Lake Tahoe: Every day different…every day beautiful

August 16, 2013 | Tim Hauserman

I’ve been living at Lake Tahoe since I was 2, which my kids would be happy to point out is a really long time. I’ve probably been treated to views of our big beautiful lake 10,000 times, but I never get tired of it, because every day it’s as if I am seeing Tahoe for the first time.

Sometimes nearby forest fires and calm winds will leave the lake covered in a smoky haze, giving us the impression that we are on a ship becalmed in the doldrums. Then a crisp wind will blow away the smoke, transforming Tahoe into an almost impossible to fathom dark blue topped with a few bits of white cap frosting. The sky will be so clear that the green pines and firs will appear to pop out from the shoreline, and we are hard pressed to imagine any sight that could be more beautiful.

I’ve seen a powerful easterly pound the west shore, leaving a curtain of icicles hanging from the Sunnyside pier. Or as the winds die on the third day of a snowstorm, the lake turns calm, gray, and quiet, absorbing the gentle tickle of lightly falling snow. Oh and then there is the dead still hush of a glassy morning in the fall, when the only tarnish on the tranquility, is the rhythmic plopping of kayak paddles.

What stands out the most, however, are the daily sunrises and sunsets. The best of course are created when we have Goldilocks cloud cover: Just the right amount of clouds providing the texture for the bright oranges, purples and pinks which create a spectacular show. I regret that I’ve missed some of the great sunrises, while holed up in my cozy bed, or sunsets because I was watching the TV news instead of the better news I could have been watching in the sky, but I’ve seen enough to appreciate their uniqueness and magnificence.

Once, while thru-hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail above Brockway Summit, I tucked my tent into a tiny crevice at the top of Flintstone Rock. From there, much of the lake unfolded below me as I watched a stunning panorama of colors send me to bed, and then, seemingly shortly thereafter, another round of purple beauty rise me back onto the trail.

Even when there are no clouds, Tahoe can dish out an evening just as picturesque with the pinks and purples of alpenglow. You know already where to enjoy that alpenglow: Sipping a drink from the deck of Sunnyside.