Tuesday, March 29, 2011

california road trippin': lake tahoe

Aww, Tahoe! One of the most popular California getaways among Californians. Tahoe is absolute perfection with it's spectacular mountain views, majestic redwoods and deep greens as far as the eye can see, and the infamous turquoise water. I had never seen anything like it.....a lake that is turquoise like a tropical island? Mind boggling, but beautiful and so interesting against a woodsy backdrop rather than palm trees and white sands.

There are two popular reasons to travel to Tahoe--skiing and casinos. But, I was there for neither. I really wanted to camp in Tahoe and it was certainly an adventure! At the time there had just been a series of forest fires in the region, which had destroyed much of the bear population's natural habitat and food supply so there was an epidemic of bears breaking into homes to (literally!) raid people's refrigerators and cabinets.

Well, when my travel companion and I finally arrived at our campsite we heard warnings of bears roaming that particular area. You could hear people yelling and banging pots in the distance (a way to scare off the animals), and at that point the adrenaline in my body began to surge. Halfway through my campfire dinner I had my first encounter with a real, live bear.

Two bears came trotting through my campsite. One kept walking, but the other absolutely did not like the sound of our banging pots so he decided to climb a tree! I got a real sense of how sharp his claws were as they broke their way into the tree trunk he was climbing, oh and the grunting noise he made the entire time.........terrifying. Mr. Bear stayed up there for a good hour until finally coming down and walking away, but he did not leave the campsite until morning!

I was camping with an ex-boyfriend of mine who was not interested in protecting his woman or making her feel safe as she tried to sleep. So, with him passed out, I spent the night awake, clutching my pots and pans, banging them, and praying every time I heard Mr. Bear sniffing us (uh huh!) through the screen of our tent. Crazy. Terrifying. Exciting experience (now that it's over:).

The rest of the trip was filled with clean mountain air, the purest yet coldest swimming water, and lots of hikes.

Campfire smoke.

Doesn't it look like I'm on a tropical vacation?

Right after the bear climbed down the tree.

Turquoise waters yes, but fine, powdery sand? No.

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