Saturday, May 12, 2007

South Lake Tahoe

Many rides in Tahoe are described on the Internet or in books. You won't find the ride we did today described in either of these places. In fact, I would have a hard time giving someone directions on our route today. Today's ride was partly wandering, and partly a route Jeff F. was leading us on. It was a pleasant ride too, with not a whole lot of climbing, and beautiful scenery everywhere you looked. Who says you have to beat yourself up every ride?

Jeff F., Kathy S., Kristy, and I began our ride at a Natural Foods restaurant called Sprouts. We got some coffees for a pre-ride pick-me-up, and then headed south on the bike path. We found a little single track along the Upper Truckee River that begged to be explored. Jeff F. was trying to lead us by memory on a ride he did a few days ago. He started to get the feeling that we weren't headed in the right direction, but then finally said, "Who cares? The worst that could happen is that we'll end up on the beach at Lake Tahoe!". We all agreed and followed the river.

The river trail terminated when we met other creeks that fed the Upper Truckee. The way forward was impassable (without getting wet), so we turned around and headed around the south most point of Lake Tahoe towards Camp Richardson. We had a nice ride through the woods, along the beach, and by the Tallac historical site. When we reached Taylor Creek, we headed west towards Fallen Leaf Lake.

Jeff F. kept a close eye out for a little trail that left the forest road. He spotted it, to my surprise, and it looked to be nothing more than a rabbit trail. The trail was hidden from the road, but became quite nice once we were on it. As we got closer to the water, we got into the Aspens, and continued heading west along Taylor Creek.

Taylor Creek is full of bright red Kokanee Salmon in the fall, but today it just looked clear and very cold. We followed the creek until we came to the dam at Fallen Leaf Lake. It was a bit breezy today, but we were pretty well sheltered in the woods. The waves were picking up a bit out on the Lake. I was really amazed at all the little trails we just rode. They were barely used. In fact, we were the only mountain bikers we saw all day.

I have a lot of pictures to get through here, so if you don't mind, I'm just going to keep on writing. This picture here is of Fallen Leaf Lake with Mount Tallac in the background. I'd like to climb this mountain someday. It's on my to-do-list. Getting back to the story...we followed the shore line of Fallen Leaf Lake, encountering a few hikers along the way. Once we crossed the main road, the single track became a bit challenging in places with a few technical rocky sections. The final climb of the day was up near the Angora Lakes road. Jeff F. was excited to show us the next section, the best part of the ride he told us.

The trail took off from the end of a driveway on a new house that is being built. I can't imagine this entrance will be accessible once the house is completed. What's sad, is that this trail head is the one that replaced the original trail head. The original trail head was built on too, and the owner did not allow passage through. We did a few little rolling hills through the granite boulders and manzanita bushes. We had great views of Freel Peak, and the Upper Truckee valley to the south.

It was time to get rid of all the elevation we had just gained. The trail was very smooth, and snaked through giant granite boulders. There were trails connecting everywhere, and the thoughts of coming back to explore this place crossed my mind frequently. After a few miles we came out onto the black top again. We took back roads and bike paths all the way back to Sprouts. I enjoyed the energy gels and Clif bars along the trail, but it was time to eat some real food. I had a couple cups of coffee while wolfing down a Hummus Couscous burrito with a side of chili. The rest of the gang followed my lead with other culinary delights. What a nice end to a great ride!

More pictures can be found on our Flickr page HERE.


Michelle said...

And here I sit, waiting for the trails to dry out and the temperatures to get over 55 degrees....Beautiful ride! :)

Marcus said...

Wow. You guys are spoiled! Jeff, I have to get the location of the trailhead with the new house from you. I go to Camp Richardson for a week every summer with the fam fam.. Would love to hit that trail from there. I went around the north side of Fallen Leaf Lake last year. It was not so nice. Way too over grown.

Kristy said...

We had so much fun! I loved the blues and greens of the water, so crisp and clean. Nothing like a day in fresh mountain air.

rigtenzin said...

Wow. That's a beautiful ride.