Opting to visit Lake Tahoe during the 4th of July extended weekend, is opting to let go of all your misgivings about noisy crowds and places. It’s all part of the infectious holiday excitement and you have to happily plunge headlong into the madness and enjoy every moment of it.
Pack well before you start. Water shoes, extra shorts and tee, sunglasses, a cap, suntan lotion, drinking water, snacks and you’re good to go. You won’t be lacking for enthusiasm. No one who goes to Lake Tahoe does:) Oh yes, take a windcheater or light jacket. With a surface elevation of 6225 ft, it can get chilly after sunset.
We headed out from Sacramento early, and made the two hour drive to North Lake Tahoe in good time minus too much traffic. We had planned this as an exclusive Kayaking trip so we didn’t give much thought to camping, trekking and/or casinos, but headed straight to Sand Harbor beach. Sand Harbor is ideal for Scuba Diving, Kayaking, Board paddling, Jet Skiing, Swimming or just plain lazing around. A visitor center, restaurant and clean washrooms are within walking distance of the beach.
We had pre-booked our Kayaks through the Lake Tahoe Adventure Company, (https://www.tahoeadventurecompany.com/ourtrips/wateradventures/sandharborkayakren/). One of their representatives delivered them to us on the shore at 9 am along with the safety gear. We were told to return them at 2 pm. After a brief safety lesson from the guide, we were off.
I was the only one in the group who didn’t know how to swim (unbelievable right?) but I had full confidence in the others to save me, in case my Kayak toppled over. Luckily it didn’t come to that. Plus, some years back, I had been with this same group of family members, white water rafting down the Teesta River in Sikkim, North India. Compared to the noisy, roaring Teesta, Tahoe looked blessedly tranquil.
We were there on that lake for about five blissful hours, just rowing and delighting in the sunny weather. The water was at least three different shades of a beautiful Jewel blue. A sea green as we set out, that soon changed to a lovely shade of Aquamarine or was it turquoise? In the middle of the lake, the color of the sky turned the water to a deep shimmering cobalt blue. In many shallow parts, we could see the smooth rocks and pebbles resting on the bottom. We paddled a good distance to the far end of the lake. When we grew tired, we simply rested, listening to the gentle lapping of the water against our kayaks.
Lake Tahoe is a photographer’s delight and the views along the shore are some of the most spectacular. The lake itself is crystal clear and mirror like and the tall pine and cedar trees provide the perfect emerald green backdrop for it.
There are beautiful beaches and rock lined coves where you can stop over and rest. We pulled our kayaks ashore at one such cove and spent some time there clicking pictures and lying on the beach. The fresh juicy strawberries that we had carried from home tasted extra good after all that rowing.
On busy weekends, a few of the jet-ski’s and speed boats on the lake can get really close, so make sure to balance your kayak in the wake induced choppy waters. Most however, keep a polite distance from the Kayaks and the paddle boats. Unexpectedly, I also had my first glimpse of a fly boarding enthusiast. He was good and showed off quite a bit. It was a bit difficult to video trail him from the kayak but I managed to get a short wobbly video.
Would not hesitate to go back to Lake Tahoe for a second visit. Perhaps this time to the Southern part.