By Tim Hauserman 

I wrote this blog about a week ago, and then forgot to post it. Now with a good sized snow storm set to arrive tomorrow night it is in some ways even more poignant…life in the mountains is always changing, and there is always something fun to do outside. 

Yesterday morning I saw that Lake Tahoe was as smooth as glass, so I put aside childish things, like work, threw the kayak in the truck, and headed off to Hurricane Bay to paddle. On my hour and a half of gliding atop the crystal clear water of the lake I saw only two other kayakers. All the buoys were now empty and I had the beach pretty much to myself when I launched. It wasn’t exactly balmy, but comfortable enough to feel toasty with a long sleeve shirt and long pants. So who says you can’t kayak in November? Well this year, nobody…but some years, the weather gods have a lot to say. 

When it comes to weather in Tahoe, you never know what you are going to get…especially during the transition seasons of spring and fall. This past May it seemed as if winter had no desire to give up and we whined our way through several little snowstorms, and now here in mid November, we haven’t seen a drop of moisture in over a month. And the temps have been pretty bearable as well. 

So what does all this weather variability mean for visitors to Tahoe? Always expect the unexpected. And most importantly, don’t choose what outdoor adventure you decide to partake in by the date on a calendar. Instead, see what is actually happening on the ground, and then pick the best sport for those conditions. A good indicator is checking out the color of the ground. If it’s brown: bike, hike and paddle. If it’s white, get out the skis or snowshoes. 

Once you have chosen the right sport, now you have to choose the right time of day. In the summer, it’s key to get out on the water or hit the trail first thing in the morning to beat the crowds and the heat. Yeah, well this time of year it’s more about waiting long enough for it to get warm, while remembering that it gets dark early. Keep a close eye not only on the low and high temperatures for the day, but hourly forecasts. A high of 65 sounds good, until you realize that at 9 am it is still 34 degrees…a bit nippy for that bike ride. 

It all comes down to the rule number one of life in the mountains: Every day you can do something fun outside. Your job is to figure out what it is.