By Tim Hauserman
Lake Tahoe is a busy place in the summer. It makes sense, we have great weather, beautiful mountains and sparkling alpine lakes, In July, especially after the winter we just had, the world around us is one big blaze of color from the wildflowers that are truly going wild. But the most popular hiking trails are big attractants for all those folks who came to Tahoe to play. So if you hike you will find beauty, but not necessarily solitude.
If you want to get your feet on the dirt, but are ready to find a bit of alone time, the key is to take a step back and remember when you were a kid and used to play opposite day. You know the most popular hiking trails in Tahoe? Don’t do those. Find a dirt road that peters out and lets you bushwhack away from reality. It’s summer, hike on a ski run. Away from the best known lakes, away from the most populous neighborhoods. Find the road or trail less traveled.
Recently we went on an incredible two mile hike from a residential neighborhood. We started out on a dirt road, then meandered our way up through the wildflowers and giant western white pines. We stopped for distant views of water, before conquering a challenging creek crossing through thick patches of willow trees.
Scratched, but unbowed on the other side, we climbed up a steep slope to a flat which was the base for six different cascades rushing down from the snow fields above. We made our way up what looked like an avalanche path from last winter to the bottom of one of the cascades and the edge of the snow.
From there we pondered life as we enjoyed the 360 degree views. We were the only folks within at least a mile of that location. And while it was not quiet: there was the steady meditative chorus of the rushing water above us, it was all nature’s sound. A break from humanity, which we all need now and then. Especially in July.
Where was this little bit of shangra la? Sorry, no can tell. But find your own piece of quiet heaven. It’s probably hiding in plain sight just around the corner from your house. And to truly enjoy it, look for the subtle beauty of nature instead of the perfect Instagram photo. Enjoy.