I'm gonna meet you there
The morning light brings with it a new atmosphere as we lie in bed. It's something like the particular light that snow brings. We stretch our legs and pad over to the window and pull back the curtains to reveal a deep azure-blue expanse of water, directly beneath the cornflower sky and hugged by jagged jade pine trees. It’s the picture on all the postcards. Our excitement bubbles up and we rush to get ready to head out and take a big fat gulp of that goodness.
We’re only here for two nights so this is our only full day to explore – plenty of time to drive around the sixty-eight mile loop round the lake. We make our way to a local log-cabin café for breakfast, ending up with some garlic-heavy version of gravy and biscuits mixed with eggs benedict. Stephen manages better with it than me as I stick to my bowl of coffee. We savour the sharp pine in the air before we climb into the car.
Our hotel is right on the edge of the lake so in no time at all we’re coasting higher and higher up the south-west side of the lake towards our first stop-off. Signs around our parking spot remind us to remove all traces of food so the bears don’t try (and succeed) to break in to our car. I have a flutter in my tummy as we get out and can’t resist having a quick swatch around for paw tracks. What would we do if we saw a bear?
The view that greets us as we head over to the information post stops us in our tracks. Azure blue stretches for miles – up into the sky and down into the lake. A golden streak of sandy beach curves around the west side, graduating into bright turquoise shallows. They call it Emerald bay. I wonder who lives in the secluded mansion which nestles into the base of the trees. We thought the Muir Woods smelled incredible – but they’ve just been one-upped by Tahoe. The intensity of pine is heady and intoxicating. We stand for a long while just breathing it in and looking out from our perch.
Stephen spots a point of interest on the map just a short drive from where we are so we decide to go and explore. The sound reaches us before we see it – like distant thunder which crashes over us as we climb over the rocks towards it. Eagle Falls sends tonnes of water rushing hundreds of feet to the lake below our feet. We scrabble down the rock face to get a closer look. The view out over the bay through the redwoods is stunning.
We remind ourselves we have a lot still to look at so we take our last deep breaths and head back to the car. Having checked earlier in the morning I know there’s a highly rated gluten-free friendly bakery on the north-west side of the lake. Thank goodness for our Gluten-Free app – we’ve planned most of our meals using this. Sugar Pine Cakery does not disappoint. We end up with a box-full of the precious goodies and can’t resist grabbing a cuppa to enjoy a couple outside before we head off again. These cakes were testament that gluten-free can really be just as good. They don’t have plans to come to Edinburgh – yet.
We stop frequently to take it all in, making it back to the South end just before sunset. After a quick dinner we take a slow stroll down to the docks and along the beach, marveling at the contrast between the inky landscape and watercolour sky.
The bulb-strung restaurant/bar just off the shore catches our eyes in the darkening light and we decide to check it out. A country-music band are setting up in the outdoor patio for a session, so we get a drink and settle ourselves by the fire-pit. The soft glow from the fire and the string-lights reflect from the polished surface of a double-bass and cello, perched in front of the deepening sky.
The music is relaxed and heart-felt and once again we find ourselves wonderfully at ease – and completely in the hands of the American Dream.