Wednesday, August 27, 2008

On Vacation

Last week J and I made a short trip to Lake Tahoe, where we camped, walked and lazed on the beach. J took some really good lake pictures (although I think it may be hard to take a bad picture of Lake Tahoe). At left is one of my favorites.

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place, but very crowded. It's a relatively easy drive up two highways--Interstate 80 to the north side of the lake and Highway 50 to the south side--so people can come for the weekend. Further a huge percentage of the basin is in private hands, so the area available for public use is fairly small. (There are no public campgrounds, for instance, on the north end of the Lake at all. All camping is on the less elite south end.)

Now that we have a digital camera, I can put up pictures all by myself. It used to be that I'd have to ask J to scan them for me, but the digital camera and Blogger make it easy for a technopeasant to post photographs to her heart's content. So here's a picture of the pretty beach at D.L. Bliss State Park. This one is down a long, steep flight of stairs, so it's not good for long-term lounging with beach chairs, snacks, books and so on.

So J and I spent our beach-lounging time at Lester Beach, where we could easily carry all of our equipment to the beach. Much time was spent reading magazines (he the
Linux Journal, she Elle, Vogue and various house magazines). Lest you misapprehend and conclude that the reading of fashion magazines indicates any fashion sense on my part, I present this picture to disabuse you of that notion. (We were at Balancing Rock, a short walk from the road at Bliss.) I would easily make Mr. Blackwell's Worst Dressed list, had he ever heard of me.

Wildflowers at Lake Tahoe are best in July. The short summer season begins in June and lasts until mid-September. By the end of September most years, Tahoe has had a hard freeze and the first snow often falls by the beginning of October. So wildflowers sprout grow, flower and die within just a few weeks. By the middle of August many flowers have already gone to seed. But J, using the really cool flower setting on the aforementioned camera, was able to capture a few of the remaining flowers near the seasonal creeks that still had water. This is one of the remaining columbine.

Several flower varieties near this spot had already gone to seed, and we saw the remains of meadow rue (a columbine relative) as well. We went to the Visitor Center at Bliss and looked through the flower books to identify some of the common flowers we saw there. Unfortunately I didn't write down their names, so I must either present unidentified common plants and expose my ignorance to the millions or leave these pictures unpublished.

The yellow-flowered plant is common; it grows in open ground and in the rock crevices along the highway all over the Tahoe area. I was able to find it in one of the wildflower books easily, but couldn't remember what it was called.
Through the magic of the Internet, however, I was able to quickly determine that it's buckwheat.

The picture of Emerald Bay was taken when we walked back up from Vikingsholm, an old house that is now a Tahoe tourist attraction. It's a long walk back up and I demanded that we stop several times. J used the rest stops as an opportunity to take pictures. Emerald Bay is pretty, but the motorized boats
give the water a sheen that is not natural.

And no camping trip would be complete without the obligatory picture of me drinking coffee in the tent. The tradition began early in our marriage, when I refused to get up until it was no longer freezing. J would bring me my coffee in the tent, in the hope that it would encourage me to get up. He later took a picture of me as I drank coffee in the tent so, were I to search through our old pictures, I could trace the development of my wrinkles and grey hair through the coffee in the tent photographs.
Here's the latest.

We came home to two cats who seemed to have done quite well without us, thank you. In fact, I think they might have enjoyed spending time with the Exploitable Teenager we hire to take care of them when we're away more than they enjoy spending time with us.

1 comment:

Carlie Fairchild said...

Lake Tahoe is beautiful. I use to live in Seattle and it was such a quicky flight (and not *too* long of a drive) that we went there all of the time. Gorgeous in winter and summer. I'm envious of your trip... it's been a long time since I've been there and your photos remind me how beautiful it is.

In other news, I was terribly excited to see your reference to Linux Journal and reading it while on vacation. You made my day. Now I'm not the only one lugging it around on vacations. :)

Thanks for sharing the great photos.

Carlie Fairchild
Publisher, Linux Journal