By Tim Hauserman
While skiers and snowboarders would prefer more snow, there are still plenty of fun things to do in Tahoe the rest of February. Here are ten suggestions:
Alpenglow Winter Mountain Festival: Nine days of activities centered on human powered winter recreation. February 17-25. The full calendar of events includes backcountry skiing, snowshoeing, educational programs such as avalanche training and community gatherings including films and presentations. alpenglowsports.com
Olympic watch parties will be held throughout the rest of the Winter Olympics at several Squaw Valley locations, and a Winter Fireworks show will light up the Squaw Valley sky on February 17th.
Crystal Bay Club is the place for music shows every weekend including The Motets and the Monophones, Cascade Cresendo and Hirie with Indubious. crystalbaycasino.com
Just above the Crystal Bay Club is the Stateline Lookout. It’s only about a mile and a half hike out and back to one of the most glorious views of Lake Tahoe to be found anywhere. Be sure to catch both views. One looks right over the casinos to much of Lake Tahoe, and the other, which is about 100 feet to the west, is where the lookout used to stand. From there you get a stunning vista towards Kings Beach.
On a calm day, get yourself down to the shoreline at Sugar Pine Point State Park. There, enjoy the incredible peace of Lake Tahoe without a boat to be seen, while keeping your eyes peeled for a bald eagle or osprey.
Another great way to see Lake Tahoe is a stroll along the lake in Tahoe City. Start at Fanny Bridge and the Lake Tahoe Dam and follow the trail to the Commons Beach and then on to the Lake Tahoe Recreation Area. Then head back up to North Lake Blvd. and check out the shops and restaurants of Tahoe City.
Ride your bike along the Truckee River between Tahoe City and Squaw Valley. The bike path has been kept clear this winter, so have at it. Along the way, check out the new bridge across the Truckee River that is being built to access the new Tahoe City bypass road.
Go for a climb: Check out the indoor climbing options at High Altitude Fitness in Incline or Mesa Rim in Reno.
Head to Kings Beach for Get More S’More Saturday February 24th when local businesses provide all sorts of special deals and treats. And if you play your cards right, there will be smores. northtahoebusiness.org.
Drive around the lake. Usually a drive around the lake in the winter is a challenge, this winter (if you time it right) it’s a breeze. Check out the views of Emerald Bay, Cave Rock and Sand Harbor. Don’t forget to get out and take a few short hikes along the way.
by Tim Hauserman
The North Tahoe Fire Protection District moved out of it’s lakeside fire station above the Commons Beach in Tahoe City in 2011. Since that time the large gray building has remained unoccupied. Several attempts have been made over the years to focus in on what would be the best use of the site. In the past year, Placer County has initiated a process to locate a private or semi-private entity to turn the old firehouse and the adjacent Tahoe Community Center next door into a vibrant part of downtown Tahoe City.
“Our goal is to find the best use for the site that will facilitate improvement to Tahoe City’s community, environment and economy,” said Jennifer Merchant, Placer County’s deputy county executive officer for Lake Tahoe. “We’re really excited to work with stakeholders and the community to find the right fit.”
A proposal is being prepared for the site by Siren Arts, a small grass roots organization founded by three locals with backgrounds in arts and event management: Renee Koijane, Abigail Gallup, and Christin Hanna. In addition, a growing list of folks are joining on to support the proposal, which is currently being prepared to meet Placer County’s deadline of the end of February.
Siren Arts proposes a multi-use space centered around a flexible community center that could be used for everything from dance performances to theater to corporate meetings to weddings. The facility would also include artists studios, a public art gallery, and smaller meeting spaces. The organization would avail themselves of the services of Artspace, which according to its website “is a national leader in the field of developing affordable space that meets the needs of artists through the adaptive reuse of historic buildings and new construction.”
Placer County’s goals for a proposal is that it will bring people together, provide economic benefit to the community and enhance Tahoe City’s sense of place. They are also looking for a proposal that garners a great deal of public support. Go to sirenarts.org to find out more about the proposal and if it sounds like something you would like to see in Tahoe City, add your name to the list of supporters.
By Tim Hauserman
Every year Tahoe City shows it’s fall colors not only with its vibrant red maple trees lining the streets, and of course with the lovely October weather, but with a host of scary scarecrows tucked into many corners along North Lake Blvd. The scarecrows are produced by local schoolchildren, artists and Tahoe City business people as a gift to the community. Be sure and wander around downtown and find your favorites.
Haven’t had a chance to check out the scarecrows yet? A perfect time to do so is Halloween Night. On October 31st Tahoe City hosts the Downtown Trick or Treat. From 4-6 pm local businesses are dishing out the candy and the town is full of wandering Ice Monsters and goblins. Start the evening at Heritage Plaza (That’s next to the Syd’s Bagel scarecrow pictured above) and get a free bag to contain all the booty.
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.
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.
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.
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.
By Tim Hauserman
High above Tahoe City a large white cross can be seen at the top of the ridge. It has been sitting in a level opening with a panoramic view of Tahoe City and Lake Tahoe for over one hundred years. For as long as I can remember, the cross has been a quiet destination for folks to hang out and enjoy the view. While it’s just a short distance from town, it’s an escape from all the hubbub during busy times. How did this wood cross come to be a part of Tahoe City?
Alas, Tahoe City’s cross was not installed to support some noble cause. Nor was it a grand declaration of the faithful beliefs of the residents of Tahoe City. In fact, it came about because a bunch of drinking buddies honored a dare. As I said in the book Tahoe Rim Trail: The official guide for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians:
“William Boyle was an easy going codger with a dry sense of humor who lived in Tahoe City in the early 20th Century. He once asked his drinking buddies to bury him above the town so he could keep an eye on them. True to their word, his friends dragged Boyle up the hill on a sled and buried him above Tahoe City on February 4, 1912. Shortly afterward, the cross was erected at the site.”
Was Boyle simply a well liked chap, or did he buy a round at the local watering hole shortly before his demise? And then of course his buds felt obligated to repay the debt. Whatever the reason, we get the benefit of this unique piece of Tahoe City history.
To reach Boyle’s Cross, hike the Tahoe Rim Trail from the Tahoe City trailhead on Fairway Drive. Climb about a half mile (passing some nice views of Lake Tahoe) to a dirt road. Turn right and follow the dirt road steeply uphill about 100 yards to the cross on your right. It’s a peaceful spot to take a sit, enjoy the view and ponder what a wonderful place we live in. Then when you’ve had your fill, return to the Tahoe Rim Trail and turn right to find miles of trail of awesome lake and river canyon views.
October is Coming to Tahoe
October Events- Tahoe City
By Tim Hauserman
While October is often considered the “off-season”, there are lots of great events scheduled in Tahoe City, and now that the rains have finally put the kibosh on that dang King Fire, people in town are ready to get out and celebrate this awesome town. So after you enjoy a walk through the fall colors, check out one of these events:
October 3rd, 4-7 pm
First Friday, Paint the Town Pink
Throughout downtown Tahoe City
Visit a number of Tahoe City businesses who will be welcoming you with free wine, and their beautiful Pink Pumpkins. The gourds are part of an effort by a number of local businesses to highlight the importance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Create a unique photo with a pink pumpkin and win a prize! Donation boots for contributions to help fight Breast Cancer will be available.
First Friday participating stores include: Trunk Show, The Store, Barifot, Lather & Fizz, Eadington Gallery, Any Mountain, Video Stop, Bluestone Jewelry, Ruffles and Ruffnecks, Gear and Grind Cafe, Tahoe Dave’s Ski and Snowboard Shops, Olympic Bike Shop and Geared for Games
October 11th, 12-4 pm.
2nd Annual Grill Fest
Between the Boatworks Mall and Tahoe City Marina.
What could be finer then a delicious sampling of the best local BBQ? Check out the grilled specials of Moe’s, Jakes on the Lake, Dockside 700, Big Blue Q, Men Wielding Fire and Tahoe Mountain Brewery. The restaurants are competing for the most delicious concoction, and proceeds go to the Tahoe Nordic Search and Rescue.
On October 18th, 10 am to 2 pm
Fall Harvest and Pumpkin Patch
Rideout Center, Timberland
Bring the kiddos for face painting, pony rides and games while seeking out the perfect Great Pumpkin.
October 31st, 4-6 pm
Downtown Tahoe City Trick or Treat
Local businesses will be putting out the treats throughout town, making for an easy and fun way for the tykes to collect massive quantities of the stuff that makes them happy. Shameless commercial plug: I will hanging out at The Cobblestone signing and selling copies of my new kids book, “Gertrude’s Tahoe Adventures in Time.”
Other Events: Oktoberfest Tahoe City, at the Gatekeepers Museum, October 4th between 12-4. Throughout the month, keep your eyes peeled for the interesting and eclectic collection of scarecrows that will be popping up throughout town.
For more information on events go to visittahoecity.org
The Tahoe Rim Trail from Tahoe City
By Tim Hauserman
The Tahoe Rim Trail (https://www.tahoerimtrail.org/) reaches the lowest elevation point of its 170 mile journey around Lake Tahoe as it passes through the edge of Tahoe City and crosses the Truckee River. Two segments of the trail begin in Tahoe City. The first, starts at the Truckee River rafting access parking lot near the Tahoe City Transit Center, also known as 64 Acres. From there, the TRT heads south through Page Meadows, and past Twin Peaks into the Granite Chief Wilderness. The second, begins across from the Fairway Community Center above the Tahoe City Golf Course on Fairway Drive. It meanders north to the edge of the Truckee River canyon and travels to Watson Lake and a crossing of Highway 267 above Kings Beach on Brockway Summit. In the next posting you will hear about heading north from Tahoe City, but for now, let’s go south.
Tahoe City to Twin Peaks and the PCT
From the 64 Acres Parking lot the trail starts behind a gate. First on paved road, then dirt, you walk near the edge of the Truckee River. After crossing a gravel road you head onto single track trail, and begin a steady climb through a deep forest of fir, sugar pine and cedar. You pass close to the edge of the Tree Top Adventure Park at the edge of Granlibakken Resort (look for adventurers ripping through the air on ziplines), then begin to climb in earnest in a narrow canyon above a small stream. At two miles from the start you reach a junction at a snippet of meadow. Turn right and enjoy a mile of gentle climbing as you roll through twists and turns…great mountain biking terrain…to another junction. On this one you turn left and in short order reach Page Meadows.
Page Meadows includes five interconnected meadows. The TRT passes through one with a stunning view of Twin Peaks to the south, and wildflowers abundant in season. If you want to see the others, leave the TRT at the trail on your left midway through the meadow. The TRT is built on bricks to avoid any early season meadow mud. Past the meadow you begin a mile long descent to Ward Creek Blvd. First, passing an offshoot trail to your right. It leads to a Basque sheepherders oven, and another meadow bordered by aspen trees with a cool running stream for those who need to filter water.
Five miles from the Tahoe City Trailhead the TRT reaches Ward Creek Blvd. (good shuttle location). The trail now follows Ward Creek slowly uphill a mile and a half on an old dirt road, to a bridge crossing of the creek. Then climbing gets steeper as you begin a long ascent to the ridgeline. You pass fields of mid-summer wildflowers, McCloud Falls, and an ever enlarging visage of Twin Peaks.
Eventually, you reach the ridge at just over 5 miles from Ward Creek Blvd., where a junction has you turning right, and another mile of winding uphill brings you to a meeting of Blackwood and Ward Canyons, and a challenging use trail to the top of Twin Peaks. The TRT continues on to the Pacific Crest Trail and the Granite Chief Wilderness. At 6.7 miles from Ward Creek, and 12.7 miles from Tahoe City, you might have had enough, but hang a left and head gently downhill for the expansive canyon views just a hundred yards below the junction. From here, it’s another 4.8 miles through wildflowers, along steep traverses, and past volcanic knobs to Barker Pass. Enjoy!
Tree Top Adventure Park
By Tim Hauserman
Tucked away on the outskirts of Granlibakken Resort in Tahoe City lies the Tree Top Adventure Park. A series of courses high in the pines and firs includes zip lines and a variety of high altitude challenges, like walking across shaking boards, climbing up ladders attached to the side of trees, or swinging across the sky while hanging on to a rope-all while safely attached to a cable.
Recently my family ventured to Costa Rica, where I worked on overcoming a fear of heights by zip lining for a half mile high above a waterfall and a canopy of trees. By the time I’d reached the second zip line, the screams of terror had turned to joy. With that experience firmly in my pocket, and my daughter in town, I thought it was a perfect opportunity to deal with this height issue again by making my second trip to the Tree Top Adventure Park.
We arrived at 5 pm, and the place was still hopping. Happy kids were zip lining over our heads upside down, or quickly maneuvering their smiling faces through the Flying Squirrel Courses designed for adventurous kids. We got harnessed and helmeted, and went through a quick ground school and were ready to hit the adult courses. We started with The Twins, which is dominated by two large cedar trees. It begins with a climb up a ladder followed by a long walk between the cedars on a swinging bridge, and then a combination of ladders and walking bridges leading to an ending zipline. It was a combination of incredible fun, and a few “Oh my God what have I gotten myself into” moments of fear. Next up was the Spiral Course, with a series of shorter, but very intriguing bridges, ladders and leaps winding around a series of trees.
When you sign up for a $50 session you are given a two hour time window. If you move right along, you might be able to make it through all five courses in that time, but it’s actually quite a workout for the upper body, and my arms and shoulders were exhausted after two. The park is a fun and safe way to take on both a physical and mental challenge, and well worth your time. For information or to make a reservation go to www.northtahoeadventures.com or call 530-581-7563