Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Rubicon Trail (D.L. Bliss State Park, South Lake Tahoe) - 7/21/17

Lake Tahoe & Mt. Tallac

Lake Tahoe with Rubicon Trail

Old Rubicon Lighthouse (No Longer Working)

Cliff near Rubicon Point
 There were ten hikers remaining in South Lake Tahoe at the end of the week. And, we were all looking forward to a moderate hike next to the lake that had finally been revealed after a week of smoke covering the area due to a distant forest fire. The Rubicon Trail for hiking lies mostly within the D.L. Bliss State Park just north of Emerald Bay next to Lake Tahoe. To begin inside the park, a fee of $9 per car has to be paid at the gate, then you drive all the way down to the Rubicon Point Trailhead at the lake. Early birds get the limited number of parking spaces. BTW, the trailhead bathrooms almost made us feel pampered! Nice.

Fun Trail
 We started out the trail located at the end of the parking lot at Calawee Cove. Rubicon Point juts out at the end of the little cove area.

 At Rubicon Point, a wall of granite boulders make the terrain feel a little cliffy but the state park has constructed chain fences and a bridge along the trail to make it safe.

More Fun Trail

Picture Rock
 After we hiked through the chained trail, we looked up to our right and saw the old Rubicon Lighthouse that was constructed as a navigational lamp in the year 1919. Its flashing 70 candle light was visible for 7 miles. Only 2 years later, the lamp was moved north to Sugar Pine Point to better serve the transportation services of Lake Tahoe. In 2001, the small wooden structure was stabilized so that visitors can still see it and remember its history. There is a trail that takes visitors up the hill but we declined being so enamored with the trail at our feet and the lake to our left. An overlook in this area gave us several very nice photos such as the first one of this entry.

Sugar Pine Tree with Cones
 Back on the trail, we came to one of two main goals of the day. Sugar pine trees! They don't have these trees in the Las Vegas area! Wow! So fascinating with their long hanging pine cones! The other goal was seeing a white-headed woodpecker. We never saw one.

Group takes in View
The next overlook had the group gawking at Lake Tahoe's beauty ... and a big yellow balloon taking off from a dock in the middle of the lake.

Shaded Traverse

Sugar Pine Tree & Lake Tahoe
After passing a junction area from one of the park's large (and very nice) campgrounds, our trail had climbed up into the woods. Last time our club visited this area, a bear cub and mama black bear was in this area. A ranger was watching so that "no visitors were hurt in the filming!" So, we looked around. Up the hill. Down the hill. No bears today ... nor, for that matter, this whole week. The shade felt great but, really, the temperatures for the whole week had been really really nice. They were similar temps as the Spring Mountains at home. Cool in the morning and around 80 degrees during the afternoon.

One of few Switchbacks
 The trail in the woods stayed high for a while then we began dropping back down to the lake shore.

Lake Tahoe Shoreline
 As we approached Emerald Point, where the terrain curved around to the right into the Emerald Bay area, we were able to go all the way down to the water. The surface water of Lake Tahoe stays around 68 degrees in the summer.

More Shoreline

Small Creek Crossing
 A little side trip at Emerald Point informed us that you cannot get close to the water here! So we went further along the shore of Emerald Bay and found some steps down to the water line for our snack break. As we sat, we watched kayakers and paddle boarders float by in the glacier made Emerald Bay. Glaciers also formed other large lakes near Lake Tahoe such as Fallen Leaf Lake and Cascade Lake. The break on the shore was very relaxing then we reluctantly gathered ourselves together for the trip back. Not far back along the trail we gathered at a very large cedar tree to see if we could get nine hikers in front of it for a photo!

Shore from Water Line
 The pace picked up on the way back. It's like some kind of unspoken rule in our club for the return portion of hikes to go fast! We should be more conscious of our speed on the way back to the barn!

 We passed a lot more recreational hikers on the way back and they were all very nice about stepping aside. We only stepped aside a few times. The uphiller has the right of way in these situations.

Emerald Bay

Taking break at Emerald Bay
 When we returned to the Rubicon Point area, there were a lot of water craft crowding around near the cliffs. What was going on? Then, we saw that there was a very high diving rock down above the water. A few of us stopped to wait and watch while a youngster finally got the nerve to jump. He had a life vest on and there were boats all around making sure that nothing bad happened. Mom and Dad were also working their camera! When we returned to the cars, there was a lot of activity involving beach wear. The park beaches weren't far away. Great morning hike! Beautiful!

7 miles; 1100 feet elevation gain; 3.75 hours

People (& Mangansers) having Fun on Water

Nine Hikers try to cover Big Tree

Hiking Back to Cars

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