Late Wednesday my partner and I arrived in Reno, embarking on a much-needed vacation. We are here visiting her father and her stepmother, who have a condo overlooking downtown Reno. When we told people we were visiting Reno, we got a lot of 'Why Reno?' Reno is actually undergoing a renovation from sleazy, seedy second rate Vegas town to a vacation destination. It is surrounded by mountains, in close proximity to Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, Sierra Nevada mountains, the Truckee River, etc.
Yesterday we took a drive around Lake Tahoe, a beautiful lake nestled within the Sierra Nevada mountains, located along the border between California and Nevada. The lake is a beautiful aquamarine color in its shallow areas, with the deeper areas taking on a more deep sapphire blue color. It is the second deepest lake in the United States, with a maximum depth of 1645 feet, second only to Oregon's Crater Lake.
Our first stop was Sand Harbor State Park on the Nevada side of the lake, a pristine area with large Jefferey pines dotting the sandy landscape. We climbed and hiked throughout the parks many trails, breathing in the pure mountain air. We shared a picnic on a secluded sandy beach surrounded by large, smooth, round boulders. Our vantage point offered amazing views of the Sierra Nevada mountains across the lake on the California side.
Our next stop was the Taylor Creek Visitor Center on the California side of the lake, which offers a stream profile chamber where visitor's can see the creek and its various wildlife through a panel of aquarium like windows. We also found out that October is the spawning season for the Kokanee Salmon, a fish introduced to Lake Tahoe in 1944. In October the salmon make their way upstream in Taylor Creek to lay their eggs in Taylor Creek, the place of their birth. The fish turn a beautiful bright red during this process, coloring the clear stream with their vibrant colors. Bears roam the creek in search of dinner. Luckily, we didn't encounter any bears, although we did see a few photos on a local photographer's camera of some bears that had been there earlier.
Next, we stopped at Emerald Bay State Park, by far the most breathtaking stop on our drive, offering spectacular panoramic views of the lake. It offers a view of Fannette Island, the only island that is found on the lake.
We drove through the mountainous California side through treacherous mountain passes, ending the night with a sunset dinner at Gar Woods, located on the lake. I sipped a California cabernet with a wonderful dinner of scallops, very content with my first day of vacation.