Tag Archives: Eagle Creek Falls

Zach’s spot

I visited Zach’s spot Wednesday. It doesn’t sound right to say it but I don’t know what else to call it. It’s where his earthly remains are. It’s not his gravesite but it’s something like that.

Three years ago, a group of us gathered there early on a July morning and distributed his ashes in and around Eagle Creek Falls above Emerald Bay. This year, Sepi and I had driven up to Grass Valley to catch Jeremy and his family at Tom’s house. That was a wonderful visit but I had to get back to work by Thursday. Jeremy was going on to Yosemite and we were going back to the Bay Area.

I decided I wanted to go back through Lake Tahoe, though, to stop at this place and remember Zach. Sarah is gathering people at a campsite up there again as I write this so others will do as I did soon.

It was early afternoon and the area was packed with people. We found a parking place quickly, though, and I decided that I would not go to the falls, where I had left my portion, but up the hill, where others had. Fewer folks up there.

I took a few moments to think of that day and Zach, then took a quick panorama, then headed back down the hill. the less said about the drive home the better.

It sure is a beautiful spot, Zach! I love you, son.

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.


I keep saying I want to cut back but I keep failing. Last week was the return from the work weekend Monday. I was so tired when I got home I couldn’t go to band that night. Tuesday I got my laundry done and napped but had work that evening. Wednesday and Thursday I took classes for professional development in Hayward. By the end of the second day I was wondering why I bothered. The new big Yamaha mixer is interesting but the likelihood of me driving one for a job are slim to none.

Friday morning was our first graduation of the year at Davies. I stayed down there to work the evening shift. Saturday, Rose’s sister Leigh had a gathering at her house in Antioch to celebrate the life of her husband, John. Saturday traffic was an abomination. 2+ hours each way.

Sunday morning up early for the Youth Orchestra in Davies until 5 pm then a dash down to Santa Clara for Mother’s Day dinner. In addition to that, we celebrated Jane and Julian’s birthdays. Julian is 21!

Yesterday an early call (6 am) for another graduation then concert dress rehearsal for the jazz band in the evening. I did lay down and try to nap in the afternoon.

Today I am waiting for the laundry room to become free. I have a couple of errands to run but they can wait until tomorrow if it comes to that. The rehearsal showed me that I need to practice the guitar more, although I really already knew that, so I’ve done some of that already. I finished the jigsaw puzzle I’ve been picking away at for almost a month. It’s one of the hardest I’ve ever done so that is satisfying.

Tomorrow night, work returns. Thursday I signed on with Hal to be part of the sound crew for the Disney/Pixar movie presentation at Davies. It’s going to be an 8 am to midnight (at least) day plus I agreed to do the graduation at 7 the next morning. And the house head job in the evening . . .

All this to clear my weekend for personal things. Saturday afternoon in San Francisco Sarah’s quartet is hosting a benefit that I will attend before heading back to San Bruno in the evening for the jazz band concert. Sunday up to Rose’s brother Steve’s house in Plymouth and another chance to play with Allen Frank and his Doghouse Blues band at the Drytown Club.

Monday I think I’ll collapse but Monday evening is another jazz band rehearsal, this time for the school graduation. I really want to go up to Eagle Creek Falls before the summer madness starts so right now it looks like Tuesday or Wednesday will be my best options before Memorial Day.

I have Sarah’s next quartet concert on my calendar for Friday the 26th but yesterday realized it overlapped the Skyline graduation. Hmmm, I may have to weasel out of that one.

dawn over Emerald Bay

I made it to the spot where Eagle Creek flows under the road and leaps over the cliff about a minute before local dawn on Saturday. I took a picture that is crappy but it shows the sun just peeping over the mountains on the east side of the lake.


One person was already there: a real photographer with his camera on a tripos capturing the serene scene. We said hello to each other but otherwise went about our own business. It was a few minutes before 6. The rest of our group wasn’t due until 7 so I just looked around a bit & drank in the silence and beauty and snapped a couple of photos of my own. A couple of kayakers were out on the bay. (Those two little dots are kayakers.)


Presently a large van pulled up and disgorged about a dozen teenagers who came down to where I was and started hooting and hollering and throwing rocks and things. I went back up to the road. I hoped they would get tired before Jeremy got there & luckily by that time they were just leaving. Another group came and went so when Nancy & Linda arrived about 10 til we were completely alone. Sarah then picked up the bag with the jars and we all went down the steps to the creek and falls. We each selected a jar and went to commune with Zach’s remains one last time.

I had somehow gotten the idea that the ashes would float at least a little so I went to the pool and tipped a little in. To my horror, the ashes didn’t float at all. They went straight to the bottom of that lovely pool and made a big gray stain on the rocks under the still water. Of course I could feel Zach laughing at me for my foolishness.

So then I went to the end of the pool where the water starts to rush over the rocks preparatory to going over the falls and put a little more in. This time the bulk of the ash was swept away immediately but there were little solid bits (bone?) that caught in the crevices in the rocks and stared back at me as if to say, ‘Now what, big boy?’

I picked the frothiest part of the rapids where the bottom couldn’t be seen and poured all the rest in. It’s like jumping off the cliff, I said to Zach. All at once or not at all.

Sarah came over and helped me sweep the worst of the stain into the running water but the little bits in the crevices were obstinate so we let them be.


Zach’s ashes

Zach’s ashes have been at my house since I came back from Louisiana. They rest on a table in my living room. I’ve placed his Hobbes doll next to him along with the Rubik’s Cube that he was so good at. One of the flower arrangements that came in December dried out kind of nicely so I’ve kept it there too.

Here’s a photo: IMG_7814

Next week it will all change. Sarah is coming Wednesday night & we will take the ashes and distribute them into 6 small Mason jars. These we will carry with us up to Lake Tahoe where on Saturday morning we will each – 6 of us now – take a jar and place his remains back into the earth there.

After months of avoidance, everyone is finally talking seriously about the little details of this event. I expect to have a post about it next week. Here’s a picture I took back in March of the spot we will most likely be at: Eagle Creek Falls just above Emerald Bay.

IMG_7881 cropped