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By Tim Hauserman

As August comes to an end it’s easy to bemoan the loss of summer. The mornings are getting chilly, and our thoughts start to turn to the the colder days of autumn.  But put away that sad face, often September is the best month of the year. The weather is usually warm and dry. The bike riding, kayaking and boating are still available for the taking. And the best part is that while Tahoe is certainly not dead, there is now plenty of room to roam, the traffic headaches are gone, and the locals have big smiles on their faces because they’ve been waiting anxiously for the crowds to disappear in September since mid-July.

Now you can paddleboard at 9 am and not have to face all those boat wakes. You can go for a mountain bike ride with less dust. Ride your bike on the roads with fewer cars. Go backpacking in Desolation Wilderness and be able to find a quiet campsite.  Even go out to breakfast or dinner without having to worry about long lines. 

Later in September the leaves start to turn which makes for a whole new set of hiking and biking opportunities. Page Meadows, Marlette Lake, Ward and Blackwood Canyons, and Ophir Creek are some of my favorite leaf peeping places. And don’t miss the Kokanee salmon spawning at Taylor Creek, which happens from late September into early October. 

While September weather is most likely glorious, it is a bit less dependable then July. Keep your eye on the forecast and the hourly temperature readings. The days are shorter, the mornings are colder, and sometimes little storm fronts come rolling through and dump a good dousing of rain. Take that day off and enjoy the much needed wet stuff laying down the dust, then head out onto the freshly packed trails and enjoy. 

One of my favorite September activities is to go to the shore of the lake, look out over the still calm waters, breathe deep and enjoy that elusive sense that you don’t find often in the middle of the summer: quiet stillness. Ahh…

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.