San Francisco: Camping in Tahoe National Forest
I am in San Francisco and I have been here for over a week. I’d like to say I filled last week with a bunch of fun SF stuff, but in actuality, I caught a cold. Though I was under the weather, I did fit in some fun stuff with my sis and brother-in-law. We cooked tasty food with friends (I made Japanese cabbage rolls… mmmm), we went to Sunday’s Finest – San Francisco’s wacky non-religious church service, and we went to a Chinese Ballroom Improv show! Okay, maybe I did fit in a lot of fun SF stuff… Well, another highlight of this last week was my weekend camping trip in Tahoe National Forest.
Camping at Tahoe National Forest’s Carr Lake
I was happy when my brother-in-law (Kevin) invited me to join him and his friends to Tahoe National Forest. On Friday afternoon, Kevin retrieved our rented Relay Ride car, we picked up our carpool buddies, and then we were off towards the Sierra mountain range. With some expected SF traffic, it took us about four hours, but it was well worth the drive. When we hiked the quarter mile to campsite 11, we were delighted to hear “hello” and “you made it!” from Kevin’s friends who got there earlier in the day. We were also welcomed with a warm fire and a few bites of delicious steak…mmmm. While sitting around the fire, I couldn’t stop peering up to the sky. The stars were spectacular; it had been far too long since I’d seen the Milky Way so crystal clear.
The next morning, I woke up quasi-early to the sounds of bees buzzing, water running, and friends snoring nearby. I felt cozy and warm in my sleeping bag and decided to embrace the moment. I laid in my tent listening to those sounds, while watching the pine trees sway from the wind.
My tent and campsite. It’s a Hubba Hubba NX by MSR.
I was the first awake, so I decided to read my book and eat my breakfast on the cliff-lined shore of Carr Lake. (If you’re curious, I was reading Speaker for the Dead by Orson Scott Card.) I probably spent a good hour reading and enjoying my quiet morning. When everyone was awake and had their breakfast, there was a group decision to go hiking. Kevin had been here before and said there were a string of lakes nearby, each of which got prettier and prettier the farther you went. So, most of us packed our lunches, got our hiking shoes on, and walked east towards Island Lake.
In total we hiked 5 miles and the trails we took led us through wooded glens, rocky lakeshore, and dusty peaks. I’m not often in the mountains, so it was a treat to hike in higher elevation (I believe we reached almost 7000ft) and to see some spectacular views of the Sierra mountain range. It was also pretty dusty on our hike, since California is in a drought. We ate lunch at Round Lake and we all decided to turn around to finish the day with swimming and relaxing by the fire. Instead of swimming, I went back to the campsite to rest my feet and to read my book.
When people got back, some people took naps, while others joined me in reading around the fire. There was also a small group of people who went fishing. I stopped by the fishers for a short time, but then decided to climb/scramble the cliffs bordering the lake. When I got to the top, I could see for a long ways. I could see that we were bordering a wooded canyon to the West; It was beautiful. That night, we all made a huge pot of chile and ate under moonlight. We then sat around the fire and spent the rest of the evening talking, singing, and enjoying each others company – What a great night.
That night, I slept like a babe and woke up to a crisp, cool mountain morning. It was our last day at Carr lake and whenever I camp, I always pack my bag before doing anything else in the morning. It’s something I’ve learned from my camping experience. To me, there’s nothing better than packing up everything first thing in the morning and then not having to stress about packing up later in the day. When I was all packed up, I sat by the lake and finished my book. By that time, more people were up and coffee was being brewed. While drinking coffee, I recognized it was much hotter today and so did everyone else. It was decided that before leaving we should have one more swimming session, and soon enough, I was in my swim suit, inching slowly-but-surely into the Carr’s cold waters. Everyone else was already in, either swimming or floating in inner tubes. With some courage (and peer pressure), I jumped in and MAN was it cold!
After that, lunches were made and people slowly but surely started to pack up their stuff. Since I was packed up, I took extra time to relax by Carr Lake and get those last views saved into my memory. When all was packed and brought back to the cars, we all hugged goodbye and wished each other safe travels home. On our ride home, we decided to take the scenic route in the Sacramento Delta region. It was such a pretty drive, so much better than I-80.
Well, that’s that. Thanks for reading. Hopefully, in my next post I’ll have a game plan for my road trip. My brother flys in tonight and he’s going to join me. :)