Local author publishes children’s book about Lake Tahoe | TahoeDailyTribune.com

Local author publishes children’s book about Lake Tahoe

"Gertrude's Tahoe Adventures in Time," a children's book about the natural history of Lake Tahoe, was recently published. With colorful and dramatic illustrations, the book tells the story of Gertrude, a Tahoe girl who meets a magic maiden. The maiden takes her on a fast-motion adventure through Lake Tahoe's history. They watch glaciers march, volcanoes erupt and exotic animals graze while becoming forever friends. Gertrude is authored by long-time Tahoe resident Tim Hauserman, who wrote "Tahoe Rim Trail: The official guide for hikers, mountain bikers and equestrians," "Monsters in the Woods: Backpacking with Children" and "Cross-country skiing in the Sierra Nevada." Gertrude is illustrated by Jess Bechtelheimer, who worked hundreds of hours to create the paintings, which are the backdrop for the book. "When I first saw the paintings, tears came to my eyes," said Hauserman. "I felt so lucky she joined me in the project. The goal for the book is to give both children and adults a fun and accessible introduction to how Tahoe became the unbelievable place it is today." Bechtelheimer noted,"We found a way to celebrate and playfully immortalize this place that we love — for those who call it home and for those of us who can't always be here and instead dream of Tahoe from afar." Hauserman and Bechtelheimer will be available to sign copies of Gertrude on: Aug. 13, 6 p.m., Bookshelf in Truckee Aug.14, 10:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Grassroots Books in Reno Truckee Thursdays, 4-6 p..m, downtown Truckee Aug. 15, 11 a.m.-1 p.m., Ruffles and Ruffnecks in Tahoe City Aug. 16, 3-4:30 p.m., Sundance Books in Reno It is available for purchase at The Bookshelf in Truckee; Ruffles and Ruffnecks, The Store and The North Lake Tahoe Visitor Center in Tahoe City; Tahoe Mountain Sports in Kings Beach; Sundance Books and Grass Roots Books in Reno, and online.

Obituary: Joan Tapp

Joan passed away peacefully on January 4, 2014 of natural causes at the age of 93 surrounded by her loved ones. Joan was admired and loved by so many and will be missed by all. One of five children, Joan grew up in Ottawa, Canada and married Eric Tapp in 1940. Joan and Eric relocated to California in 1952. They settled in the San Fernando Valley where they raised six children. Joan began her career with Kaiser Hospital in 1968 where she enjoyed twenty years, never missing a day of work. In 1989, Joan and Eric moved to South Lake Tahoe ("God's Country"), where their daughter Vicky and her family lived. Eric passed away on January 4, 1991 and soon after Joan again joined the workforce. She accepted a temporary position with One Stop Employment which lasted for several years, again never missing a day of work. Joan volunteered at Al Tahoe Elementary and Sierra House schools where she loved and was loved by the children and staff. Joan was active with both the South Lake Tahoe and the Tahoe Douglas Senior Centers where she enjoyed dancing, bingo, and delivering Meals on Wheels. On many occasions you could find Joan at her favorite casino playing the slots. She was a member of Saint Theresa Church and was on the board of some of Lake Tahoe's civic organizations. Those who knew Joan would attest to her kindness, generosity and incredible spunk. She was truly one-of-a-kind. Joan is survived by her six children, Michael (Diana), Susan, Elizabeth (Jim), Kathei (DJ), Vicky (Bennie), and Maureen; ten grandchildren; sixteen great-grandchildren; as well as her brother, Robert, (Vancouver, Canada); and sister, Francis (Ottowa, Canada). She is preceded in death by brothers, Maurice, Emile; and sister, Girlie, all of Ottowa, Canada. A celebration of Joan's wonderful life will be held in the spring, the time of year she loved so dearly. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made in Joan's name to Barton Hospice, Tahoe Douglas Senior Center, or South Lake Tahoe Senior Center.

Stretch and ski by the light of the full moon in Tahoe City

Stretch and ski by the light of the full moon during a yoga class from 6 to 8:30 p.m. Feb. 28 at Tahoe Cross Country, 925 Country Club Drive in Tahoe City. Local yoga instructor Emily Williams will lead an hour-and-a-half yoga class in the Tahoe Cross Country yurt. The yurt will be warmed by a wood fire, while the class will focus on a blend of Ashtanga and Iyengar practices suitable for all levels. After the class, participants will head out the door to ski or snowshoe under the full moon with instructor Tim Hauserman. The 1 kilometer trek will conclude with hot beverages. The class is $20 and is limited to 20 people. RSVP to Tim Hauserman at writeonrex@yahoo.com. Participants must bring their own yoga and skiing gear, including a yoga mat and any props that are needed.

Movies, live shows on tap once Tahoe City cinema reopens

TAHOE CITY, Calif. — Despite closing earlier this year, the show will go on for one of the few remaining movie theaters on the North Shore. This summer, the former Cobblestone Cinema will reopen to show a variety of movies along with hosting live performances and offering food, wine and beer under the new ownership of Steven and Melissa Siig and Mark and Liz Gogolewski. The theater, located at 475 North Lake Blvd. in Tahoe City, will be renamed Tahoe Art Haus & Cinema. "We want this to be something special that Tahoe can call its own," said Steven Siig, a filmmaker who has long wanted to open a theater in the region. Mark, meanwhile, has long wanted to help breathe new life into Tahoe City; together, the new owners hope to bring excitement back to the area and make it a place to be both in winter and summer. "It's our way to give back to the community," Siig said. Siig signed a five-year lease on May 12, with an option to extend it, he said. He and the partners gained control of the space on Friday. Hubert Kamptner, owner of Alpine Heritage, located in the Cobblestone Center, is among those who support the endeavor. "It's a great, great idea," he said. "It's a great addition, and it might bring something to Tahoe City after 6 or 7 (p.m.). For families there's not that much after 6 or 7 o'clock except for restaurants and bars." But that wasn't always the case, Siig recalled. "Tahoe City used to be the place to go for nightlife," he said. "We want to bring back that nightlife to Tahoe City." In the process, the new owners also hope to provide the area with additional entertainment and culture. Before opening — intended for mid-July — the space will undergo renovations, including a digital upgrade, lobby and main room improvements and new bathrooms. "The building is pretty hammered," Siig said. "It needs some tender love and care." Built in 1971, the Cobblestone Cinema closed on Jan. 2 after more than 40 years in business. Its previous owners, Todd and Tiffany Bloomhuff, of North Shore Theatres, opted to not renew the theater's lease. While in operation, the cinema had one screen and offered one movie a week, with one to two showings every night. "What's been there forever is a substandard movie house," said Dan Hauserman, co-owner of the Cobblestone Center. "… "I think it's going to be more than just a movie theater, but a happening place in the community." According to a post by Tim Hauserman on the Cobblestone Center's website, the Tahoe Art Haus will also feature live music and performances by Tahoe Youth Ballet. The ballet was created in 2009 by Christin Hanna and Shannon Barter to create a higher level of education, artistry and performance for young dancers across the North Shore. Remaining North Shore cinemas are Incline Village Cinema, featuring one movie a week at 901 Tahoe Blvd., and Village Cinemas, with two movies a week at 3001 Northstar Drive. Both are of North Shore Theatres. "It's not about making money with this, but making our community better," Steven said.

On the right track: South Lake Tahoe cross-country skiing at Lake Tahoe

Editor's note: This story first appeared in the 2014-15 winter edition of Tahoe Magazine, a product of the Tahoe Daily Tribune, Sierra Sun, North Lake Tahoe Bonanza and Lake Tahoe Action. The magazine is available now throughout the Lake Tahoe and Truckee region. It's not always about the downhill at Lake Tahoe. South Lake Tahoe cross-country skiing covers a lot of ground in the region, with more than 600 kilometers of maintained trails and more than 15,000 acres of terrain. That's plenty of areas to get a daily winter workout. Classic and skate skiing are two styles of Nordic skiing. Classic skiing is the most traditional form, which involves kicking and gliding in a forward-leaning motion. The proper ski technique for this style is done in groomed tracks that run parallel to each other. Skate skiing is performed on thinner skis and requires the skier to push off each ski in a "V" pattern, similar to an ice-skating technique, and involves gliding on one ski and transferring your weight to glide on the other ski. Skate skiing is performed on hard-packed, wide-groomed tracks. Biathlon, also a Nordic sport, combines cross-country skiing and rifle shooting and offers the benefits of cross-country skiing as well as focus and concentration while trying to hit a target. While cross-country skiing is not for the faint of heart, it is a fabulous overall exercise. Health benefits of cross-country skiing Cross-country skiing is a low-impact sport that offers a total body aerobic workout and can be enjoyed by people of all ages and fitness levels. It engages both upper and lower body for an overall workout. Every major muscle group is utilized while propelling the body forward. Like any form of exercise, what you put into the sport is what you get out of it, depending on the intention. If you are looking for a gentle, mindful experience or an intense workout, either can be attained You can achieve an excellent workout gliding across the snow, and if that's not enough, try skate skiing to up-level your exercise program. It's proven that increasing your heart rate while exercising is good for your health. Being outdoors and breathing fresh air is beneficial to the lungs and respiratory system. The benefits of exercise are undeniable. Exercise improves our chances of living a longer and healthier life. Studies show exercise can reduce the risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes. Exercising can also alleviate symptoms of depression and anxiety and uplift our mood. In addition, it promotes weight loss when combined with a healthy diet and can improve heart-lung and muscle fitness and aid in a better night's sleep. A person can burn anywhere from 500-1200 calories while cross-country skiing, according to various health studies, and the sport enhances cardiovascular endurance, muscle strength and power, coordination, speed and flexibility. The gliding movement engages the core, which is central to a strong body. A strong core can help alleviate low back problems and create better balance. As we age increasing our ability to balance becomes crucial. Building upper body strength is important, particularly for women. Utilizing poles in cross-country skiing helps strengthen the biceps and triceps. With most athletic sports breathing is key, and cross-country skiing is no different. Utilizing the breath helps us to relax and creates focused awareness. Breathing opens and expands us and connects us not only to our physical body but helps us to remain present in the moment, creating a deeper mind-body connection. Snowshoeing Lake Tahoe is another great exercise. It provides a cardio workout while also building strength, agility, balance and endurance and is available at most area South Lake Tahoe cross-country skiing resorts. Technique and skill Technique is important in mastering the sport of cross-country skiing, says Tim Hauserman, author of the book "Cross-Country Skiing in the Sierra Nevada: The Best Resorts & Touring Centers in California & Nevada" and director of the Strider Glider Program at Tahoe Cross Country in Tahoe City. "While classic cross-country is easier to learn, it is harder to master," explains Hauserman, a passionate skate skier. "Skate skiing is harder to learn, but easier to master — it takes some time, and the learning curve is big, but after a few times it starts to click, and before you know it, you catch on." Many runners, cyclists and triathletes train in the winter with cross-country skiing. "Cross-country skiing is not as jarring or hard on the body as other sports," says Hauserman. Jo Jo Toeppner is the director of operations at Royal Gorge Cross Country Ski Resort, located at Donner Summit, near Sugar Bowl Resort. She is also a fan of skate skiing, but says it is dependent upon conditions. "Skate skiing is a challenging sport. It utilizes both sets of large muscle groups," says Toeppner. "You are driving up the hill on a diagonal instead of parallel. It's the best form of exercise and engages our center of balance." Royal Gorge will host the iconic Gold Rush Race on March 15. The race is being held for the first time after an almost 30-year hiatus. The race celebrates the culture, history and heritage of cross-country skiing. John Monson is marketing director of Sugar Bowl and Royal Gorge. While he grew up a downhill skier, he also touts the merits of cross-country skiing. "The cross-training element of cross-country skiing has great fitness benefits," he said. "Many downhill and backcountry skiers benefit from cross-country skiing." Further, both Hauserman and Toeppner highlight the relationship between yoga and cross-country skiing. They've seen great results and have received good feedback from people who practiced yoga before skiing Tahoe for the day, explaining that yoga improves their skiing technique. Exploring Tahoe and Truckee on cross-country skis can be one of the most magnificent ways to commune in our natural environment. If you are looking to get a great workout and haven't tried cross-country skiing, there are plenty of opportunities and places to learn. Originally published in the January 2, 2015, issue of the Tahoe Daily Tribune and regularly vetted for accuracy.

Backpacking: A little luxury or the bare necessities?

When it comes to multi-day backpacking trips, the unofficial backpackers’ doctrine is to go as light as possible. “Back in the days of people like Norman Clyde, one of the old-school mountaineers that did a lot of the first ascents in the Sierra, they went really heavy. Clyde carried iron skillets … but we don’t need to do that anymore,” said Gary Bell, owner of Sierra Cycle Works. But for some, eating oatmeal and reconstituted freeze-dried food and sleeping on the hard ground is truly suffering. Why should backpacking be like entering a monastery? Just taking the bare necessities might make for a hard, cold, sleepless, hungry night out in that beautiful wilderness. Steve Andersen was the first person to hike the Tahoe Rim Trail in 1998, before it was complete. He tries to keep his pack around 25 pounds on most trips but admits he sometimes indulges. “I’ll get extravagant on food. The thing is, you are going to eat it, you don’t have to carry it out,” Andersen said. “I’ll bring a frying pan and do quessadillas on the trail, or I’ll do a pizza. Now that’s extravangant. Sometimes the freeze-dried food just gets old.” It seems every backpacker has his indulgences. Tim Hauserman, who wrote the guidebook to the Tahoe Rim Trail, says his is a pillow. “It’s actually really light. It’s still not as big as a regular pillow, but it’s really soft,” Hauserman said. “You know, sleeping is really a challenge; it makes it so nice – it makes a big difference.” Other luxury items include an extra sleeping pad, fresh fruit or veggies, a six-pack of beer or even a fold-up chair. And for the audaciously indulgent, there are always those Lexan screw together wine glasses. Backpackers can indulge when the trip is shorter or less steep. Choosing a closer base camp can allow for some heavier items and longer, pack-free day hikes. Taking too much can get a hiker into trouble. Backpackers need to pack their packs thoughtfully. Bell said he took a cantaloupe once, and learned his lesson. His mainstay luxury item is chocolate, which can be heavy, but well worth the haul. It’s a catch-22. Leaving behind the everyday necessities could make for a miserable night’s sleep, but taking them all along could make for a hard hike. “You have to be into suffering, you either have to suffer while you are walking or you have to suffer while you are in camp. Take your pick,” Hauserman said. Jeff Munson 5/11/04 This would make a good pull quote Going light “Unfortunately what they are missing is it’s such a better hike without all that stuff,” Andersen said. He usually keeps his pack weight below 30 pounds. To begin with, his backpack only weighs two pounds, and his sleeping bag a mere 1.2 pounds. By using light-weight sleeping bags, freeze-dried food and even forgoing comforts like a tent, some claim to be able get their whole load below 14 pounds. When you are hiking 10-20 miles a day for days or weeks at a time, that can make a big difference in the calories you need and the comfort of your feet and joints. Being light in the feet is important for Andersen. “I try to find the lightest weight boots I can find. I try to build up my ankles so I don’t have to protect my ankles” with the heavier boots, Andersen said. “You gotta think about it, every step you take, you are lifting that boot.” In the science of packing light, every pound, or even ounce, counts. What no outdoor retailer wants you to know about is the Pepsi stove, a homemade, lightweight stove made from the ends of two soda cans. One end acts as a cup to hold the fuel, and the other one is the lid, with about 30 tiny holes punched through it for the flame. The home-made stoves run on any type of fuel, even gas from your local gas station. When backpacking stoves can run as high as $150, Pepsi stoves are not only the lightest and cheapest by far, they are easily replaceable. Foregoing the tent is another option. Andersen has a light tarp and uses his trekking poles as poles for a makeshift tent. Others carry a bivouac sack, a caccoon that fits around the sleeping bag, with a mesh tented head area that gives breathing ventilation but also protects the sleeper from bugs. And the most adventurous just sleep outside, with just a sleeping bag and pad. In other areas of the country, you’d be taking the big risk of soaking all your belongings and catching hypothermia on a rainy night. Rain is more predictable in the Sierra summer months, if it happens at all. Food and cooking accesories take the most weight in your pack. Hauserman said if he’s just going for a night or two, he’ll go “cookless.” “That cuts out the stove, the pot, the fuel, cuts you down quite a bit,” Hauserman said. “You’re not eating that great even with cooked food. I take tortillas and cheese, some cooked chicken, salami, and hard cheese, gorp.” Other cookless foods include peanut butter in a plastic tube, and tuna in foil pouches. Cooked foods also come light. A package of freeze-dried beef stroganoff or chicken primavera for two costs between $5 and $7. There’s even freeze-dried ice cream for desert. Boxed rice pilafs, pastas, rice and beans and oatmeal are other favorites. Oatmeal can be mixed with trail mix to add flavor. Ramen noodles and macaroni and cheese are also cheap, not to mention high-calory, camping foods. Hikers should carry out empty food packages and boxes with them. And bear cannisters, although heavy at 2.5 pounds, are the best way to ensure you’ll have some food left to eat at all. Plus, they can have other uses. “I wash my clothes in it. And it makes a nice seat,” said Hauserman.

A tale of two authors

Editor’s note: This is the second installment of a three-part series on South Shore authors and the routes they’ve followed to publish their works. Todd Borg started writing when he was a child, but it wasn’t until after he moved to Tahoe that he published his first book. “Tahoe is a dramatic landscape. I came from the Midwest, which is not known for being a dramatic landscape. It’s so dramatic here, I thought it would be a great place to set a detective series,” Borg said. Borg published the first novel, “Tahoe Deathtrap,” of the Owen McKenna mystery thriller series in 2001. Eleven years later, he’s added nine books to the Tahoe-centric series and continues writing. The novels visit locations that should be familiar to any South Shore resident. Owen McKenna opened his private detective office in a rented space on Kingsbury Grade. He occasionally breakfasts at one of the three Tahoe Red Hut Cafes, where the fictional character always orders the usual – an omelet with cheddar cheese, freshly cut tomatoes, salsa and a dollop of sour cream. Visit the real Red Hut on Ski Run Boulevard, and you’ll find the dish has become such a staple that “Owen’s Omlette” actually appears on the menu. From Cave Rock to Emerald Bay to the summit of Mount Tallac, the books traverse actual South Shore landscapes, but Borg said he steers clear of fictionalizing real people. He wants readers to connect with the locations and the history of the basin, but the characters are purely fictional. “In my own method of conjuring up characters, I avoid using anything that could be construed as not imaginary. But because they’re Tahoe-centric stories, that’s part of the story. I don’t want to write a story that could take place anywhere. As a novelist, I make up aspects of a story and try and blend those with reality,” Borg said. That Tahoe-specific feel caused several New York publishers to balk when Borg started looking for outlets to publish the first Owen McKenna book. From their offices almost 3,000 miles away, such regional novels seemed foreign and difficult to sell. According to Borg, one editor quipped, “Tahoe – that’s a Chevrolet, right?” Borg said he got lot of “rave rejections,” which his agent considered promising –at least the publishing houses were reading the books. But Borg was impatient, and he began considering self-publishing even though his agent urged him to stick with the traditional publishing rather than be confined to what she called “the ghetto.” Borg decided to take the risk, and he started his own publishing company, named Thriller Press, after researching what the business would entail. He’s earned enough to quit his day job –Borg ran a custom framing shop on the South Shore when he first moved to the area – and he gets ultimate control over his novels and the series. He’s also won numerous awards for his books, including a Ben Franklin Award that recognizes excellence in independent publishing. “It’s been an example of how you don’t really need to listen to the experts. The books were successful right out of the gate. People get a misguided sense that how you publish your book is what matters, but my experience is that it doesn’t matter at all. It still gets down to the author finding the readers,” Borg said. When North Shore author Tim Hauserman published the first edition of his guidebook, “Tahoe Rim Trail,” he decided to follow a traditional publishing route. Hauserman, who’s lived in the basin since 1960, wanted to write the authoritative guidebook on the rim trail that was completed in 2001. Wilderness Press picked up the manuscript, but it was still up to Hauserman to get the book into his readers’ hands. “Publishers are less into marketing than they use to be. You have to put the word out there yourself. Any kind of social networking, networking with bookstores helps. I think there’s a lot more self-marketing than there use to be,” Hauserman said. “Tahoe Rim Trail” is now in its third edition, and Hauserman has published two more books, titled “Monsters in the Woods: Backpacking with Children” and “Cross-Country Skiing in the Sierra Nevada.” Both books went through third-party publishing houses. He’s working on a memoir that focuses on solo backpacking trips, as well as two novels that he hopes will get picked up off the slush pile. Fiction is just harder to publish, he said. There’s more competition and you need an agent. But there’s also more potential for profit. Hauserman’s “Tahoe Rim Trail” topped Wilderness Press’ top sellers list in 2003, but it still didn’t earn him enough money to live on. “When I saw the numbers, I was like ‘What about the rest of the people on the list?’ There’s not a lot of money in it,” he said. While Hauserman freelances professionally, he also works at Tahoe Cross Country Ski Area in the winter and leads hikes during the summer. “The Tahoe outdoors definitely inspired my writing. The “Tahoe Rim Trail,” it’s kind of a love letter to the trail in many ways. It’s a fun process,” he said.

League to take snowshoers on adventure

Get some exercise in the snow. A snowshoe hike on a section of the Tahoe Rim Trail is scheduled the first week of December. The North Shore hike will be a light-to-moderate trek through Tahoe Meadows, a scenic spot on Mt. Rose. The guided hike is free and being organized by the League to Save Lake Tahoe, Americorps and Tahoe Rim Trail Association. “We usually get between 10 and 20 people,” said Catherine Parsons, communication coordinator at the League. “Our hikes are especially popular. We try to limit the group to 20 people to reduce impact (on the land).” People who reserve a spot on the snowshoe hike will meet before they head out for a lesson on the Tahoe Rim Trail. At the meeting, Tim Hauserman, author of “The Tahoe Rim Trail: A Complete Guide for Hikers, Mountain Bikers, and Equestrians,” and Sara Holm, a program coordinator for the trail, will make a 45-minute multimedia presentation. Coffee and refreshments will be available. The group will car pool to Tahoe Meadows. The League recommends people dress warmly and pack water and a snack. Village Ski Loft at Incline Village is offering a 50-percent discount on snowshoe rentals. The event will be Dec. 7 starting at 9 a.m. with a meeting at the Donald W. Reynolds Community Non-Profit Center in the Trepp Room. The center is at 938 Incline Way and houses the Parasol Foundation. The hike will last about two hours and end at noon. To reserve a spot, call Andrew Barter at (530) 584-1660 or e-mail him at andrew@keeptahoeblue.org.

On the Hill: Backcountry touring on Carson Pass (Video)

On the Hill is brought to you by the Tahoe Center for Orthopedics Breakdown: On the Hill host and Tahoe Daily Tribune reporter Sebastian Foltz gets in the backcountry on Carson Pass. BACKCOUNTRY AVALANCHE DANGER A CONCERN FOLLOWING STORM FULL STORY: http://www.tahoedailytribune.com/news/20694429-113/winter-storm-brings-avalanche-concerns-to-tahoe-basin Weekend Weather: Sunny skies and warmer temperatures are expected through the weekend. Area resorts have reported receiving up to two feet from storms this week. More information is available at http://www.sierraavalanchecenter.org.