I’ve been lucky enough to have been invited to spend a few vacations up at a friend’s family’s house up at Lake Tahoe over the last several years, but I’d never been there during the winter months before. Last weekend, we finally made good use of our SUV and headed for the mountains.
The drive from Berkeley up to Tahoe is beautiful (once you get past Sacramento obviously). As we climbed thousands of feet, we watched the thermometer drop 30 degrees and the snow get deeper on the side of the road. Just before we drove down to Truckee, we made our way past the Donner Pass — the site where the infamous Donner Party got stuck in the snow during their westward journey in the 1840s, and later resorted to cannibalism. It’s a good thing we had four wheel drive.
After a massive (seriously enormous) lunch at a diner in the old-west town of Truckee, we made our way down to the northwest shore of the lake, where we spent the weekend. The lake is too deep to freeze in the winter, despite how cold it gets up there. The water was much lower than it is in the summer, however, so we took advantage of the paths through the snow and spent an afternoon hiking (trudging) along the lake, which offered a pretty nice perspective.
We also headed up to high camp at Squaw Valley, which sits at 8,000 feet. Being from the South and all, I hadn’t been ice skating since I was about 10 years old, but after considering the views from the outdoor ice pavilion, I sucked it up and strapped on some skates and took to the ice.
We spent the rest of the weekend sitting around the fire and lounging in the hot tub. All in all, a nice retreat from the Bay Area (but still nice to come back to 60-degree weather).