Tag Archives: Lake Tahoe

the road home

Re-reading yesterday’s post made me realize I described details of my trip up but not of my trip back.

Part of why my visit was not so ‘transcendent’ was that even as I was marveling at the water pounding through the canyon I was thinking of the trip home. I knew I wanted to be home that night and I didn’t want to be so late as to have to deal with lots of Bay Area traffic.

I remembered my trip last year via Highway 88 and had decided ahead of time that I would go home that way. It was pretty, but it didn’t strike me as hard as it had before. Caples Lake was still mostly frozen over and Silver Lake, which so enchanted me last year, I missed entirely, presumably because it looked like a meadow covered with snow.

Here’s a picture from just below Carson Pass.

There was hardly anyone on the road, so that was nice.

Eventually I got down to Jackson, where I stopped to eat my sandwich at Kennedy Tailing Wheels Park. It’s the site of an old gold mine. From 1913 to 1942, tailings from the mine were sluiced across a valley and over a hill with the aid of 4 huge wheels. One has been restored and protected in a shed, two others are in varying states of disintegration. The fourth I found by accident and got this picture.

This one is smaller. The big one now in the shed is about 60 feet in diameter.

Below Jackson was familiar territory as it was the same road I had driven on Sunday coming home from Drytown. I didn’t stop any more until I got home to Pacifica about 2:30. Since the night before at 7 pm I had driven 440 miles.

return to Eagle Creek Falls

It wasn’t as transcendent as I’d hope it would be. I left Pacifica last night around 7 so I missed the bulk of the traffic. Still, it was a nearly 4 hour slog to the Lake. I had reserved a room at a funky motel just south of the Y.

I wanted to get up for the dawn so I didn’t take a sleeping pill. I finally got to sleep sometime after midnight. The second time I woke up it was almost 4:30 so I went ahead and got up, slugged down a caffeine pill and ate a Clif bar. I was almost out of gas, so I took care of that first, then headed out to Eagle Creek Falls.

As I drove out Highway 89 from the Y, past Camp Richardson, I remembered last July, going through that same stretch of road and seeing the sun lighting up the peaks above me. This time the sky was light but the sun was still below the peaks’ horizon.

At the falls, there were no hooligans, just 4 or 5 photographers with their cameras preset on tripods, waiting for dawn. As I expected, the creek was a mighty torrent. I went to the spot where I had been unable to get all of Zach’s tiny rocks to go over the edge. The water was churning and deep. There was no way to see below the surface. I feel sure that the water has scoured every bit of Zach over the edge and towards the lake.

As the moment of dawn approached, I watched the bright spot across the lake carefully. I had gotten a picture last year of the moment of first light. Today I did the same but the way the sun seemed to leap up from the mountain peaks seemed different. From the moment of the first edge showing to the full fiery ball in the sky seemed only seconds.

After a few minutes there, I headed across the road and up the trail. The falls up there where the bridge is has a post calling is ‘Eagle Falls’. I don’t know what that makes the falls below the road. Anyway, it was above the falls, at a spot labeled ‘Vista’ that I was most interested in. Ashley and Jeremy had brought saplings last year and planted them up there and I wanted to see if they survived.

Sadly, they did not. Or if they did, they are in a completely different spot. I took a lot of pictures of the area and will ask them if they remember exactly where they planted the saplings.

At first it made me sad that there were no special trees for Zach but after a while I remembered what I had said many times last spring. The whole of Lake Tahoe is where we will remember Zach’s final resting place. It was incredibly beautiful again this morning. Here’s the top of the falls a bit later in the morning.