Sunday, June 09, 2013


Lake Tahoe - one of the most beautiful parts of Northern California - has the distinction of being the largest alpine lake in North America. Bordering both California and Nevada, it is the 2nd deepest lake in the U.S. (Crater Lake in Oregon is the deepest). The water in some places is as blue as what you'll find in the Caribbean, yet unlike that part of the world, Tahoe is ringed with giant pine trees and granite mountain peaks. It's a huge winter destination, but equally as lovely in the summer, but we don't often make it up there during this time of year for one reason or another.

For example, two Memorial Day weekends ago, we had camping reservations at D.L. Bliss State Park but the night before we were scheduled to leave a late spring storm hit the Bay Area and Sierra Mountains, dumping a ton of rain here, and several inches of snow in the Tahoe region. Temperatures at our campground were forecasted to be in the high 40s during the day and the low teens at night. That's not weather you want to mess with so we canceled and camped out in Anderson Valley instead. 

Based on that previous experience, I checked the weather furiously for the week leading up to the trip - daytime highs in the upper 80s, night time lows in the 40s.

Before I continue, I should tell you this wasn't just any random camping trip. We were actually going up to Tahoe to attend the Valhalla Renaissance Faire. Back in the early 2000s when I worked at Clear Channel in Pittsburgh, one of our stations was a sponsor of their ren faire and so Alan and I went on free tickets. It was really fun, but not something that we'd ever really thought about doing again - until this year. I thought a ren fair in the Tahoe woods would be really fun - and it was.

In fact, I'm somewhat nervous to admit that I think I might be a bit of a ren faire nerd. I loved the costumes and the obvious fun all of the players were having. It didn't hurt that this is a group that has no problem putting their assets on display so my own would be quite at home among the group. We stayed for a few hours, taking part in archery lessons, eating giant smoked turkey legs, doing some shopping, and watching a really well choreographed joust.

Back at camp, we cooked up various frozen meats and veggies we had sitting in our fridge/freezer at home, and tried to avoid the bears (who were just coming out of hibernation and were quite active in the area) and the chipmunks with the plague. Yes, you read that right. THE PLAGUE. It was a really fun trip and I'm looking forward to camping up there again at some point in the future. It's a bit far for just one night, so it'll have to be a long holiday weekend which of course means getting reservations will be that much more difficult.

(Edited to add: the photos are out of order. For some reason Picasaweb doesn't like to keep things nice & tidy when it puts them on the blog with mass upload and I'm too lazy to format in the correct order.)

Sacramento sucks

I made Alan buy this hat.

Ascending the mountain

Obligatory self-portrait

This turkey drum stick was strangely amazing. 

Echo Lake, where Alan spent his childhood summers.

I paid to get my hair braided like a Fair Maiden.

Right force, wrong trajectory.

Always come prepared.