Friday, April 22, 2011

Travel stories: River rafting in Lake Tahoe

Back on our very first road trip in 2007 driving from Napa valley and the wine yards, all the sudden the landscape changed dramatically. From the relatively flat lands of napa valley we were now surrounded by tall and majestic fir and pine trees. We felt like we were driving straight into a David Lynch movie.Being new to the road trip experience we only had a vague idea of what to expect of this leg of the trip. Our trip was pretty much focused around the triangle formed by L.A - San Francisco - Las Vegas, and Lake Tahoe just seemed as a natural place to rest since we were heading towards Vegas and wanted to travel through notorious Death Valley. Myself I had actually spent a few nights in Lake Tahoe as a child and had some idea of what to expect, but to be honest I thought of it mostly as a place to Spend the night before going on with the trip. My folks had been urging us that we should stay a few nights in Tahoe but I wasn't really that convinced beforehand. Man was I wrong. Lake Tahoe is a mountain paradise!

Lake Tahoe is a fresh water lake in the northern Sierra Nevada's that according to local legend is so pure and crystal clear that a white china plate is still visible if submerged 75 feet. Located along the border between California and Nevada it's the second deepest lake in the U.S. It elevates at 6225 feet over sea level(1897m) and during winter season boasts to have some of the finest skiing in the states. This however being summer the ski tourists was long gone and the locals have found a different leisure to pass the time until the next snow fall, river rafting!

So we drove up to the north shore of the lake near Tahoe City. The place is packed with motels and hotels in all price ranges and as a summer tourist I can't imagine you would need to book one in advance. And since there is such an abundance of free rooms you can probably make a bargain if you take time to ask around in a few motels. It's to long ago for me to remember what place we chose but it served our purpose, being clean and affordable.

So there are a lot of alternatives for river rafting and any motel will have a bunch of flyers with coupons that offer discounts. There are a variety of different levels depending on how experienced you are, and since it was our first time me and M decided on a beginners ride with a company operating the Truckee river. Truckee River Raft Co let's you rent a raft and life wests for about 35 dollars per person (even though our instructors insisted it was more important to bring beer than life wests) and pick you up in a bus at the end of your trip to drive you back to your car. 

The water levels were pretty low at the time so the rapids were even slower than normal but that didn't bother us at all. Here we were floating down this gorgeous mountain stream in a perfect pace without even having to paddle. You crack open a beer, lay back in the almost tropical summer heat and take in the breathtaking nature around you. The river runs in the bottom of a ravine with tall trees on each side and every now and then the water gathers up in small ponds where you can stop for a swim. Also if you get to warm you just jump in the water and the current will pull you along side your raft. Awesome! There are plenty of places you can stay and eat your picnic and as soon as your done you just get in your raft and float on down to the pickup point. I'm pretty sure you could do the whole ride in about 30 minutes but with our stops we did it in about 2 hours. We even got to experience some minor rapids that were pretty exciting for us as beginners. 

Lake Tahoe is a beautiful place on earth and we really felt that given more time we could have spent days there just relaxing by the beach at the lake with occasional river rafting when getting bored. It really is one of the most relaxing places I've ever been to and I often catch myself thinking whenever I'm stressed out about work or school, "I wish i was on a raft on the Truckee River!".

1 comment:

  1. Have you ever gone river rafting? If not, this is something that you should definitely consider doing in the near future because there is nothing else like it.

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