A Brief Escapade To A Beautiful Environment
As a Spring Break expedition + a belated wedding celebration from Jay’s uncle, we traveled to Lake Tahoe for just a few days. Normally I am one to seek out + plan for all of the cool things I want to see or do or places to eat, yet this trip snuck up on us so quickly! I knew, however, that the views would be gorgeous and that I definitely wanted to get some time for sunny hiking + kayaking, but it didn’t end up exactly as I envisioned.
We took off dark + early (4am) to fly to Dallas, then Reno, then an hour drive down to Lake Tahoe. We picked up a bright orange Nissan Rogue to take around for the next few days, driving through snowy, Moose-track mountains around the grand ol’ Lake. The whole community was lodgy + mountain-town + vintage — so wonderful. We met Jay’s great uncle Bill for lunch at a health food cafe, then headed to his house that we would be staying at… we’ll, would be staying at. Just a couple days before, Uncle Bill got a call from some construction workers that these were the only few days they had to work on their deck that was in need of major repair. So, that means we couldn’t stay there + Uncle Bill last minute booked us an AirBnB around the corner from that house. The AirBnB wasn’t quite what I was expecting...it had character. It was a bright teal color on the outside + completely covered in snow. The rental was actually around the back + in the basement/downstairs portion of the house. It was covered in yellow + blue, birdhouses + flowers, a tile-countertop “kitchen” (similar to dorm room amenities), and a German-hills-Sound-of-Music scene mural across the bathroom. Very eclectic :). We said our goodbyes to Uncle Bill who was on his way back to Yosemite, then when I walked back inside, I caught a mouse scurry across the room :). We headed out to the grocery store to grab some items for packed lunches + also stopped by some thrift/vintage stores (including a Goodwill selling snowboards/skis for $9.99!). Dinner was pretty late but really great: we went to Artemis Cafe which was Mediterranean, so I got veggie kebabs with saffron rice + Jay got a huuuuge mousaka (he couldn’t even finish it after 3 days LOL). He also made the mistake of ordering dessert (Chocolate Galaktoboureko — basically a skillet brownie baked inside phyllo dough sheets with lots of whipped cream + chocolate drizzle) before we got our other food. So! Stuffed! But we also got to have really cool conversations with our waiter Edward about the connection between science, theology, and nature because of a comment he made about Jay’s phone case (which has some nerdy physics pun on it) + he also gave us some recommendations/info about the area. By the time we got back to the house, it was close to midnight back home in Eastern Time, which meant we had been running around for 21 hours — time for bed!
This day is April 13th: 15 years since my maternal grandmother passed away, and also the day of the funeral for my “adopted” grandmother, so my heart + thoughts were with my family. Jay + I started our morning as usual with Bible time + getting ready, then we went over to Cuppa Tahoe which was a dreamland full of cool mismatchy furniture + loooots of books, games, stationary. We definitely could have spent many hours there… well, we did spend about two. We started driving the loop around Lake Tahoe, with an intentional stop for a hike at Cascade Falls. Everything was covered in thick snow, so we just took the first open trail/clearing up the mountain. We were met by a few skiers + very steep snow climbing, and eventually realized that it wasn’t exactly Cascade Falls trail. So we started tracking our way on AllTrails, continuing up the steep hill of ski/snowboard tracks before cutting across to a mostly uncharted area (only one person's footprints had broken the snow before us). This new trail led us down the mountain a bit + then across to where we found the trailhead for Cascade Falls (we then realized that we were previously along Bayview Trail/The Desolation Wilderness). Cascade Falls was also covered in snow, so our trail markers were just other footprints + staying within rock/bush lines. This hike was fun + easy, and we enjoyed the nature smells, grand views, + “seek”-ing plants (an app called Seek). The trail was a bit more difficult to navigate as we got to the falls because it was a giant rock face covered with lots of other rocky areas + snow masking any clear direction. We eventually made it over to the falls. Of course Jay wanted to get right in the water action, so he shuffled across a fallen log that was lying across the falls. I didn’t trust my balance or footing on the ice/snow over the rushing waters + rocks, yet Jay convinced me by helping to guide me across. We hit the most amazing spot for a rest + lunch break — we were situated between two sides of the falls, on a sunny rock, nestled under a Bristlecone pine, with Stellar Jay’s hanging all around us (particularly one who liked to perch right above our heads), + the most amazing views of Cascade Lake + Lake Tahoe from above with all of the snowy mountains surrounding. The Lord is so, so good to us! We journeyed back down very, very quickly (like 20-ish minutes compared to the 1.5 hours we took getting there) + the snow was melted along the path. Once we made it back to the car we drove around the loop to Emerald Bay just for a brief stop before continuing the circle, revealing gorgeous mountain ranges, blue and green waters, and the coolest giant homes that have been built along the water + mountains. We ventured to an ice cream shop up North (banana chocolate chip + ginger for me; strawberry PBJ + Oreo for Jay), then closed the loop by re-entering Nevada + South Lake Tahoe. We took a short nap then went to “My Thai'' for dinner – it was the most culturally decorated Thai restaurant I’ve been to with lots of elephants, gold, Buddhas, pictures of the king + queen, and a full Buddha shrine (getting us prepped for the summer!). The portions once again were too much for us — Jay got duck curry + I got avocado shrimp curry. When we got back to the house, I did some schoolwork (this was Jay’s Spring Break, not mine 😜) + Jay watched Columbo (a classic).
It snowed more overnight + continued to snow more this morning, so the ground was covered in a fresh, thick blanket of white. We drove over to Frescana/Freel Perk for breakfast, but we were a bit early so they were only serving coffee/drinks, and not food just yet. We started with a green tea chai + smoothie (blueberry, banana, PB, granola) while looking at another international Christian school in Thailand that is hiring. Then once the food portion was open for business, we split a breakfast burrito that was filled with soft scrambled eggs, mixed veggies, hashbrowns, green crema + roasted eggplant salsa – mm! We then drove over to to D.L. Bliss State Park where we planned to see the water + go to a lighthouse, but the entrance was closed. We took a quick nap in the car, then ventured past the roadblock for a mini walk through the snowy woods. For the afternoon, we met up with Jay’s second cousin Kneece + her crew (Brian, her daughter Rosalie, and an Italian exchange student staying with them, Julia) at the best coffee shop in Truckee (NW Lake Tahoe). A few hours were spent there over coffee + lunch, lengthy conversations, + a quick perusal of the shops on the main street. We had to part ways around 3:45pm in order for me to make it back to the house for my online class. We last-minute had some location changes of where exactly I should do my class, but ultimately ended up at Cuppa Tahoe coffee/book shop again; This way I had the wifi for my class, and Jay got to enjoy some tea + the many, many books there. It was still snowing by the time we went home, which was a full day of beautiful, mystical (because of the foggy/hazy mountains), powdery snow unlike I’ve experienced in SC!
This morning we checked off all the check-out to-do items for our AirBnB, then went by Crazy Good Bakery for an apple walnut raisin strudel + pistachio muffin, and Artemis Cafe for a spiced Turkish coffee to gather some sweet road snacks. We headed straight for Emerald Bay for a hike, where the parking lot was completely empty – score! Funny enough though, it took us about 30 minutes to get ourselves together in the parking lot, and by that time it was quite crowded LOL. Fortunately, most people were just sticking around the main lookout point by the parking lot while we ventured down the left side onto the trail. The initial part of the trail was a super easy walk down to Vikingsholm – from what I’ve heard, a person with big money decided they wanted a Norwegian mansion/castle to be relocated to the shores of Lake Tahoe, so that’s what happened…stone by stone. Tours of the home are only available during the summer, so we continued on towards Emerald Point – a humble total of about 2.5 miles one way. This trail was my favorite – full of giant pines, redwoods, etc. following along the shoreline with Caribbean-like teal waters intermingling with deeper blues, giant rocks + an island with a stone structure, and even more spectacular was that it was all surrounded by giant, rocky, snowy, mountains! A lot of the trees had visible fire damage + tons were fallen down. We found a really great lookout point, but noticed on the map that this wasn’t quite THE point we were headed for, however, there wasn’t a defined path leading to that area… so, we ended up wandering through the forest of pine straw, fallen trees, manzanita bushes, slushy snow, with our phone’s map to guide us in the general direction. Once we finally found THE point, it was a pretty neat 360 view of the mountains and both Lake Tahoe + Emerald Bay. After returning back along the trail, the rest of our afternoon was spent wandering + exploring via car through the various neighborhoods + random roads along the loop of the Lake. We filled up on gas + dinner/tea before driving an hour back up to Reno, NV where our hotel was for the night (next to the airport for our early flight). Since we’re out West, and since it was late at night, Jay took the opportunity to try In-N-Out burger for the first time + we officially coined it as the Chick-Fil-A of fast-food burgers.
Our last day was a full day of travel due to time changes going from the West to East coast.
The whole time we were there I kept thinking (+ saying to Jay 😉) that I could live here. I mean, I did learn my way around the roads/turns within the first hour there so that’s a good sign, right? But seriously, this place packs in all of the good things: beach + water activities for Jay, mountains + outdoors activities for me, skiing + tubing in the winter, hiking + kayaking in the summer, beautiful homes + close communities… if only it was in our price range for living! Regardless, I am humbled that the Lord has worked contentment in my heart to be able to visit places such as this (a huge grace + gift in itself!), and be at peace knowing that I will end up wherever He wants me. Whether that be in a spacious mountain community or a dense city, across the world or down the street from where I am now; I am content + life is bliss knowing, trusting, following, obeying, loving the Creator God of Heaven.
Until next time!