October brings shorter days, cooler temperatures and fine, colorful fall foliage. At Lake Tahoe, it also brings salmon, bears and Oktoberfest.
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This weekend (Oct. 6-7) is the annual Kokanee Salmon Festival at the Taylor Creek Visitors Center. The center is located three miles north of the “Y,” on Highway 89.
This is a fantastic family affair put on by the US Forest Service, US Fish and Wildlife Service and the California Conservation Corps, among others. Both days are packed with fun-filled activities. The event will run from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and parking is limited.
Taylor Creek is a wonder any time of the year but during the fall, the Kokanee Salmon return to spawn. The creek literally turns red, orange, and speckled brown with all of the salmon striving to make it up-stream.
On both days, walking the nature trail is a must. Wander over to the historic Tallac Estates while you’re there.
A treasure hunt, with free educational materials, will guide you through the area. A fish painting booth and visits by the festival mascots, Rocky and Sandy Salmon, will bring smiles to the children, and adults too. Keep an eye out for Smokey the Bear.
There will be a salmon feed and other foods available. Ice cream is offered.
Runners have the opportunity on Sunday to put the legs in motion on the Kokanee Trail Runs, sponsored by the Tahoe Mountain Milers and Sagebrush Stompers. A half marathon begins at 9 a.m. For the little ones, a “Tadpole Trot” half-miler will launch at 9:15. There will also be 5k and 10k trail runs. Registration for the running events is 8 a.m. at Camp Richardson. All of the running events will start at the Taylor Creek Snowpark parking lot.
Along with all of the swimming salmon, mascots, ice cream and festivities, Taylor Creek is likely to have something else along its banks and in the water — bears.
The salmon swim, and the bears eat. It’s the nature of things. It’s important to keep in mind that bears are not forest service pets. They are wild, and need to be left alone. They live in Tahoe year round, and the mother bears will have their young cubs with them. Just as the mother bears know where you are and where their cubs are — you need to know the same.
Take lots of pictures but stay away from the bears. They are single-minded in their approach to the salmon, and can be formidable critters if they feel threatened.
Along with the salmon festival, the Oktoberfest will be in full swig at Camp Richardson. German beers, wurst, food, music and lederhosen will be at the Oktoberfest.
Because these two events take place at the same time, parking will be crowded. The California Highway Patrol will be out in force.