It is 6:05 AM on Thursday morning. I woke up too late to make it to the gym but am satisfied as I’m feeling pretty sore from yesterday’s workout.
I wanted to write about last weekend and the trip to Lake Tahoe. We left on Thursday and stopped halfway to meet up with our friends at Mt. Vernon Winery in Auburn. My favorite wine ever is the 2007 Estate Syrah but this was put to the test during this recent tasting. The Mountain Red, Barbera and Zinfandel were all fantastic. These were wines that make you comment how good it is after you take a drink. I spent about $200 on wine but we’ve already drunk about half of it in Tahoe so will have to order more.
Along with Mt. Vernon Winery it is also a tradition to stop at Ikeda’s Market which is close by. It is a combination restaurant, grocery store which has excellent ice cream and is known for a wonderful selection of delicious pies. Stopping here and at Mt. Vernon Winery makes every trip to Lake Tahoe that much more special.
Then it was on to Tahoe. Once we arrived we settled in to the condo, made dinner and opened up some of the wine we had just bought.
The weather forecast had called for rain on Friday but it was never anything substantial and all of it turned to snow once we reached the top of the mountain where we went sledding. It was my oldest boy’s first time to sled and he really enjoyed the experience. The snow was a bit too icy though so we didn’t stay long. Also, my youngest slept through the entire experience having fallen asleep on the way there. His first time experiencing snow would have to wait.
On Saturday we went sledding again. This time there was plenty of freshly fallen, wet snow which was perfect for building an enormous snowman. We also ended up having a snowball fight with the best shot of the day hitting me unfortunately. I was staying by the car because my youngest was still sleeping (again) and I needed to continually check on him. After I had done so I wasn’t paying attention when suddenly a snowball hit me right in the face. I couldn’t even open my eyes for about three minutes and had thought my contacts had been knocked out. I did recover and promptly tackled my buddy, threw legs in (wrestling) and let the girls throw plenty of snow his way. My youngest, who is one and a half, did eventually wake up and I’ll always remember the expression on his face experiencing cold and snow for the first time. It was one of discomfort and confusion; the wind was cold and he had never seen snow before so it was like he was simply trying to process it all. He wanted to be continually held but did let us get a few pictures of him in the sled.
On Sunday we went for a hike at Sand Harbor. There was a wooden walkway along the point which was covered in snow. We saw a couple braving the elements to take wedding photos sans winter clothing in front of the lake. I paused for a moment to watch them and see the expressions of the bride as she really reveled in the moment with her beau. Her face radiated love and passion for her man and the cold did not bother her. It made me smile to think that should they have kids that expression will turn to one of exhaustion pretty quickly. For those that marry, I think we all go through it. There is an image of marriage that is sold by the wedding industry, one that perfectly fits this reality TV, superficial culture of ours. Finding someone to marry is wonderful and there is a lot of passion which the wedding industry amps up to incredible heights with all its endless trappings, add-ons and must haves.
Finally the day is done, the bride is no longer the center of attention and it kind of feels like the day after Christmas. I wonder if those two will make it, will they live a complete life of happiness or will they get divorced in 5 to 10 years; the pictures they are taking now will only bring sadness and thus be stuffed into a box in the attic. I have to admit that the thought to throw a snowball at them, seeing as I had the high ground, did cross my mind, but that would be rude and who am I to ruin a wonderful day for two people when there is a 50% chance they will experience extreme unhappiness with each other in the near future. I wish them well and hope everything turns out alright.
I forgot to mention that either Saturday or Sunday we were able to escape for a bit to a new brewery called Alibi Ale Works. It was easy to see that this was the new, trendy place to be as the crowd was young, the men were bearded and the beers had infinitely more flavors than you’ll find in a Miller Lite. It was a tad crowded but this was mostly due to the baby shower that was going on in the adjacent room. Now, I could be wrong ,but I believe that any wife who has her baby shower in a brewery is much more likely to live a life of bliss with her husband than one who requires wedding pictures to be taken in front of a lake in the middle of winter. If I were a betting man I’d say the couple in the brewery is going to make it while it is anyone’s guess as to what happens to the couple in front of the lake.
On Monday it was time to head home so we packed up the car but made one final stop at Northstar thinking there might be ice skating available. Unfortunately the visit was a bust because there was no ice skating and we were ripped off at the candy store. It was one of those places where you pull a lever and candy drops into a bag. My wife pulled the lever a little too hard and not only filled the bag to the brim but nearly spilled M&Ms all over the place. And this bag of M&Ms cost $26 which now is the record for the most we’ve ever spent on the least amount of candy.
While we were there the snow began to fall and I was worried about making it over the mountain passes should the roads become slick or the chance that they close them completely. Fortunately, the snowstorm didn’t last long and we made it over the most perilous parts without incident.
As I was driving I really admired the endless snow covered pine trees that completely draped the mountains for as far as they eye could see. It made me want hike through these majestic woods with perhaps only the sound of a small animal hopping through the snow to break the silence. On this trip I had learned that Lake Tahoe wasn’t inhabited until the 1800s except for perhaps a few small Indian tribes who came to trade with each other only in the past 300 years or so. To see the grandeur of Lake Tahoe, it’s uncountable, innumerable boulders and pines, and breathtaking mountain slopes leaves me awestruck. To further think that there was nobody here for most of history, only a few animals, makes me want to travel back in time and sit on a mountain ledge overlooking the lake in quiet meditation. I would sit in meditation from the end of the last ice age and watch the lake be formed while the melting ice released many ton boulders all over the landscape. I’d hear the wind rustling through the pines on a beautiful summer day just after I heard the snow falling off them as it began to melt at the end of winter. I’d notice the generations of bears as new ones are born while the aged ones die off in an endless pattern, repeating itself decade after decade and century after century.
I would welcome the Indians who come in spring to trade with their neighbors on the other side of the mountain range. They did not linger as winter was unforgiving. It would only be with the arrival of the first white man, who would go on to subsequently decimate the landscape that I would end my meditation and turn to the current year. A year which if I ride my mountain bike to a very remote part of the mountain trail and pause in thought; that I can repeat my journey and in a moment, experience thousands of years of solitude in the timeless landscape that is Lake Tahoe.