On June 27th we got friends together from both near and far and toured Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. Lauren, Morgan, and a couple of their friends were up from the Bay Area, and Brian was visiting all the way from Michigan. Many of the Carson City gang was there to join in on the adventure too.
We left Spooner Lake in the early afternoon, and made our way up North Canyon. The temperature was warm, but not so hot that we were sweating buckets. Lots of butterflies were flying around the green meadows, and gave our minds something to concentrate on rather than the steep climb. It was a good time for conversation too, since we would be more spread out later in the ride.
We didn’t stop at Marlette Lake, but rode along the shore on the way to the Flume Trail. Brian was talking about North Canyon still, and wondering where all the switchbacks were. He’d get them soon enough. The water was still high at the dam, and we had to ride through a little water to get over to the flume.
We rode out the flume, pausing often to look around the lake and take pictures. “Wow” was heard often along this stretch of trail. We even encountered the typical couple that was in way over there head. The lady was pushing her bike, and when we said hello to the guy, he got real nasty. It’s doubtful their relationship lasted after they turned in their rental bikes. Our group was in high spirits though, and pedaled on to Tunnel Creek.
Before ascending the short, steep hill to the Tahoe Rim Trail, energy bars and gels were consumed. The road up Tunnel Creek is steep, but it subsides just when you think you’re about done. We caught our breath at the Tahoe Rim Trail intersection, and then pressed on to find the rest of the gang.
The Tahoe Rim Trail took us by “Twin Lakes”. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen water in these lakes except for snow. I bet they’re only lakes for a few weeks, if not only a few days. There are definitely signs of standing water, but it must drain really quickly.
We continued climbing the many switchbacks on the Tahoe Rim Trail on our way to Marlette Peak. The high elevation was getting to some of our sea level friends, and I even heard someone utter the dreaded words, “death march”. Thankfully there were plenty of rest stops at the end of the switch backs, and we got spectacular views of Lake Tahoe and giant granite boulders.
When we got above tree line, the gang seemed to spring to life and charged up the final climb to Marlette Peak. Marlette Peak offers one of the best views of Lake Tahoe, with Marlette Lake visible in the foreground, and Lake Tahoe as the backdrop. You can even see the three peaks of Jobs, Jobs Sister, and Freel, towering above the Carson Valley to the South. I always wish I could spend the entire day at this spot, and just stare off into the distance, taking it all in. The burritos back at Brian’s condo weren’t going to eat themselves though, so we got on with the descent.
The Tahoe Rim Trail coming off Marlette Peak is a blast, and was the funnest descent of the day. There were some great photo opportunities when we rode through fields of mule’s ears, but there was no stopping at this point. We twisted and turned all the way down to the road, and then descended through a beautiful aspen grove along Marlette Lake. We finished off the last big climb out of Marlette, and then rode down 4 miles of double track to get back to Spooner. Some even commented that the downhill was too long! I think we were tired. A few of us headed back to Brian’s condo for New Belgium brews and Rene’s burritos. We ate and drank heartily, and great conversation was flowing. It turned out to be a great day for everyone to get to know each better, and we’re all looking forward to the next big ride.