Thanksgiving is behind us so to speak. It’s not just the actual day — it’s the week of preparation leading up to it and the following days consuming very tasty leftovers. It’s a whole package.
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In reality it’s the time of year when we collectively toss all food-related sensibility out the window. Eating is a sport and the main exercise we indulge in during the holiday.
Now that it’s over and we’ve emerged from the food haze it’s time to get back on track and get outside. There is plenty of hiking to enjoy.
You might think mountain hiking is out unless it’s on snowshoes but that depends on how high and how far into the mountains you go. There’s less than a foot of snow at Echo Summit and only a dusting at lake level. Barring another storm before you read this, the snow will dwindle a bit every day.
Here are some ideas about what you can do at Lake Tahoe until the next cold, snowstorm arrives.
The Tahoe shoreline is always great. One of the best and closest spots is a paved path along Highway 89. Take Highway 50 until you reach the “Y” at South Lake Tahoe and go straight — you will then be on 89.
After about a mile you’ll find several places to park just off the shoulder of the road on the lake side. The biking/walking path is just a few yards from the road and runs parallel to Highway 89.
This is a fantastic place to ride your bike, run or walk. It’s drop-dead gorgeous throughout the year. The path starts just past Anderson’s Bike Rentals and deadends at Highway 89 across from the Spring Creek summer home tract road. It’s time to start walking.
You’ll pass through flora and fauna typically found at lake level — aspens, willows, red stick dogwoods, Jeffrey pines, fir trees, ferns and a sugar pine or two.
Pope Beach is closed to cars for the season but it is certainly worth your time to walk in and enjoy some uncrowded time on the beach. Camp Richardson is further along the way and also worth exploring. Follow the road to the lake and you’ll find the Beacon Grill right on the lake. It’s an excellent place to stop for lunch.
The road winds through the cabin area that is part of Camp Richardson. Stop in at the lodge. The cabin rates are quite reasonable and you might plan a future stay.
There is a lot of history in this area. Beyond Camp Richardson is the entrance to Valhalla and the Tallac Estates. The road will take you to the lake shore and the beginning of the Valhalla-Pope-Baldwin estates. A paved path will take you through these fantastic old estates right along the shore.
If you bypass the Valhalla road you’ll come to the Tallac Estates road which will take you to the Baldwin Estate, the last one in the lineup. From here you can walk along an unpaved path to the Visitors’ Center. It’s closed for the season but you can still enjoy the walk to Kiva Beach and the nature path.
The bridge over Taylor Creek is just past the Visitors’ Center road. It’s a fine place to stop and put your camera through its paces. The bears probably aren’t around right now, but who knows?
Continuing along the path takes you through some gorgeous aspen groves. Not too far ahead is the road to Baldwin Beach, which is also closed for the season. The walk down this road is wonderful and once you reach the shore you will likely be all by yourself. Not many people are out this time of year, especially on weekdays. It’s fantastic.
The end of the paved path is right past Baldwin Beach. The Spring Creek Tract is across Highway 89. That’s a story for another column.
Turn around and head back. It really doesn’t matter how far you walk along the path but take time to explore the areas along the way. Enjoy the fall weather and work off a bit of those Thanksgiving meals.