Mountains, Lakes and Vikings?

Trip Start Aug 30, 2011
Trip End Sep 28, 2011

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Flag of United States  , California
Tuesday, September 20, 2011

With the glow of the big pokies win to keep us warm we headed off to breakfast a a local icon known as the Red Hut Cafe. The original hut was started in 1956 and this latest version in 2009. Its a cross between a soda fountain / ice cream parlour / diner / gift shop. All that aside they do a great breakfast.

At around 9am we were collected by a big blue SUV and the 6 of us headed out for the day with our driver / guide / photographer, Mike. Mike recently retired from the Forest Service where he worked for 34 years in the forest surrounding Lake Tahoe so I couldn't have thought of a better person to show us around for the day.

Chis and I were the only foreigners in the party the rest of the guests were American all from the East coast or Florida. The tout took us to some really beautiful local spots that you needed local knowledge and suitable transport to get to. Mike's other role was to record us at the different places we stopped so unlike most of our other travels I actually appear in a few pictures to prove I was there. He also gave us some hints about where the best vantage points for the 'postcard' shots could be taken.

Lake Tahoe and its surround are very scenic and as I have said before even though its yet another combination of mountains and lake scenery there always seem to be highlights that make the trip worthwhile.

The morning started with a stop at Baldwin Beach. I can't imagine what this place would be like in the middle of summer its and idyllic swimming beach. The mountains in the background show the tracks of the ski runs for when Tahoe takes on its alter-ego of winter fun destination.

Mikes knowledge of the local flora and fauna was encyclopaedic and not surprising as he managed the visitor education function for the Forest Service.

Next stop was lower Glen Alpine Falls with really interesting Cedar (not Redwoods a common mistake apparently) and houses which seemed glued to the cliffs. We were lucky that it had been a wet summer as the falls were still flowing. We moved on to Lily Lake a picturesque alpine lake and then to Fallen Leaf Lake and out lunch stop.

Fallen Leaf lake sits behind Tahoe and although close the two lakes are separate bodies of water. They are surprisingly deep with Fallen Leaf being 430 feet deep in places. After a quick lunch and toilet stop we climbed the Angora Lookout road to the Angora Fire Lookout for spectacular views of Fallen Leaf and Lake Tahoe and the area burnt by fire in 2007. 3100 acres was lost but as Mike said fire is a necessary part of the ecosystem and unless there is threat to life or property they let it do its job and burn. Driving the Angora Lookout road you feel like you are balancing on a knife edge.

From there we moved to a outlook over Emerald Bay probably;y the prettiest part of Lake Tahoe. Vikingsholm Tea Rooms can be seen on Fannette Island. This was part of an estate owned by Mrs Lorna Knight and built by200 workers in one season in 1929. Apart from building Vikingsholm Mrs Knight and her husband were the primary backers of Charles Lindbergh's flight across the Atlantic.

We had great day and it was nice not to have to drive for a change! After a quick shower we went to a nice little restaurant at the end of the the street overlooking Lake Tahoe for cocktails and a Dungeness Crab sandwich, the perfect way to end the day.

Tomorrow we are off to Yosemite via Mono Lake for a spot of Tufa gazing!

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