Friday, September 5, 2008

Tahoe and Reno

Well, contrary to the dire predictions of the campground host at Lassen, we managed to get to Tahoe without our engine exploding. We popped the hood at one point and could see coolant bubbling out of a hose on the radiator, so we’d located the leak. By the time we got to Tahoe, there wasn’t enough coolant left in the radiator for it to fizz out, but the engine temperature was still normal, so there must have been some coolant left.

Anyway, we couldn’t do much about the car on a Sunday, so we went hiking. We have a hiking book that recommends hikes in different areas of the country, and it said that the best day hike around Tahoe is the hike to the summit of Mt. Rose. At 10,776’ high, it’s the third-highest mountain around Tahoe, and the highest one that has a trail to the top. The hike was almost 12 miles round-trip with 2000 feet of elevation gain.

We noticed a big, busy parking lot at the high point of the highway, but our book told us to park 0.3 mile below that, on the side of the highway, and start hiking up a gated dirt road. So we did, and very soon, we got good views of Tahoe.

At a pretty meadow, we left the road for a trail.

The trail led to another meadow, with a great view of Mt. Rose.

As we continued to climb, we could see more distant lakes. Lassen Peak should be somewhere out there in the distance.

Then we finally made it to the top. The trail had been pretty busy, but it was nothing compared to the summit, which was packed with people, some chatting and snacking, others sleeping. The views were fantastic, though. We could see Reno not too far off in the distance – we figured we were only about 20 miles away.

The views of the lake were great, too, although hundreds of butterflies – the same type that were all over the top of Lassen Peak – got in some of the pictures.

After hanging out at the top for a little while, we headed back down. As it turned out, that big parking lot at the summit of the road was the main trailhead. Our hiking book is pretty old, so it’s possible that the trailhead is newer than the book. Anyway, we decided to take that trail down and then hike the 0.3 mile along the road back to our car.

We took a few more photos of Mt. Rose as we walked away.

And one last shot of Lake Tahoe.

Near the bottom, we could see the dirt road that we’d hiked up, so we cut cross-country from the trail back to the dirt road and walked down to the car. We had really hiked fast – it took us just over four hours to hike more than 11 miles, and that includes the time that we spent hanging out at the summit.

After that, we drove to Reno, where we checked into the Sands Regency. We enjoyed luxurious non-coin-operated showers and watched the Olympics on TV from our king-sized bed.

The next day, we took Caroline into the local Honda dealer to get her radiator worked on. They estimated $600 (!) to replace the radiator, but at least we got a free all-you-can-eat fruit and pastry breakfast in their customer waiting area while we waited for a shuttle to take us back to the hotel. After we got back, we walked around downtown Reno a bit, checking out the Circus Circus and other casinos, and then we headed to Starbucks, where we hung out for several hours, drinking iced coffee and using the internet (thanks Lisa!). By the end of the day, our wallet was almost $600 lighter, but Caroline had a new radiator. Sarah narrowly survived the shuttle ride back to the Honda dealership – the driver was probably in college but behaved like a teenager who had just gotten her license, had no clue where she was going, and talked to her dad on her cell phone while she drove. There were several close calls, but Sarah made it to Honda to be reunited with Caroline. That night, we enjoyed the Sands’ steak buffet dinner, sat in the 17th floor Jacuzzi for a while enjoying the sunset views, and then retired to our room to watch more of the Olympics.

On Tuesday, we ran some errands in Reno and went to the Circus Circus to watch the flying trapeze act, which was entertaining. The trapeze was right above the casino floor, and it was cool to be so close to the action.

All-in-all, we had a relaxing and productive stay in Reno. Next, on to Yosemite!

1 comment:

Kristen said...

Aw, Mt it :)