4th Jul 2012
Independence and More
After a very pleasant drive from Reno, we hit the tail-end of the traffic queue which was backed up from the traffic lights in the centre of the grandly named village of Tahoe ‘City’. We crept along enjoying the view and wondering whether the whole of Tahoe would be like this.
Fortunately, it wasn’t, and about 40 minutes later we arrived at our condominium in the pine forest. As this was to be the start of a week-long residency, we made a list of the provisions we needed and drove to the local Safeway to stock up.
Next day was the Fourth of July and, until the evening, we did precious little. The high spot of the day for Stephanie was a trip to the local beauty parlour and for me a brief, but enlightening, chat with a local flat-foot. More of that in ‘American Life’, coming soon to a blog near you...
We had been invited to a barbeque by some friends of Lynda, the owner of our-home-for-the-week, to help them celebrate Independence Day. A very enjoyable evening’s socialising and eating ensued, followed by a somewhat hasty journey to the lakeside to watch the local firework display. Although we were about a mile away from the launch-site, the view was good and the show was (here comes that word again) spectacular!
Speaking personally, Tahoe was a bit of a disappointment. According to the blurb we’ve read, the place really grew following the Winter Olympics in 1960. Most of the properties are less than 50 years old and have, sensibly, been built without destroying the forest surrounding the lake. Unfortunately for the casual visitor driving round the lake, the view from the road is somewhat patchy. One day we drove right round the lake, and eventually arrived at the south-west corner, where the road winds its way up into the hills around Emerald Bay.
We parked up and hiked the two or so miles to the top of Cascade Falls. These tautological streams tumble over a small granite cliff and end up in (wait for it…) Cascade Lake. The views across Cascade Lake to Emerald Bay with Lake Tahoe and Stateline in the far distance were, as you can hopefully see from the photos, stunning.
From an outsider’s perspective, there’s a noticeable difference between the Californian and Nevada sides of the lake. Nowhere is this more pronounced than in Stateline/South Lake Tahoe. Stateline (in Nevada) has the only high-rise towers on the lake; housing casinos, shops and hotels – a miniature Reno in fact! 300 metres to the south and you’re in amongst the pseudo-rustic low-rise buildings of California.
Tahoe City and its situation on the lake reminded me quite a lot of Friedrichshafen and Lake Constance. I’m not quite sure why – apart from both being on lakes! However, that was my first impression and I’m sticking with it!