Tessie, Was That You?

Up for a dip or a polar plunge? Then, please join me … Tahoe bound, about a two- and half-hour (if I don’t stop for pics, Twix, and everything betwixt) refreshing, spellbinding drive from here up to the snowcapped, mysterious, legendary mountains. This is the exact air the angel’s breath; crisp, clean, and divinely fresh! Of course, we’ll try and avoid potholes, wipe-outs, cliffhangers, mudslides, avalanches, bears, big foot, underwater graveyards, and the mob. Since we’re going, keep an eye-out for Tahoe’s Tessie! Surrounded by nature’s magnificence and pure magic, infinite blue skies, navy and turquoise swirls, trees that are evergreen, underwater, and evermore. We’ll embark on a quest for sheer leisure, wonderment, and awe-inspiring ancient majesty.

“Son, when a man knows something, deep down in his heart, when he really knows, he doesn’t have to argue about it, doesn’t have to prove it. Just knowing, that’s enough. ” (Bonanza!)

“Lake Tahoe is a freshwater lake in the Sierra Nevada of the United States. Lying at 6,225 ft above sea level, it straddles the state line between California and Nevada, west of Carson City. Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in North America. It trails only the five Great Lakes as the largest by volume in the United States. Its depth is 1,645 ft (501 m), making it the second deepest in the United States after Crater Lake in Oregon (1,949 ft or 594 m).”

“Lake Tahoe’s depth is enough to cover the Wilshire Grand Center, Salesforce Tower, Transamerica Pyramid, and the Empire State Building.”

“The lake was formed about two million years ago as part of the Lake Tahoe Basin, and its modern extent was shaped during the ice ages. It is known for the clarity of its water and the panorama of surrounding mountains on all sides.” (Props Wikipedia, weddings, New Year’s, gambling feens, lounge lizards, round-the-clock buffet’s, heart rock, triple diamonds, slot tournaments, time travelers (historians and Native Americans), time-shares, and elevators that are “top’s” too top of the world.)

Washoe tradition indicates their homeland has always included Lake Tahoe, without reference to migrations from other worlds, as is common in other cultures. The Washoe were first to name Lake Tahoe simply “the Lake,” just as locals do today. Da ow ga, the Washoe word for “lake” is thought to be the source for “Tahoe.”

“Water temperature in Lake Tahoe today is 44.8°F. Based on historical data over a period of ten years, the warmest water on this day in Lake Tahoe was recorded in 2022 and was 48.7°F, and the coldest was recorded in 2013 at 41.9°F. The average surface temperature in Lake Tahoe ranges from 42 degrees Fahrenheit in the winter to 70 degrees in the summer.” So, you’re saying, too cold for laps today!

“14-year-old James Savage became the youngest person to swim the length of Lake Tahoe. He covered the 21.3 miles in about 12 hours while his mom, Jillian, kayaked alongside him.” (August, 2021, travelandleisure.com)

“The lake may experience below-freezing weather with some parts like the Emerald Bay getting covered by a layer of ice but despite the chill, its main body never completely freezes. This in part is accounted for by the sheer size of the lake itself, and its volume-to-surface ratio relative to the temperature and the length of the winter.”

“As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.” “The air up there in the clouds is very pure and fine. Bracing and delicious. And why shouldn’t it be? ” (Thank you, Mark Twain!)

“One of the interesting facts about Lake Tahoe is that in the unlikely scenario that the water is drained and poured, the amount of water in it, all 39 trillion gallons, is enough to cover a flat area the size of the entire state of California to a depth of 14 inches!” (Shout-out cheftravelguide.com, math, ancient history, geography, and enormous improbabilities.)

“Not every lake dreams to be an ocean. Blessed are the ones who are happy with whom they are. A normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.” (Stunning words and thought-provoking notions by Mehmet Murat ildan)

“It is believed that Nessie’s “cousin” Tessie lives here. It’s probably because of how large, deep, and seemingly isolated the lake is but according to popular Lake Tahoe Folklore dating back to the days of Native Americans in the area, a large monster similar to that of Loch Ness lives beneath East Shore’s Cave Rock. The Native Americans revered this creature and considered it sacred. Artifacts from over 10,000 years ago confirmed the presence of the Washoe Native Americans at Lake Tahoe. Even to this day, sightings are still being reported.” Hence the reason for this story and day trip.

The average South Lake Tahoe home value is $652,362, down 7.6% over the past year.
Lake Tahoe hotels range from $78 to $355 per night with an average of $105, while most vacation rentals will cost $320 to $1060 per night for the entire home. What you take with you are memories at the lake that will last forever and for everything else there’s someone’s master card, maybe over here, probably over there, and most definitely on-line everywhere.

I guess, now is as good a time as any, for a quick “dip” down memory lane, not that many moons ago, but on a much warmer day, and that’s just my father plowing through the water. Avid swimmers and maybe that’s just the Scandinavian Viking talking, but “jump in, the water’s great”! My father was a huge proponent for the sport, and, “Sport”, I’ve inherited the water baby trait, genetically speaking as well. A hearty helpin’.

“Fly away on my zephyr
I feel it more than ever
And in this perfect weather
We’ll find a place together.”

One gloriously beautiful day, my father dove in the vast blue oasis for a mile out or more swim. The sun does shine for Lake Tahoe 75% of the year, so them pickin’s good! He’d like to swim out a few miles, ensuring to keep his physique at prime peak ability and block out or “cash-out” the hoopla of casino life. Not much of a fisherman, if ever, more an introvert (book nerd) and absolutely no hunting, trespassing, loitering or littering tolerated or permitted in his presence. He was a surveyor for the state at that time, and Lake Tahoe a far cry from the Texas and Oklahoma heat. Really paradise! Actually, we’ll chat about Paradise, California another day of writing about Christmas weddings, Pearl Jam, trucks, Snow White’s house, and devastating raging infernos.

Crystal Blue Persuasion

He said it was serene and peaceful, while he waded on the lake those miles out. Some say the lake is so clear, one can see objects maybe 70 feet or more in its depths. “Actual scientific measurements of Lake Tahoe’s clarity started in 1968 using a 10-inch white disk called a Secchi disk. The disk is dropped into the water using a line and measurement is taken when the disk is no longer visible. During that time, it was recorded that the disk was visible to a depth of over 100 feet. Nowadays, measurements fluctuate between 60-70 feet.”

“The mission of the organization founded in 1957 is pure and simple: to protect Lake Tahoe for many generations to come and to keep Tahoe blue.”

Swimming along and oblivious to what lies beneath, Dad felt something grating, abrasive, rough, or considered “scratchy”, rub against his side, out in the water, completely alone. Said, “Couldn’t “see” exactly what it was, and didn’t want to stop swimming.” “Not like I could investigate, and God only knew what this unknown creature was, but it took up the entire length of my side!” “It had mass!” Dad’s height was 6’2, but he had long extremities, so adding that to his height, possibly ten feet.

“Lake Tahoe is one of the purest water lakes in the world, with the water coming in at 99.994% pure (this is close to distilled water that is 99.998% pure).”

Didn’t get a good look at his “grazer”, in the grips of a full existential crisis, “brush” with the unknown, spiked his adrenaline levels to optimum speed and swam like never before! As if jaws were nipping at his toes. Survived the excursion or encounter of the watery abyss exhausted, bewildered, and relieved. Later after the entire ordeal, from the comforts of shore, and a shower, ascertained it was greyish and there were ridges. Being from the south, for all Dad knew, could have been a monster, ancient creature, Nessie or Tessie, but more likely than not a sturgeon.

Sturgeons are the most endangered species group on earth. These gentle giants have been around since the age of the dinosaurs but are now on the brink of extinction due to overfishing, a flourishing illegal caviar trade and many other “fishy” factors.

“Sturgeon is the common name for the 28 species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae. The earliest sturgeon fossils date to the Late Cretaceous, and are descended from other, earlier acipenseriform fish, which date back to the Early Jurassic period, some 174 to 201 million years ago.” (Source: Wikipedia)

“Ok, let’s face it: even the most inexpensive sturgeon caviar is still going to be expensive. You should expect to spend at least $50 to $75 for 30 grams (1 ounce)—enough caviar to make a few good bites for two people. But the prices can get astronomically high. The Special Reserve Ossetra from Petrossian runs at $12,000 a kilo, or $378 for a 30-gram tin.” (Source seriouseats.com and that’s beyond serious!)

Meanwhile, on the other side of the pond, “Sturgeons were declared to be a royal fish under a statute dating back to 1324 by King Edward II of England. Technically, the British monarchy still owns all sturgeons, whales, and dolphins that inhabit the waters around England and Wales. Under the law of the United Kingdom, any sturgeons captured within the realm are personal property of the monarch.”

“Oh beautiful Lake Tahoe, so deep and blue with your breathtaking vistas, glistening waterfalls and wild flowers, too. As I walk your shores with air so fresh and sweet and the feel of pine needles beneath my feet; whitecaps forming on your waters from winds blowing swift and true; for surely God spared nothing when creating you.”

My inner “Cousteau”, I call her Jackee (shout out to 227) wants nothing more than to keep exploring Lake Tahoe forevermore. Every nook, crevice, cave, and cranny. There’s so much we don’t know or understand, but can all agree, Tahoe is on another level of impressive and otherworldly places to visit. Plan on mystifying trails, unbelievable views, mythology with symbology, superhuman slopes, Olympic mountains, and elements of epic proportions. If like-minded, I will leave you to ponder Jacques Cousteau’s quote, “The world isn’t ready for what was down there.” Or is it?

“Ooh, baby, do you know what that’s worth?
Ooh, Heaven is a place on Earth
They say in Heaven, love comes first
We’ll make Heaven a place on Earth”
(Love you Belinda Carlisle)

The ether cannot hold water, so by all means take a mega bite of Tahoe with you. You’ve got to see it, to believe it! Tread lightly and just know Heaven is a real place on Earth. Oh, and lest I forget, hope to see you, skiing top the mountain this 4th of July!

“I thought taking a job as a ski instructor would be great. But it really went downhill fast.”

Published by SiriusSea

Many moons ago and in a faraway land, I used to write about all things wonderous to the world and I am back to stir the seven seas of wonderment once more. As the storms pass through, I set my compass and my sights upon and beyond Sirius Sea! Welcome aboard!

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