It is our last morning in Tahoe. I’ve been getting up at 5a PST so I can call and chat with Cohen before he heads to preschool. He practically eats the phone when he’s talking so I can only make out every third or so word… he seems so grown now, but his voice still sounds like the little boy with curly hair to his shoulders. This morning he kept asking “where are you, Mommy?” and then quickly would tell me to “come home”. By the end of the conversation he was bribing me, “Mommy, I have a present for you…” Ahh, love that boy. I’ve missed him almost more than I could stand. The longest we’d ever been apart before this week was a Friday night through a Sunday early afternoon and even that was less than a month ago.
[note to self: stop before you start blubbering]
The first few days David and I didn’t venture too far from the Stateline area we are staying in. We went to some fun dining spots, watched a movie, went to the coffee shop, visited local thrift stores, and took walks on the beach. I think we both, even knowing how busy we had been, still underestimated just how physically exhausted we had become. We were either napping in the afternoon or calling it a night before 9p.
Yesterday we packed our lunches and opted to spend the day hiking around areas close by. We started by making our way to Zephyr Cove. There was some kind of outdoor classes for children going on and David and I smiled as 20-something group leader convinced the kids to repeatedly sing a song about the water cycle: “condens-aaaaa-tion, evapor-aaaaa-tion, precipit-aaaaa-tion”. I kind of wanted to join in for moral support or something. I suppose that sympathetic reaction comes from years of being a camp counselor.
We walked the dock and got a good look at the boats in the cove, especially the massive, old school paddle boat, M.S. Dixie. Far off in the distance there was a hot air balloon on a boat. I pointed it out to David and we watched as it ascended only to be returned to the ground. Drawing from our recent hot air balloon experience, David commented that it was probably tethered down and only giving short rides to tourists. I wasn’t so sure.
We looked for a trail… me with my eyes, David with his iphone. In the end, we ended up walking along the beach till we reached an area with large rocks jutting out into the water. We found a flat enough rock close to the rhythmic waves and sat there for awhile watching boats and commenting on the clarity of the water. It reminded me of the Oregon coast, with its craggy, rugged beauty. We sat for awhile, talking very little, enjoying the scenery.
David was hungry and I was ready to do some hiking, so we headed back down the beach. It was at that point we saw the hot air balloon ascending again, this time high above the mountains. I pointed to it. “That’s some tether,” I commented with a wink. I get to be right so little, I just must blog about it 🙂 Don’t judge.
We picnicked by the beach, slowing eating our hummus and turkey sandwiches and talking about the history of our families. I never cease to be impressed by David’s knowledge of his family going back several generations. What I know about the Adelsbergers is sketchy beyond either one of my dad’s parents and since Grandma Holzbauer was an orphan and Grandpa Holzbauer was only slightly better off, I know little about their families either. David tells stories about his maternal great-great grandmother as if she was someone he’d lunched with last week. An hour passes while I am fixated on his story telling.
We pack up and head for Kiva beach, a spot a local suggested. The beach was gorgeous, but still jonesing for a hiking fix, we followed HWY 89 further into the National Forest, stopping at the vista points to read plaques and take photos. It was majestic.
Partly wishing we’d had come that way days earlier, I had to remind myself you have to be awake enough to actually your eyes open to appreciate the beauty. Turns out Thursday for hiking was impeccable timing.
Emerald Bay boasts one small island where a rich lady built a tea house that looks like a castle. She also built a castle on the main beach, but I was intrigued by the smaller stone building I could barely make out through the binoculars bolted to the railing. Never ones to go about things the normal way, we ended up reading the series of plaques backwards. It was like a puzzle that didn’t make sense until the very last piece when I got what was meant to be the initial information and had my “ah-ha” moment.
The first or final plaque (depending on what direction you walked) describe the man who had been the caretaker of the rich lady’s properties. He almost lost his life one night in a storm while rowing home from the mainline saloon. Legend says that he tied himself to the boat and nearly lost his life in the process. Upon returning, he made himself an elaborate casket and burial site, thinking he had cheated death and would someday be buried an old man. The irony was that he died a short time later making another trip home in a storm and his body was never recovered. “Huh,” I said, “…best laid plans, eh?” David finished reading a minute later, “…and the moral of the story is don’t go back to the saloon”. I smiled, but am still thinking about the caretaker and his empty, elaborate tomb this morning.
We followed the road a little further until we saw signs that said “trailhead”. Following the arrows to the Cascade Falls, we hiked for several hours. We never did find the falls, though we could hear them somewhere below us. The path was largely lined with rocks and boulders and semi-smooth cliff faces and then at a spot near the top, the whole ground was covered in rocks, making the path difficult to locate.
Bear scrapings marked the trees, reminding me of the signs everywhere shouting to visitors that they were in bear country. I thought about the family vacation we took out west the summer before I was a senior in high school. We bought a book of bear attack stories to get our adrenaline running and Beth, who at the time was about 8 or 9, was reading them aloud in the car. Very into the story, she read the words of a person being attacked, “oh, sh*% !” without realizing what she’d said and then when we all exploded into laughter and she did realize, she burst into tears, exclaiming, “I cussed…I cussed!” I chuckled a little to myself at the memory.
We explore a little and talked a lot. It was gorgeous from up so high… I could’ve taken a picture a second and still found beautiful perspectives waiting to be captured.
We climbed down, went back to our suite and got cleaned up and went to dinner at Riva Grill. The food was just a delicious as the spot was gorgeous. Seated near a window, we watched as the sun melted into the horizon and the sky took on all kinds of muted purple and pink hues and the clouds became indistinguishable from the rest of the sky where mountains that had, in the light of day, created boundaries between the earth and the heavens became invisible.
This morning we’re enjoying, yet again, some sweet time at the Alpen Sierra Coffee spot and then shortly heading into town for a gondola ride up over the mountains. Apparently there is hiking at the top and coffee, so we’re planning on spending a good portion of the day there hiking and sipping and taking it all in. And tonight we’re booked on the Tahoe Queen for a dinner cruise around Emerald Bay. Secretly I am hoping for a chance to see that tea house parading as a castle a little bit closer… and perhaps a few still moments to ponder the deeper meaning of the life and death of that legendary groundskeeper.
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