported in this blog that the dam was releasing 700 cubic feet per second (cfs) into the Truckee River. To put that number in perspective. It’s about twice as much water as the folks who run the rafting companies see as prime for running the river between Tahoe City and the River Ranch. Much higher than that and folks start bumping their heads on bridges.

But 700 cfs was just the beginning. The level was raised to 1300, than up to 1600 cubic feet per second last week. This brought the water level to just below the bridges, and began to flood sections of the Truckee River bike trail between Tahoe City and Squaw Valley. And this came just a few days after the Tahoe City Public Utility District plowed the trail through deep snow to give Tahoe folks visions of riding along the river.

In the interest of research, I decided to take my mountain bike down to the river to see how bad the flooding was. It took me about a mile and a half of riding to get to the first flooded section. This one was about 100 yards long through about six inch deep water. It was like being in a water aerobics class as I slowly made my way through all that water. The good news is that the water is crystal clear, and as I was soon to find out: Cold.

Just about a half mile further I met the next wet section. This one was longer and twice as deep. I got about 100 yards in before the water reached above my pedals, and I had to stop and turn around. Knee deep in water that was snow a few hours ago is pretty dang cold.

The next day, April 26th they raised the level to 2000 cfs. The river is now kissing the foundations of the River Grill just below Fanny Bridge and folks are being advised to keep their distance from the river (although a few highly trained kayakers can’t resist it). It will most likely stay this high for quite awhile since in the high Sierra there is still multiple feet of snow yet to melt.

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
Five Things to do in North Tahoe in April

 

By Tim Hauserman

While the snow is still deep in the high country, many ski areas are winding down with closing dates either the middle or end of April. With too much snow to hike and mountain bike in many places, but the ski areas closing, now what do you do?

Snowshoe

The spring is a great time to go for a snowshoe. The snow is usually firm so you won’t sink too much as you walk, and with fewer crowds you can experience nature quietly. You can head out from Tahoe Meadows to Chickadee Ridge and enjoy an awesome view of Lake Tahoe and birds that are quiet friendly, or find yourself tromping through Page Meadows to catch a glimpse of Twin Peaks. Wherever you go, snowshoeing is just like walking with large feet.

Fly through the air

Check out the Tahoe Treetop Adventure locations at Granlibakken in Tahoe City and at the North Tahoe Regional Park in Tahoe Vista. Tree top parks include zip lines and series of wobbly bridges that take you high above the ground between the pines, firs and cedars of a Tahoe forest. Don’t worry, while it is exhilarating, you are secure in a harness. northtahoeadventures.com

Take a hike

While many trails are still under lots of snow, or face swollen stream crossings, two popular hiking trails are most likely hikeable now. In Emerald Bay you can take the Vikingsholm trail down one mile to the shore of Lake Tahoe, or the Stateline Fire Lookout trail in Crystal Bay, which in less than a mile brings you to two different panoramas of the lake just a stone’s throw from each other. While both trails are most likely not yet snow free, they’ve been packed down by lots of previous walkers and should be easy walking for those with a sturdy pair of hiking boots once this current storm passes.
Take a stroll around Tahoe City or Kings Beach.

Both towns provide great shopping and dining opportunities, and each comes with its own unique flair and vibe. Each has a lovely beach on the shore of Lake Tahoe. In Tahoe City, be sure and check out the Tahoe City dam to witness all that water roaring into the Truckee River.
Go see a film

The Tahoe Art Haus and Cinema in The Cobblestone in Tahoe City serves beer and special popcorn along with unique film presentations, music and dance performances, and first run movies. tahoearthauscinema.com

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
What a difference a year makes

By Tim Hauserman

Everyone knows Lake Tahoe’s level has been rising rapidly this winter thanks to the copious quantities of snow and rain that we have received. But I’ve been too busy shoveling and skiing to go down to the lake shore to take a gander until now, and it is a treat! The beaches are smaller, the lake is much closer, and the Truckee River is roaring.

Check out these four pictures which tell the tale.

The top shot is from just over a year ago from April of 2016. I couldn’t get a shot from that spot today because: a) the water is cold and I would be up to my neck in water and b) I can’t get my kayak out of the basement yet to paddle to that spot because there is still a five foot wall of snow hard against my basement door.

 

The second shot is from the Lake Tahoe Dam a year ago. Just a bit of a trickle.

The third picture is from the Lake Tahoe Dam this week, where under my feet six gates were open delivering over 700 cubic feet per second of delicious Tahoe water into the Truckee River (that’s a whole lotta water).

The fourth picture is from the Commons Beach. While last April it was a long and rocky walk to reach the lakeshore, now the beach is literally right there. And boy is it purdy.
Note that the pier in the shot that was pretty much high and dry last year, is again a pier surrounded by water.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
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