Reaching out a hand to visitors

May 8, 2015 | Tim Hauserman

Most of us who live at Lake Tahoe understand that we are lucky to spend our days in such a spectacularly beautiful place.  But sometimes locals can get a little frustrated with the throngs of folks who visit Lake Tahoe. We might think, don’t they understand how Tahoe works? That’s when it’s time for locals to take a deep breath, remind ourselves of how we feel when we drop into some exotic locale, and reach out our hand to truly help those who have made the journey to Tahoe. We will discover that we can not only make someone’s day, but we just might make ours as well.

Recently I headed out on a hike from DL Bliss State Park to Emerald Bay along the Rubicon Trail. My plan was to enjoy some solitude as I strolled along the water, bringing my mind to that meditative state from which my writing begins to flow. It’s pretty nice when you can call hiking research.  But as I was walking away from my car, two women approached and asked in an accent that I quickly realized was French, “Pardon…Do you know where is the trail to…ah, Emerald Bay, is that the name?”

My first reaction was to point them in the right direction, but then realized that the park’s gate was closed, the route was down the road, then along a hard to find use trail, followed by a steep bushwhack down to the main trail. They would never find it. I made the correct decision, I said, “Follow me.”

We ended up spending four hours hiking together. In addition to their first introduction to the awesome beauty of this trail along the lake, they received my running commentary on the trees and mountains, and with a bit of off trail meandering enjoyed spectacular views they would not have seen without a local guide.

Meanwhile, I learned from one what it is like being a French woman living in the Bay Area working for an American start-up, and from her friend, who has traveled around the world, I learned about teaching French in the Cayman Islands, that Nicaragua is an amazing place, and that the island of Reunion near Madagascar is even better.

We talked about life in our different worlds, and I was once again reminded that spending time with people from other places is a benefit for everyone. And equally important, I was reminded that we receive renewed appreciation of the beauty of where we live when we see it through the eyes of someone who is seeing it for the first time.