Long and Winding Road travel blog

June Lake

There is a huge waterfall high on the mountain. Not sure there...

Crescent Lake? Too many lakes to be sure which was which.

Followed this whitewater river for about an hour.

My OMG moment

Look where I am!

Decided this was the perfect spot to finish packing.

Finally, Lake Tahoe

Night is falling- time to go!

Surprise! Our fire was contained, or at least mostly so, therefore I'm heading home early. When a decision is made to depart early, things really busy -even more busy than normal. Reports have to be finalized (not as if I would ever...ahem..let them get behind), travel arrangements have to be made, checkout process has to be completed, and at some point I have to pack. All that plus a 12 hour drive has taken place in the past 24 hours.

12 hours might leave you wondering-but then,you know me. If there is time for a more scenic route, I probably won't resist the temptation. I couldn't take much of a detour on my way TO the fire but when I found out I would have an overnight stay in Reno tonight (before my 6am flight tomorrow) I decided I should see Lake Tahoe on my way home. When I mentioned that to my supervisor he suggested a back way through the mountains. Ironically enough his route took me through territory that felt somewhat familiar because last summer I did smoke forecasting for some of the towns along this route. Little did I know how gorgeous it was!

But let me back up. Way up. I saw Lake Tahoe for the first time when I was 18, and thought it was the most beautiful place I had ever seen. It was one of those places you hope to come back to "someday" but even with all the travel I've done, I had never made it back there. I wondered whether I would still find it as beautiful. The short answer is no. I did still find it beautiful but hey, it is no Crater Lake. I suppose it was unreasonable to hold such high expectations. But the good news is that I'm really glad I went because OH MY GOSH did I find a new gorgeous place along the way.

I turned off the main route after a couple hours and thought that might be a nice time to munch on an apple I'd been saving. I was wrong. Within minutes I was navigating a white-knuckle, both-hands-on-the-wheel ascent. I don't normally get nervous driving uphill but there was no shoulder and the drop off on my side of the road was very steep. When I finally reached a place to pull over I quickly got rid of the apple. I continued a few more moments around horseshoe turns and suddenly the road opened into an alpine meadow. The view was breathtaking- a straight road ahead as far as I could see, with snow capped peaks in the distance. Stunningly beautiful. There was another pull off so I stopped for a photo or two. Birds were singing and the air was cool, which would be expected because I was around 8000- 9000 feet altitude. When I stopped I saw the sign for the Carson Iceberg Wilderness which was the site of my "familiar" fire from last summer. I had handled the forecasting for that fire part of the time I was at Yosemite because there was no ARA to cover the other fire. What a sweet surprise to get to see the territory today! I have more to write but need to sleep before my early flight so for now will just post pictures. They cannot begin to capture the beauty but I trust they will give you a hint. Goodnight!

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