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Snowfest 2017!

HRG in front of the CobblestoneRuss, Dan, and Tim 2016 Snowfest Parade11143532_1089335314421705_6058953152388467391_o
By Tim Hauserman

Here it comes! The 36th annual Snowfest in North Lake Tahoe March 2-12th. Snowfest is a great chance to party with old friends and meet new ones at a host of fun activities.

Events include:

March 2-Gar Woods Kick Off Party. Tons of great food and drink for just $35 as well as a live band and the coronation of the 2017 Snowfest Queen! All the proceeds go to support Snowfest.

March 3-Grand Opening Fireworks ceremony: This year moved from Squaw Valley to The Commons Beach in the center of Tahoe City, across from The Cobblestone. Don’t miss the fireworks at 8:30, but come early and enjoy what Tahoe City has to offer.

March 4-Tahoe City Parade Day, which includes not only a great parade (keep your eyes open for the Hauserman Rental Group entry) but a host of other events in Tahoe City: Pancake Breakfast, Snowball dropping contest, snowman painting contest and a party at Moe’s supporting the Tahoe Community Nursery School. Later that day, it’s back to Gar Woods for the Polar Bear swim.

March 5-Sunnyside is having it’s annual pig roast, while Fat Cat in Tahoe City will be home to a hot wings eating contest. And before that you can also race in The Great Ski Race from Tahoe City to Truckee.

March 6
Za’s Third Annual Clam Bake

March 7
Pete and Peters Bar Olympics

March 8
Ladies Night Bunco Bash at the North Tahoe Event Center

March 9
Blake Beeman Pay it Forward Music Festival at The Blue Agave in Tahoe City

March 10
Bridgetender Rib Fest

March 11
It’s Kings Beach’s turn to shine with the Kings Beach parade, a Chili cookoff at the Kings Beach Library, and pancake breakfast at the North Tahoe Event Center.

March 12
Snow sculpture Contest at the River Ranch

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
And then the snow finally stopped

Tim Shoveling Snow January 2017

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Tim Hauserman

January has been an interesting month for weather at Lake Tahoe. And by interesting I mean record amounts of snow and periods of torrential rains, all leading to road closures, power outages, and folks with very sore shoulders and backs from the relentless shoveling. But it all finally came to a halt for a few days this week. Here is what you will now find on a gloriously sunny day at Lake Tahoe:

-Lots and lots of snow. In most neighborhoods there is five plus feet of snow lying in yards. Many single story homes have snow up to nearly the roof line. While shoveling one side of my garage roof last week the challenge was where to put it, because where I was standing off the roof was higher up then the roof itself.
-If you have a roof that is not metal and has not been at least partially shoveled, you may want to consider doing so. I found an industrious fellow that in an hour and a half took about half the weight of the snow off my roof. I’ve been pulling off what I can reach from below, and warming temperatures are also helping to lower the weight.
-Plows have been doing an amazing job, but the roads are still narrow and parking is at a premium. Coming to Tahoe? Carpool.
-The skiing is absolutely, positively gorgeous. But apparently you and I are not the only ones to notice this so the morning and afternoon traffic to Squaw Valley, Alpine Meadows and Northstar is substantial. Plan ahead and give yourself some extra time. Perhaps now is a good time to try Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area.There is little traffic and just a short walk to the trailhead.
-Amazing beauty. Whether it is the snow in the trees or the thick blanket along the lake shore, it is stupendous and jaw dropping out there. Enjoy.
-Lake Tahoe has risen from below the natural rim to over two feet over the rim in the last few months. Given the huge snow pack, we can probably expect a nearly full lake by summer time. Great for boaters, but you will have to get to the beach early to find your spot.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
Making lemonade!

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By Tim Hauserman

A few days ago we got a deluge of rain at lake level. While we would have preferred snow, it was a much needed infusion of water that brought Lake Tahoe up above the rim of the lake. For the first time since September, water from Lake Tahoe was again trickling into the Truckee River.

Hopefully impending storms will bring lots of the fluffy white stuff in the next week, but in the meantime I wanted to cross country ski and knew that I needed to go high, above 8000 feet, to find snow. When it rains at lake level, the go to place to find snow is the top of the Mt. Rose Highway which is above 8500 feet. While it seems a long way, it’s just a 35 minute drive from Tahoe City to Tahoe Meadows, and I found out, it was well worth the drive.

I arrived at a snowy paradise. The sky was that deep, after a storm, dark blue that just makes you smile and say ahhh. The snow was shining bright and pretty dang deep, especially compared to what you could find a 1000 feet lower.

I started out skiing away from the road on a pair of striding skis. As I made my way downstream across the meadow I quickly realized that the snow had frozen hard, it was smooth, not disturbed by a lot of tracks, and my skis were floating right at the surface of the snow…hey, lightbulb, I could skate ski this!

I strode back to my car, switched gear and then began floating across the smooth meadow on my skate skis. It didn’t take long until I had an unstoppable grin as I flew up and down the gentle slopes in a state of blissful peace.

Being able to skate ski on a meadow away from a groomed trail is a special treat that is usually reserved for the late spring when the freezing and thawing cycles of warm days and cold night create firm snow. But in this case, wet snow followed by freezing temperatures did the work toot suite, creating awesome meadow skating conditions in the middle of December.

My skate skiing surprise points out an important factor to remember to enjoy all that the Tahoe outdoors has to offer. You have to pick your time, place, and sport based on the weather conditions. Sometimes you have to drive to that one special place where you can find the snow, which might even be much better snow than you expected. Other times you ride your bike instead of ski. And sometimes, hopefully very soon, it dumps feet of the soft cold powder, and then the choice is so much easier.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
Tahoe Film Festival December 1-4th

By Tim Hauserman

The Tahoe Film Festival will bring twenty-three full length films to the Incline Village and Northstar Cinemas between December 1-4. The Festival, which supports SWEP, the Sierra Watershed Education Partnerships, is focused on films about the environment as well as award winning independent films covering a wide range of topics. Most importantly, it is an opportunity for people at Tahoe to see amazing films that would otherwise not appear in the region.
Films include:
“Certain Women” a story about several women facing personal crossroads staring Kristen Stewart and Laura Dern.
“When Two World’s Collide” , a Sundance Film Festival Award winner about the battle between indigenous people from the Amazon, and the President of Peru.
“Before the Flood” which tells the story of climate change staring Leonardo Dicaprio.
“Antarctic-Ice and Sky”
“For the love of Spock” by Leonard Nimoy’s son Adam Nimoy.
“The last laugh” a documentary in which famous Jewish comedians including Mel Brooks and Sarah Silverman discuss joking about the holocaust.
“A man called Ove” is a funny and heartwarming story that has won the Audience Award at several festivals.
“Thank you for your service” about mental illness in the military
“Casting by” about the life of a casting director.

In addition to the films, there will be a SWEP Gala on December 4th, and an Opening Film Party on December 1st. Many directors and actors will be in attendance at the festival to discuss their work with the audiences.
Go to tahoefilmfest.org for ticket and schedule information. The festival not only supports the very worthwhile programs of SWEP, but the concept of a film festival in Tahoe, so get out there and buy some tickets!

Posted in Fall in Tahoe
Ward Canyon

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By Tim Hauserman

As winter approaches it’s time to enjoy those last few hikes and mountain bike rides before the glorious white stuff covers the ground. One of my favorite last chance spots is the top of Ward Canyon. Here the views of the surrounding Pacific Crest, contrast beautifully with the deep blue sky. Closer in, you can marvel at the gnarled still standing dead trees, and the live ones laden with sticky pine cones while listening to the gentle rustle of Ward Creek pounding over rocks.

 

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The drive to the top of Ward Canyon begins just south of Sunnyside on Tahoe’s West Shore. Turn off Highway 89 and take Pineland Drive. Roll through Pineland, and then suddenly you escape the houses and begin a several mile journey through undeveloped forest in Ward Canyon. Enjoy glimpses of Ward Creek and Ward Peak and pass a trailhead for the Tahoe Rim Trail, before reentering the civilized world in the residential community of Alpine Peaks. Continue to follow Courchevel Road to it’s end, where you find a small parking lot close to the base of Alpine Meadow’s Sherwood chairlift.

Follow the dirt road which begins here as it winds over ski runs up the slope to the top of the Sherwood chair. It’s a gentle rise with stunning views in every direction. At the first major switchback, a hiking trail heads straight. Follow this a short distance to a grove of humongous western white pines. They sit at a vista above the meeting of two Ward Creek tributaries which are diving swiftly into a deep ravine.

Back on the road, views of Twin Peaks get better and better as you gently climb. Rounding the open slope into a grove of trees you meet a junction. Straight ahead leads to the base of Alpine Meadows, and a left turn continues to the top of Sherwood. A series of switchbacks leads to a rocky precipice, a great place to ponder Lake Tahoe and much of Ward Canyon. You can continue on to the top or meander along this ridge to a panoramic view into Alpine Meadows.

At the top of the Sherwood chair, the road ends, but you could keep going, following use trails along the ridge to eventually reach the top of Ward Peak. Whether you venture all the way to the top or just wander for a bit close to the trailhead, the views are spectacular, and well worth stretching your legs.

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Posted in Fall in Tahoe
A river roars through it

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By Tim Hauserman

When we think of Tahoe weather it is sun and snow that primarily come to mind. Tahoe is famous for blue skies or white powder. But the gray days of rain, like the glorious torrential events we’ve seen this fall, are a rare opportunity to see another kind of Tahoe beauty.

On the third day of a recent rainstorm I escaped the computer, donned my rain gear and walked from my house in Tahoe Park to Ward Creek along the bike trail. Even over the wet waves of sound coming from the wakes the cars made plowing through sheets of water, I could hear the creek well before I could see it. It was a rolling, churning mass of gray water, rushing to get to the lake.

I strolled into Ward Creek State Park, following the creek bank upstream. Granite rocks glistened with lime green lichens. Grasses and matts of pine needles wafted a gentle musty odor of decay and transition. The wet bark of Jeffrey pines and firs shown bright red. And the rain, kept coming down. Making puddles and building tiny streams. Dousing the recently parched land, and beginning the long and important process of filling up the enormous lake.

As the rain slowly stopped, the first rainbows lit up the sky and dipped their legs into the pile of liquid gold that is Lake Tahoe. Then the sun reemerged and the water quickly settled into the dirt, creating those trails perfect for mountain biking or hiking, while we enjoyed the last vestiges of the colors of autumn. A final chance to enjoy the fall before the winter snows are sure to roar in.

Posted in Fall in Tahoe
Taylor Creek Salmon Run

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by Tim Hauserman

One of the true hallmarks of a Tahoe fall is the Kokanee salmon run at the Taylor Creek Visitor Center. There you will find diminutive Taylor Creek and the watershed around it packed with color. You can marvel at the yellows and oranges of the aspen and other deciduous trees, while making your short stroll to Taylor Creek which is awash in the bright red of thousands of salmon packing the creek to the gills.

Kokanee salmon spend most of their lives in the relative obscurity of the deeps of Lake Tahoe. They only become a famous attraction in their last days as they struggle up Taylor Creek to lay eggs or impregnate those eggs in that little pile of rocks that they decide is the perfect place. For the viewers, the salmon’s last days, are good days for learning, and marveling at the amazing beauty of throngs of them struggling up this shallow little stream.

Fortunately for us, Taylor Creek is an easy spot to witness the spectacle. Not only are there gentle walking trails right next to the shore of the creek, but several bridges give us a look from up above at the luscious redness. The Forest Service has also created a viewing chamber that allows us to witness some of the fish from a below the water vantage point on an extra channel in the creek they created.

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Once you’ve had your fill of gazing at the fish, be sure and enjoy the fall colors, and take a short stroll down to the quiet shore of Lake Tahoe where Taylor Creek makes it’s way to the lake.

In addition to human visitors, other animals come to Taylor Creek not for the viewing, but for the eating. Raccoon and bears both enjoy dining on the pink flesh of a dying salmon. Please, use your common sense and stay far away from any animals you see, and don’t prove your lack of intelligence by trying to get close to the animals and take a selfie. Too many bear/human interactions may lead to shutting off the area to humans to prevent an injury to the bear or humans.

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To get there: From North Lake Tahoe. Take Highway 89 South several miles past Emerald Bay to the Taylor Creek Visitor Center road on your left. opposite the Fallen Leaf Lake access road on your right.

Posted in Fall in Tahoe
Mt. Judah Loop

by Tim Hauserman

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The fall is an excellent time to head to the top of Donner Summit and hike the Mt. Judah Loop Trail. It packs a lot of spectacular views and fun hiking in just six miles, and you will also find a nice smattering of autumn as the brush and small trees are ablaze in color.

The hike begins just at the top of Donner Pass on Old Highway 40. Take the rough paved road to your left and find parking on a small parking area past the Pacific Crest Trail, which will be on your left. The hike dives immediately into lush greenery, or hopefully reddery or yellowery, at this time of year, before beginning a series of short switchbacks up a steep rocky slope.

The trail abates a bit with Lake Mary below to your right, and the slopes of Sugar Bowl straight ahead.The climb is steady, but not too steep and in about a mile you reach the junction with the Judah Loop Trail. Now you begin a four mile loop which will end back at this point. You can go either direction, but for description purposes I will leave the PCT and hang a left. The trail winds and climbs through a forest of hemlock and western white pine to a junction at a saddle in about a mile.

From here, a short side trip brings you to the flat topped Donner Peak, with excellent views of Donner Lake. The main trail starts a switchbacking traverse on a steep slope, eventually coming to the top of the ridge that brings you to Mt. Judah.

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From Judah, the views are sublime. To the south is Anderson Peak and Tinker Knob, two highlights of the Pacific Crest Trail between Donner and Squaw Valley. To the southeast is Northstar and to the east is Coldstream Canyon, Truckee and far off in the distance Mt. Rose. Deep below, is the train tunnel where trains travel from Donner Pass to Coldstream Canyon.

With the climbing done, you traverse through view filled splendor past volcanic rock formations interspersed with thick pockets of trees to a junction with the PCT. Turn right and follow the gentle traverse along the slope back to your trail junction and then the last mile back to your car.

Posted in Fall in Tahoe
The Oktoberfest’s are coming!

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by Tim Hauserman

Aww Fall! When the crowds disburse, the leaves start to turn a shimmering yellow, and folks begin to dream about wolfing down brats followed up with a bit of the bubbly…as in beer. The delicious German stuff. Yep, it’s time for Oktoberfest, and North Tahoe is lucky enough to have two of them on tap in the next ten days.

Squaw Valley Oktoberfest, The Village at Squaw Valley
September 24, 2-6 pm.

Billed as North Lake Tahoe’s largest Oktoberfest celebration, you will find Bavarian music, German beer and food, and Oktoberfest games amongst the high peaks of the Sierra. The village will become a mini Munich for the event. Entrance is free, but of course beer and food comes with a price. All of the proceeds from the festival will benefit the High Sierra Lacrosse Foundation.

http://squawalpine.com/events-things-do/oktoberfest

The Tahoe City Oktoberfest, Layton Park
October 1, 12-6 pm

Where the Truckee River meets Lake Tahoe is the peaceful setting for Tahoe City’s Oktoberfest. Situated in the trees behind the Gatekeeper’s Museum it promises to be a great party with five different breweries and wineries providing drink, four different food vendors dishing out delicious concoctions, music, pumpkin painting, hula hoop contests, craft vendors and a traditional German costume contest. There is no entrance fee, $10 gets your first beer and you keep the stein. Event is a fundraiser for the the Tahoe City Downtown Association.

 

Posted in Fall in Tahoe
The Cathedral

IMG_0681By Tim Hauserman

If you spend a lot of time hiking around Lake Tahoe, you will most likely locate a special place of spiritual peace. Perhaps it’s a bit of smooth granite overlooking Lake Tahoe, a wildflower dotted meadow, or a grove of aspen trees quaking in the breeze. It’s whatever tugs at your heart and makes you feel alive and truly connected to the world. These quiet places give us the chance to sit and listen to all of nature that surrounds us, but equally important, to listen to what is deep inside ourselves.

I have several of these places, but one I’ve been visiting for over 30 years is along the trail from Meeks Bay to Crag Lake in the Desolation Wilderness. When I go there it is as if I’ve entered an ancient cathedral. It’s about three miles of hiking from the Meeks Bay trailhead to a flat sandy opening circled by ancient trees. There you find several giant Jeffrey pines and red firs that somehow escaped the ax that befell many of their compatriots over a hundred years ago. The remains of two other behemoths lay down on the ground, long since having met their demise. These trees never fail to bring a smile and a feeling of peace to my heart.

Sitting back on a flat slab of granite, I look up at the tops of these evenly spaced wonders, and ponder the clouds against the deep blue sky. It never fails to help me to contemplate the power and majesty of nature, and my good fortune in being able to be here now and enjoying it. And of course equally important: Being lucky enough to live in Lake Tahoe to visit these special places on a regular basis.

Posted in Fall in Tahoe

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