Trippin’ Out in Tahoe

Trippin’ Out in Tahoe

 

Northern California is a delicious landscape of redwood forests and giant sentinel sequoia’s. For a pure orgasmic adrenalin rush of oceanic proportions, there is the blue vast expanse of the whale watching waters of the wide, deep blue Pacific with it’s white foamy waves pounding the rocky California shoreline in a somewhat geologically sexy manner, punctuated with it’s in and out Lunar gravitational high and low tide motion. It’s a natural high at sea level to be sure.

However, if you’re looking for a natural high with altitude, then gas up the road machine, head to the Sierra Nevada mountains and get ready for a Sierra high in the High Sierra as you trip out in Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe has a North Shore Region and a South Shore Region. The south shore is more cosmopolitan in nature, while the North Shore is more natural, naturally. The lake at over 6,000 feet was once the turn of the century playground of the rich and famous, and while they still come to enjoy the natural beauty of this mountain kingdom you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom to enjoy it’s bountiful pleasures. If you’re looking to roll out the sleeping bag, there is plenty of camping, and while some motel and inn’s will extract $200 plus from you, there are quaint, smaller lodgings available that depending on season can be had for as little as $49 bucks.

There is an avalanche of activity for the winter enthusiast from downhill skiing and snowboarding on challenging slopes, to leisurely cross country trails to tackle. The back country explorer will also like to try their hand at snowshoeing, and for the young and young at heart, there is sledding, tobogganing and ice skating.

Once the snow melt has cleared the region and summer begins it’s solstice, there is still plenty to do in the outdoor arena. This time leave the ski’s at home and hit the hiking trails. One in particular, the Tahoe Rim Trail is a 165 mile challenging loop that runs along the rims and ridges of the high country surrounding the lake below. Other pursuits include biking, horseback riding, fishing, and boating.

Arts and culture are in abundance, including outdoor amphitheater concerts by well known artists to the Autumn Food and Wine Festival where you can find fine cuisine pairings that appear to be made in gastronomical heaven. The community is a haven for artists of all kinds due to the creative setting they live in, and their numbers seem to grow over time. You are more than welcome to visit their galleries, ask questions and watch the creative process as it unfolds.

Foodies will be fond of the wide range available in local restaurants from steaks and seafood to Asian Fusion for the more adventurous taste buds. As with most creative communities in California there are specialty spa’s that cater to the yoga and massage crowd, or strip down and hop into a hot tub with your significant other, or others, or make new friends. Now that is up close and personal! I do have to admit that it is a great way to meet others and strip away any inhibitions, and that is what I enjoyed most of the Tahoe Experience.

One of the interesting aspects of the Lake Tahoe area is it’s penchant for pooches. It’s about as canine friendly as it gets. There are dog friendly motels, inn’s, RV Parks and campgrounds, and even some of the restaurants are fond of Fido, outdoor eating facilities of course. There is a dog park, dog events throughout the year, and even dog friendly beaches on the Lake that would make Scooby Do proud. Want to get away for a few hours to hit the back trails or ride a horse? Put Rover in one of the North Shore doggie daycare facilities. It’s the closest thing to a spa for paws you’ll find anywhere. They feature bathing and grooming, supervised 24 hour care and a vet on duty to meet your canines medical needs.

Dining at the Donner’s? Truck on up to Truckee and visit the site of the Donner Party’s Last Stand, or at least where they got stranded during a harsh Sierra winter. There were originally 89 persons in the party, and only 47 survived and were rescued. It had to be scene right out of Night of the Living Dead with flesh eating pioneers on the loose! There is the Emigrant Museum that looks at the history of the region and the Donner Party story. So, that leaves the question open? What wine goes with Hannibal Lechter’s favorite cuisine? Oh yeah, a red Chianti with fava beans!

If Vikings are more to your liking, you’ll want to grab your horned hat and head on over to Vikingsholm on the lake at Emerald Bay. It’s a 38 room reproduction of a Viking fortress nestled in a surrounding of sweet smelling pines and cedar, and there are guided tours. In nearby Zephyr Cove there are riverboats rides on honest to goodness paddle wheelers Mark Twain would be proud of, and you can charter a sailing tour as well to cruise on one of the most beautiful lakes in the country, surrounded by magnificent mountain scenery. Of course there is nearby Nevada and Lake Tahoe is the gateway to Reno, the Biggest Little City in the World and the old west mining town of Virginia City with train rides, the Bucket of Blood Saloon, shoot outs and a ghost or two to spice things up.

Go rustic, go Tahoe. It’s an affordable gem of a destination that you can’t afford to miss. It’s mountain serenity, urbane arts and culture in a rustic setting, and offers everything from the tranquility and peace of Yoga to the walking dead zombie rush history of American Cannibals! For more information on getting a Sierra High, visit Go Tahoe North online at http://www.gotahoenorth.com.

Emerald contributor since March 2012

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