5 May 2017
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.