Weekend at Lake Tahoe

I just returned from a 5-day weekend getaway to Lake Tahoe, which straddles the border between California and Nevada. What can only be described as a breathtaking experience, is in itself an understatement.

Our journey started out last Thursday at 4:30am. We looked at the pros and cons of leaving at such an hour, it really wasn’t so bad in the end; knowing we wouldn’t hit any traffic in Los Angeles, and we would avoid most of the heat of the day from the Eastern Sierras. After a grueling 10 hours (driven entirely by yours truly), we made it to the pristine blue shores of Lake Tahoe at South Lake Tahoe, California. What lay before us is the largest alpine lake in North America and the second deepest in the United States; it boasts clear blue waters tumbling over large smooth granite boulders, surrounded by pine forests and snow-capped mountains…heaven.

If you’ve never heard of Lake Tahoe, the pictures accompanied by this post should be taken with a grain of salt, as it would seem no photo is worthy of capturing the awe-inspiring beauty that one can only truly experience in person.

Over the course of the next few days we kayaked, hiked, swam, walked, and circumnavigated this lake region. Each town, cove, shore, park and peak offered something different for the senses – a mix of sights, sounds, and smells. My favorite activity I think was hunting down the giant Sugar Pine cones. The Sugar Pine is the tallest and most massive pine tree, and has the longest cones of any conifer – some even being quoted at 26 inches long! I was lucky enough to find one measuring in at just 12 inches in length (and might I add in perfect condition).

Ending our journey, we took an alternate route, following the I5 south from Sacramento back home. We have seen a large area of our new state; not surprisingly, we plan to do a “Californi-cation” every year. Whether it be HWY 1/101, Redwoods, Big Bear Lake, Los Angeles, etc. we will be traversing our great state in some form to discover all of her many facets.

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The Sierra Nevada Mountain Range – Eastern side.

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Lake Tahoe as seen from Logan Shoals Vista Point.

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Chimney Beach area of Lake Tahoe’s Eastern Shore.

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Sugar Pine cone measuring 12 inches in length. 

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Kayaking at Zephyr Cove. 

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Emerald Bay on the California side – southwest corner. 

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Vikingsholm Estate on Emerald Bay 

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Secret Cove / Beach – a naturist/nudist local with crystal blue waters. 

 

Black’s Beach

Most of you have heard of San Diego, California. I would guess that a majority would also have heard of La Jolla, Sea World, the San Diego Zoo, etc. I would however bet that most have never heard of Black’s Beach. This stretch of beach north of La Jolla Shores, but south of Torrey Pines is one of Americas far and few between nude/clothing optional beaches.

Many Americans in general I would assume probably balk at the idea of being completely nude in public, much less at a beach. However, I think there is something to it; this idea that being on the beach, the expanse of the ocean in front of you, nothing but a towel between your bottom and the sand, an umbrella between you and the sun filled sky.  All of this opens your mind – you see people as equal – we all have the same parts albeit in a few different shapes, sizes and colors. Overall, I truly believe that these types of situations promote a healthy view of the body; often in our world where perfection is key and having a cookie cutter body is better. Many people develop a complex in which they see airbrushed beauties on magazines covers and can’t help but look in the mirror and see imperfection everywhere.

While I absolutely encourage everyone to live a healthy lifestyle; it is also our duty I think to respect boundaries and promote a healthy, positive body image society regardless of shape, size, color, etc.

Another aspect I enjoy about Black’s is this kind of solitude that I find there. I connect with myself and nature in a way that I’ve never really experienced before. I think it all starts at the top of the make-shift stairs; where one has a view down to the waters below, La Jolla off in the distance, paragliders soaring above. Once you hit the trail and you traverse the man-made steps and well beaten path you realize you aren’t the only one to make this journey today, yesterday or even decades before. You reach the bottom and begin the trek to whichever spot calls your name. It can be very relaxing just to walk the beaches length entirely; gazing up at the cliffs and the surf to your side. You eye up a spot just below the cliffs towards the back, remote and private. Umbrella and towel set up, stripped down to skin; one can now rest and feast their eyes to the waves, the wind in their hair and the sun bathing all in powerful rays.

It’s all very sensory and something that should be noticed in the deepest of details; inhaling and exhaling the breeze of the oceans waves; the fresh taste in the air, sand in your feet, the warmth of your skin, the beads of light and reflection from every surface. It is all to be absorbed.

Pictures below from a recent visit to Black’s. I did have one photo lined up with a very strategically placed beach ball… however I’m not sure how readers would feel. Let me know in the comments your thoughts on tasteful nudes where nothing is showing.

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California Heat, Sunburns & Summer Looks

With much of the American southwest experiencing sweltering temps (even to the point of grounding aircraft), San Diego (which has some of the best weather year-round) on the other hand hovers around the upper 70’s and into the 80’s. Coming from the upper Midwest, the sun to me isn’t something to be avoided in the summer; rather embraced after our long winters. Since coming to Southern California, I have so far fallen victim to the suns intense rays twice (both occasions burning my scalp – which I HIGHLY do not recommend).  It hadn’t set in yet that I am going to be in this type of weather for some time and I better learn to be more cautious and careful with my delicate northern skin. I love the beach and frequent it at least once a week if my schedule allows, however I have been under estimating all the factors around me (only applying SPF 4) and getting too crispy. As of yesterday, I have purchased for the first time in years an SPF 30 sunscreen. It is literally a wake-up call that an umbrella coupled with an SPF lower than 10 just won’t cut it anymore and I am setting myself up for the risk of skin cancer.

That being said, good times are ahead…now that I’m being more sensible with a higher SPF (and wearing a hat).

I hope to roll out a few summer looks within the next few weeks. I have a friend visiting me and so it will offer many opportunities for photos.

Until next time,

W