For many native Californians this may seem a little inappropriate. Heck, even for some Tahoe locals this may be pushing it. I am here to tell you that now is a great time to go boating on the Lake.
True: it’s not even 70 degrees out. True: there’s snow on the high peaks. True: most people have stopped swimming in the Lake. But also true: just about everything goes better with beer…
Well if these things make you absolutely not want to get on a floating craft and make your way across Tahoe, well just give this a read and think of next summer. For the rest of you who are hardy enough, consider hooking yourself up with a day on this incredible, and boat-traffic-free, body of October water.
One of the best things you can do on a boat here at Tahoe is simply cruise around and check out this amazing place. You can mix in other activities like eating and cocktailing at joints where you pull up to their pier. Or you can do boat sports and the like but I enjoy a simple ride to the less-traveled spots. From Tahoe City (near Granlibakken) the most obvious thing to do is head down to Emerald Bay. Although that’s gorgeous let’s save it for next summer…and go where the sun and water are warmer: Tahoe’s East Shore.
Point the bow just north of what we call the Bear Claw (long vertical scratches in a huge mountain) and you’ll find yourself at the historic landmark Thunderbird Lodge. This place is a whole essay in and of itself – and actually you’re probably better off ‘touristing’ the place on land. That’s when you get to walk through the tunnels, see the ladder in the pool from a man who had his last fall there, check out the cages for the former owner’s lion and elephant, his waterfalls for unclothed beauty’s, etc. From the water you can marvel at the ‘garage’ which houses the infamous SS Thunderbird.
From the Thunderbird you can putt-putt south along the coastline where the mountains come steeply down into the Lake. The boulders that have bounced down these cliffs rest now in the bottom of the bluest water we have. Snorkeling and swimming around these behemoths makes you feel as though you’re floating among dinosaurs. It’s very cool – and you can get the sensation by swimming for even a minute above them (ie. if it’s too cool to dive in and around). My father-in-law was curious how deep we were at one point. When I told him 25 – 30 feet, he almost laughed at me because it looks like 10. He believed after watching me take a huge breath and dive down, down, down before pushing to come up holding a rock from the bottom and gasping as I broke the surface (and my eardrums).
We continued the stroll south and then simply picked a miniature cove and threw out the anchor. We stayed there for over an hour watching osprey fly high overhead and listening to squirrels and small birds rustling in the brush. A simple picnic lunch always tastes best on the water so we feasted on whatever was thrown in the cooler. Oh, and we saw a friend cruising by in his boat so we bummed a couple beers…