Did you know that Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America? In addition, it’s the sixth largest lake in the United States after the Great Lakes. It’s also cold as heck.
The final stop on our ten day road trip was Lake Tahoe. We’ve heard so much about it in the three years we’ve lived in California and it did not disappoint. Spending two nights in the area, we chose to stay at two different campgrounds to explore as much as possible. Our first night was at Tahoe State Recreation Area. We ended up driving into Tahoe City late in the evening, but it was like we drove into the scene of a snow-globe (minus the snow). All the buildings were decorated with Christmas lights and it was almost like a movie set. We rolled through town and found our campground. It was located right next to Tahoe City. Right. Next. To. Tahoe. City. Our campsite was less than 100 yards from the main drag of Tahoe City, less than 50 yards from the lake, and ended up being a perfect location as we could quickly explore town while not having to drive. After waking up and having breakfast, we loaded the girls into the Kelty kid carriers and explored town getting some coffee and doing some window shopping. The walk was capped off with a stroll along the shoreline trail that had an amazing playground. After that, we loaded up the RV and took our time driving south to Emerald Bay State Park in the South Lake Tahoe area while the girls napped.
Before checking into Emerald Bay, we drove to South Lake Tahoe to explore. We ended up stopping at Fort Richardson and renting some bicycles. Sean got to drag the girls along in a kids trailer behind his bike. Shortly into our one hour rental, Quincy started crying hysterically. We stopped a few times to check on her, but she would not settle down. In addition to that, inclement weather was rolling in and we needed to head back to the rental store. We got about 30 minutes of biking in with Quincy crying for about 28 minutes. After unloading the girls, we noticed Quincy had a bruise on her arm (with subtle teeth marks) and we came to the conclusion that Leona bit Quincy and that was what prompted the nonstop crying. Unfortunately, or probably more fortunately, we did not take pictures of this experience.
After that debacle, we headed back to Emerald Bay as the clouds rolled in and a slight drizzle started. Our campsite was right near the lake at the end of the peninsula that forms Emerald Bay. Once we parked, we found a trail that led to the lake. It was overcast and quiet and the girls had a nice time throwing rocks and sticks into the lake. It was also very peaceful. Everything would have been perfect except for the sign we saw as we checked in: “Over 20 bears seen this season. Store your food.” So seeing that obviously had us on edge a bit because it was a pretty dense forest. In the end, we encountered no bears.
Emerald Bay was definitely a campground that we’ll go back to in the future. There were some campsites that were at the end of the peninsula and overlooked the lake. They were also spaced out enough so you had some privacy as well. Breathtaking views and some space between neighbors, sign me up.
The final night was a mix of relaxing and packing. Sean and I tried cleaning and organizing while the girls played, but it was really a never-ending battle. As we picked something up or swept, new things were dropped and more dirt was found. We ended up cleaning the RV after the girls went to bed and used flashlights to clean the entire place.
We woke up the next morning and drove out to the Eagle Falls lookout point to take in some sights and have breakfast.
After some time relaxing, we loaded everyone up, gassed up the RV, filled it back up with propane, emptied the waste tanks and made our way back to Sacramento. When we got back into Sacramento, we gassed up the RV one final time and gave our remaining food away to a few homeless people. We also stopped by a Goodwill to drop off the pans we bought and wouldn’t be bringing back. Our good deeds were returned when the RV owner gave us a ride back to the airport so we saved some money and didn’t have to deal with a cramped taxi ride.
The quintessence according to:
Mary: considering our short time at Lake Tahoe (there is a lot more to explore), I loved the lakeside bike and walking trail in Tahoe City, It was beautiful, quiet, and had plenty of activities/distractions for the girls. Between playgrounds, shops, restaurants, and boats there is plenty to do and look at.
Sean: Lake Tahoe was beautiful and Tahoe City reminded me of Lake Placid, NY. A small quaint town with lots of good food and beers. In addition, I was blown away at the sheer size of the Lake. It just goes on and on.
Overall, this trip was fantastic and allowed us the opportunity to explore a lot in a short period of time. It was only a ten day trip, but by the end of the trip, the girls were asking to go in the Kelly Kid Carriers anytime they saw them and Quincy started walking around our campsites with the hiking poles. There is no doubt children watch more than we know and want to be a part of what we are doing so if we make it a point to be outside and active, they’ll want to do it too.
We don’t hvae any more national parks lined up for 2017, but we have a Thanksgiving camping trip planned and are almost done plotting out 2018. Stay tuned and join us if you want.