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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
Spring Skiing


By Tim Hauserman

This winter it has seemed like we’ve spent more time shoveling than skiing, so it is pretty dang nice to have experienced the past few weeks of warm sunny weather. All that sunshine not only shrinks the pile of snow on our roofs and decks but also reminds us that deep under that packed icy stuff there is actually a driveway. But what this warm sunny stuff really gives us is the joy of spring skiing.

I’m a cross-country skate skier so for me spring skiing might mean something different than it would to a downhill skier or snowboarder, but what we have in common, is we love the corn. We love the Goldilocks combination of not too fast and not too slow. Here is what I found this past week to confirm what I know about spring skiing:

-The snow can be just perfect. Fast enough to make the skiing easy and fun, but not so hard as to be icy.
-This is a limited time offer. Between 8:30 and 10:30 the conditions are primo. The snow starts out a bit crusty, and then begins to get sticky at the end, but in the middle it is oh so delicious. There is no problem getting an edge and the skiing is smooth as silk, but still fast. Yummy.
– From about noon on, however, the mashed potatoes arrive, creating go and stop conditions as you ski from shade to sun.The skis move slower, and a lot more effort is required.
-Another springtime special is that you can skate across Antone Meadows at Tahoe Cross Country and Euer Valley at Tahoe Donner Cross Country with no need for a trail: if you go early and stay in the sunny parts of the meadow, and a freezing and thawing cycle has been going on for at least a week.

When the spring conditions are here, it is all about timing. Ski in the morning when the conditions are right, and plan to do all those other activities you need to get done after you’ve put that silly grin on your face.

Oh and one more thing. Get out there now, because by the time you read this, the next set of storms are probably already lining up to bring back winter again.

Posted in Winter in Tahoe
LUNAFEST Tahoe

By Tim Hauserman

Head to the Tahoe Art Haus in The Cobblestone in Tahoe City on March 9th for LUNAFEST: nine short films designed to compel discussion, make you laugh and tug at your heartstrings. While the film’s content is diverse, the common thread is they are by, for and about women.

The 90 minute event is a fundraiser for Girls on the Run Tahoe, which has a mission “to inspire girls to be joyful, healthy and confident using a fun, experience-based curriculum which creatively integrates running.”

So you can experience the win-win of watching some incredible films, while helping a very worthwhile local organization.

“This year’s LUNAFEST films show us again how women from around the world experience the same joys and challenges and need for connection, regardless of their age or social standing,” said Joyce Chambers, Girls on the Run Tahoe Board Member and coach.

Why is Girls on the Run a great program? Ask Coach Heidi Bushway-Verkler. “I love working with Girls on the Run because it is not only rewarding for the girls it’s also rewarding for the adults who get to work with the girls. The girls not only learn about being healthy physically but being healthy socially and emotionally by making good choices and being true to who they are.”

The Scoop
Thursday, March 9th. Time: 7 pm. Tahoe Art Haus, 475 North Lake Blvd. Tahoe City. Price: $15 in advance, $20 at the door.
tahoearthauscinema.com
lunafest.org

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Posted in Winter in Tahoe
Snowfest 2017!

 

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.

HRG 2016 Snowfest Parade

Russ, Dan, and Tim 2016 Snowfest Parade

Russ, Dan (clock tower) and Tim 2016 Snowfest Parade

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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

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