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Twenty ways to enjoy Tahoe before the snow flies!


By Tim Hauserman

Mountain bike the Burton Creek State Park/Tahoe Cross Country trails for fall colors
Check out the Taylor Creek Kokanee Salmon hiking trail and profile chamber
Hike into Desolation Wilderness, which actually lives up to it’s name in the off-season
Ride through the aspen trees to Marlette Lake, and the Flume Trail
Walk the Rubicon Trail from Emerald Bay
Kayak on a calm day out of Hurricane Bay
Hike the Judah Loop Trail on Donner Summit
Ride the Emigrant Trail to Stampede Reservoir
Catch the fall colors at Sagehen Creek
Ride Sierra Valley checking out the barn quilts and hawks
Take a stroll along the shore of Lake Tahoe in downtown Tahoe City
Catch the fall colors in Page Meadows
Look for bears foraging while hiking in the woods around Tahoe.
Take a cruise on the Tahoe Gal
Head to a beach on a quiet midweek morning and enjoy the quiet
Check out the Donner Memorial Park Visitor Center then take a stroll down to Donner Lake
Ride your road bike from Donner Lake to Cisco Grove and back. Too far? Ride around Donner Lake
Hike north on the Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe City to view Lake Tahoe and the Truckee River Canyon
Ride to the top of Blackwood Canyon for a workout and fall colors
Spend a cool morning by a fire

 

 

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Posted in Fall in Tahoe
The September Slows


by Tim Hauserman

During the crazy busy days of August and Labor Day, my local swimming spot on Lake Tahoe was often so crowded it was hard to find space on the pier to lie down. Earlier this month, I walked down to the beach for a swim on a bright and sunny late morning, with the lake calm, and the water still warm, and took a dip. I was the only one on the pier. Yep, it was time for the September Slows…Locals summer… August without the crowds…And Tahoe folks were just besides themselves with excitement.

Well, but then again, September can be a fickle little bugger. It can be warm, sunny and crowd-less. Or as I was reminded a few days after my swim, it can snow. On September 20th it snowed all morning at lake level, quarter size flakes gently covering the lawn with a few inches of snow.

Two days later, I was enjoying a hike along Emerald Bay, there was a cool breeze and a few sprinkles, but that couldn’t dampen my spirits as a hike along the Rubicon Trail is always a gorgeous way to spend a few hours.

The next day, I was mountain biking the hardened, deep brown trails of Tahoe XC above Tahoe City. There was not a hint of dust on the trails, but I did roll over a few remaining patches of snow. Sure it was a bit nippy, but the bright blue sky and even brighter blue lake shimmered in the sun.

This week, it is supposed to rise back up into the 70s and perhaps a few more days of swimming in Lake Tahoe are still in the offing. Or perhaps it will snow again.

The moral of the story when it comes to September and October at Lake Tahoe is that you need to carpe diem. If the weather is warm and lovely, get out there for a hike, bike ride or paddle on the lake. If it is stormy or snowy, bundle up, light a fire and enjoy a hot chocolate…and then get out there, just choose your location wisely. Let nature be your guide.

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Posted in Fall in Tahoe
Mountain biker alert! Time to work on the trail

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By Tim Hauserman

Lake Tahoe is mountain biking paradise, but those trails we love don’t just magically appear. Many were old dirt roads that were converted into trails, while others were created by volunteers that put in the time and expertise to build a bit of dirt heaven for the rest of us to ride. Now, an effort is underway, largely through the Tahoe Area Mountain Biking Association (TAMBA), to replace steep, eroding trails with flowing ones that are more fun to ride as well as being more environmentally sensitive.

The Burton Creek State Park/Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area is the North Shore’s most popular mountain biking terrain, and right now TAMBA is in the process of rerouting/rebuilding two major trail sections in the area. They are converting the Elevator Shaft Trail (sounds a bit steep doesn’t it?) and the Ocelot Trail from the steep rocky drainage ditch type trails they are now, to winding pleasurable romps through the woods.

I had a chance to check out the still under construction new Ocelot Trail today, and it is going to be awesome. Not too steep, super fun, and once it gets completed, a heck of a lot smoother than the old trail. I’ve heard equally good reports for what the newly redesigned Elevator Shaft will be like once the work is completed there. But if the trails are to be finished before the snow flies, there is still a lot more work to be done. That is where you come in. Volunteers who want to spend a day helping build trails are needed.

You can work on the Elevator Shaft Trail this Wednesday, September 13th, and the Ocelot trail on Saturday, September 16th. On the 13th meet at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area at 9:00 am. On the 16th meet at the Tahoe City PUD building across from the Fire Station on Fairway Drive in Tahoe City at 9:00 am. Both work days will go until 4 pm, but whatever time you can commit will be appreciated.

If you come to help out, please bring: Long pants, long sleeve shirt, helmet (bike Ok), sturdy shoes, gloves, sunglasses or other eye protection, water, snacks and plenty of energy. Lunch will be provided by The Back Country if they know you are coming.

For more information go to tamba.org or contact trail builder John Clausen at integrationsports.jc@gmail.com

 

 

Posted in Fall in Tahoe
A home for Honey and Buddy?

By Tim Hauserman

While Lake Tahoe is best known as a spectacularly beautiful place full of outdoor recreational possibilities, it is important to remember it is also a place where caring people do great things not only for each other, but for pets. One example is Incline Village’s Pet Network which is trying to find a home for a unique pair of dogs that has come under their care.

Confiscated from a tough home life, Honey is a 14 year old Dachshund who is blind. But Honey is Ok, because she has Buddy, a 4 year old German Sheperd/Pyrenees mix. Buddy acts like Honey’s service dog, showing her where the food is located, introducing her to strangers, and pushing Honey’s bed to her so she can lie down. Buddy is a true buddy, always keeping Honey in view.

“Buddy really is her eyes,” said Heidi Todd, Pet Network’s Shelter Manager. “He allows her to meet people, experience her environment, and enjoy playtime with toys. He really does care about her. He’s her real life guardian angel.”

The Pet Network is looking for the perfect home for these two who need to be adopted together, and the sooner the better since the dogs have been at the shelter for over two months. Someone special is sure to come along and take these two friends into their home. If you think you might be that someone special, call the Pet Network at 775-832-4404. If these dogs are not for you, there are also other cats, kittens, dogs and puppies that would love to come home with you and become a loving addition to your family. Go to petnetwork.org

 

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Posted in Summer in Tahoe
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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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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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
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