Tuesday, August 2, 2011

California Mountains - Tahoe

( 2nd of many posts in a series. 1st post: Getting Over )

Our neighbor camper played his lonely and cheery mandolin for hours each day that we were at the Meeks Bay Campground.

We had pitched our tent within walking distance of the beach, where we were surprised to see three or four Canada geese looking for handouts or taking a dip with the other bathers. The many children liked to chase them in the water occasionally, but the geese always swam faster than the children could run through the chilly waters.

The lake is high this year, the beaches shrunken, but we found a spot to plunk our chairs down in the sand with a view to people-and-geese-watch, glancing up often from our summertime reading.

GJ above Emerald Bay
Mr. Glad casually and calmly swam in the lake for ten minutes at a time, completely disguising the fact that it was cold -- he estimated 60°.

I was content to wade fairly quickly out to a rock where I could sit and admire my manly husband, whom I compared to a younger, fatter guy who no sooner entered the lake than he headed right back to the dry sand moaning and sputtering and making a scene.

Bridges' Gilia
The quaking aspen trees shaded our tent and made a lovely shadow picture on the roof in the mornings, and Indian Paintbrush flowers waved at the front door. Steller's jays helped to wake us up early with their raspy voices.

Lake Tahoe lies at about 6,000 feet elevation, which makes for chilly nights and mornings, but a noontime picnic can be plenty hot if your site's table is in the full sun. 
We took a short hike to Eagle Lake, above Emerald Bay, and captured some wildflower images. The purpley one Pippin and I think is Bridges' Gilia or Gilia leptalea, though it also seems to have a new and updated botanical name for some reason: Navarretia leptalea.

Photo by Mr. Glad
I especially liked to visit the beach at night when it was empty and the water was shimmering. Little waves were going blip-blip-swish on the sand, where by their tracks you could see that the geese had been the last creatures to go to their rest.


Left-Handed Housewife said...

Your pictures actually make me want to go camping--and believe me, I really don't want to go camping. Still, what a beautiful spot! So nice you had a built-in mandolin player.


Pom Pom said...

It looks like you and Mr. Glad are fine campers! I watched On Golden Pond a while ago. I cried and cried because it's so beautiful and touching. Your lake is like The Lake of Shining Waters!

Janet said...

Lovely! Sounds like you're married to a member of the Polar Bear club!

What guidebook do you find most useful for wildflowers? I need one myself.

Gumbo Lily said...

I love the pictures and I'm going to take a guess at the wildflowers pictured. The red/orange one....is that Indian Paintbrush? And the small purple ones look like Venus Looking Glass (something we have on the Plains).

GretchenJoanna said...

Janet, I don't seem to have a comprehensive or all-around-useful flower guide. What one finds useful I guess depends on if you want your flowers organized according to color or family. I still haven't progressed much beyond the color level of identification!

Jody, I can tell by the leaves that the flower is not Venus's Looking Glass (which is in the Campanulaceae Family, btw), but I still haven't figured out its true identity.

GretchenJoanna said...

Yes, Jody, it is Indian Paintbrush. We saw a lot of that on our trip.

I've updated the post with the name of the flower that is not V.L.G. :-)

Harmony said...

My first comment did not go through a couple of days ago, so I'll try again: It's a long time since I've been to Tahoe. You make me want to visit again! I especially love your evening shots--that picnic tables with tree has wonderful lighting *and* great composition.

margaret said...

You are such a wonderful photographer... and I love the geese on the beach.

Marfa said...

I love to camp, too...looks beautiful there! We went to a lake in NJ with my grandfather a couple days ago and there were lots of Canada geese, too, and their poop, too! Yuck!!!