Editor’s notes: Sharing the grandeur of Tahoe (opinion)
July 15, 2018
Even though it was a somewhat gloomy October day, I still remember coming over Spooner Summit a little less than two years ago and seeing the lake for the first time.
Despite being gray, rather than picture-perfect blue, it left me awestruck and it alleviated some of the anxiety I felt about interviewing for this job.
Since then the shock has faded but the sight of the lake hasn't lost its awe, especially in the summer when Saturdays are for paddling and Sundays are spent hiking.
The grind, however, can wear down even the most appreciative of us. Long days at the office, traffic, construction, grocery store gridlock, noisy vacationers — first world problems that can slowly chip away at a positive disposition.
Recently, though, I received several needed reminders about how lucky I am to call Tahoe home; and they came right smack in the middle of Fourth of July madness.
I was, to put it mildly, not in a pleasant mood upon arriving at Round Hill Pines to meet up with my girlfriend and her relatives on July 4. I was tired and cranky from walking/running the South Lake Tahoe parade route and back (sandals made for poor footwear that day). Bed sounded much more appealing than a day at a crowded beach.
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Shortly after making it to the beach, we started talking with a woman who appeared to be our age. Her name was Bethany and she was visiting with her family from Texas.
Apparently Bethany's family, who had prime real estate right up against the water, was kind enough to let us keep our kayaks on their turf — saving us from having to carry them over the other beachgoers who were packed in like sardines. In exchange we let the family take the kayaks out for a paddle throughout the day.
Life as it should be.
The family next to Bethany's clan wasn't on the same page, my girlfriend explained.
They had staked out their plot on the beach and were not having even the slightest encroachment. "Nasty" was the word used to describe their attitudes.
I'm sure if they could have they would have built a wall.
"Who cares," Bethany exclaimed to us. She kept remarking about how clear the water was.
Bethany's take was: I'm on vacation, this place is beautiful, I'm enjoying it, live and let live. Her family seemed to be on the same page — they were all smiles.
The grouches next to them … not so much. The father, who looked like Al Bundy, seemed perpetually irritated. The rest of the family looked blank at best.
That's when I realized I looked just like them when I first arrived — agitated and hostile.
I changed course and followed Bethany's lead, which ultimately made for a fantastic day.
Three days later we made a pit stop at Chimney Beach while paddling from Sand Harbor to Whale Beach.
Chimney was largely empty with the exception of two women who, again, looked to be about our age. The more bubbly of the two started asking us about our kayaks. That's when my girlfriend asked if she wanted to take one out for a spin.
"Like a kid on Christmas" isn't a strong enough simile to explain this woman's reaction. She was practically screaming with joy … and it ramped up once she went out on the water.
We soon found out the two were from LA and they had just made the trek here for their very first time. The mountains, the clear water, the crisp air … they were in awe. And I couldn't stop smiling.
As someone who is frequently left asking "what the hell did I do to deserve living here?" I can say the only thing better than enjoying this amazing place is sharing in that amazement with others. It will make you proud and keep you smiling.
Ryan Hoffman is editor of the Tahoe Daily Tribune. He can be reached at 530-542-8006 or at email@example.com.