"...at last the Lake burst upon us—a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft full three thousand feet higher still! It was a vast oval, and one would have to use up eighty or a hundred good miles in traveling around it. As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords." (Mark Twain/Samuel Clemens, 1861, quote later published in Roughing It)
The teacher in me just couldn't resist learning about some of the history of this area...
Lt. John Fremont, guided by Kit Carson, "discovered" Lake Tahoe in 1844. It is considered to be one of the greatest lakes in the world - certainly one of the highest altitude and deepest. The name, "Tahoe," resulted from the mispronunciation of the region's Washoe Indian name: "Da-ow-a-ga," or "edge of the Lake." I'm not sure how that mutated into Tahoe, but it did.
Originally, the Washoe tribe of Native Americans lived in the mountains and valleys surrounding the Lake. Each summer, bands of this peaceful gathered on the lakeshore below Mount Tallac, for community, celebration and the practice of many of their sacred ceremonies.
North America's largest alpine lake, it is also the second deepest lake in the United States and the tenth deepest in the world. Long and relatively narrow, the lake covers a surface area of approximately 200 square miles, shared between the states of California and Nevada. Water clarity as well as the amazing mountain views are a large part of what make this lake so well known and a popular vacation destination spot.
In 1848, gold was discovered, and thousands passed through the region. Then, in 1858, mining itself came to the area. The Comstock Lode, a large silver deposit nearby, in Nevada provided incentive for more people to come to the area. Logging, supporting the work of the mine, also became a major industry. The first "resort" city, Tahoe City, was established in 1864... only 20 years after Carson and Fremont first laid eyes on the lake. This was the initial acknowledgement of the region's possibilities as a vacation and recreational area. ( I didn't even know they had places like that back in the 1860s, so I was shocked to read that.) By the end of the 19th century, Lake Tahoe was a full-fledged recreational/resort area with several hotels and a lake steamer to carry travelers, mail and groceries to communities all along the shore.
One other interesting detail I read about the lake? Half the water that enters the lake comes via run off and tributaries. The other half is rain water...
One of our favorite stops was Emerald Bay.
This was just a really cool bus flying past us on the tiny mountain roads... so we had to snap a photo!
Someday... Tim and I really do hope to go back to Tahoe, next time with time to truly explore and see more and hike the trails and who knows what else!
Lord willing, some day we will!