On day four we decided to go for a little change of scenery – which is exactly why California is so awesome – and we headed east into the mountains. I have very fond memories of trips up to Lake Tahoe when I was a kid that involved what my family referred to lovingly as wiggly-worm roads. On this occasion, knowing that it was my job to keep us on them so we didn’t plummet to our untimely, albeit, scenic deaths, I was less than fantastically thrilled with them. As the Husband slept soundly in the passenger seat, I was swept up into the middle of a line of cars and white knuckled my way up the blind turns at a deeply troubling clip.
Despite my concerns, we arrived at our designated stop of Heavenly (on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe) completely intact and prepared for our next death-defying stunt. This one involved dangling in a plexiglass pod from a thin wire while being dragged up the side of a mountain. I was overjoyed.
After sawing off a couple of limbs to pay for the privilege of riding their overpriced deathtrap and taking a moment to come to peace with my fate, we hopped in and were on our way. Being that this particular mode of transit was as much intended for actual skiers as it was tourists, the inside of the pod was riddled with scratches and gouges from various snow sport paraphernalia which made it very difficult to take any photos. Fortunately, they provided a midway stop for just such a purpose so we happily obliged…
before continuing on to base camp at the top…
…where we briefly considered some sort of tubing before realizing that we would probably be forced to sacrifice a few more limbs to pay for it and then returning to the pods to be re-deposited several hundred feet back down the mountain for lunch and shopping.
All funds wholly siphoned off into the coffers of Heavenly (Mother of God Why is Everything So Expensive!) Ski Resort, we scurried off toward Emerald Bay for some more sightseeing and photo ops. On the way I was reminded of how truly terrifying mountain driving can be when we rounded another sharp corner to find ourselves suddenly and inexplicably perched on a shockingly thin road with absolutely nothing on either side but a steady tumble to oblivion.
I’m not sure I’ve ever been so alarmed. There wasn’t even so much as a shoulder to pull on to and I was pretty sure that at any minute a slight breeze would push us right over the side. My completely rational fears notwithstanding, we did manage to make it to Emerald Bay where I happily trotted up the side of a large rocky outcropping to take this picture:
only to discover that Lake Tahoe suffers from an absolutely appalling lack of air. As I braced myself against a rock and heaved deep breaths of nothingness it dawned on me that the many signs that had cheerfully been informing us of our steadily climbing elevation had been intended for more than just my amusement. Also that, for someone who lives in Florida at precisely ZERO feet about sea level, an eight thousand foot peak is probably not the place to be dashing about like a loon. We must save that for the lower elevations. (This realization will have been completely forgotten within a couple of days when I will do the Exact. Same. Thing…only more.)
After a few more pictures of various and sundry touristy things including: Lake Tahoe’s only island…
the beginning of a lovely waterfall…
and, most notably, the rocky outcropping that tried to kill me…
we were on our way….to Alpaca Pete’s!
Where you too can fill* that Alpaca shaped hole in your heart with anything and EVERYTHING Alpaca.
*Disturbing conversation with aging hippy proprietor free with purchase.
Oh…and The Husband built his first snowman.
And yes, he does have a tail. Why do you ask?
To Be Continued