Sunday, April 03, 2016

March 10, part 2 -- driving to Lake Tahoe


As you recall from my last Nevada post, on March 10 we rented a car and drove to Lake Tahoe.  Just look at that excellent Nevada sky......

There are several ways to get to Lake Tahoe, and which one you take probably depends on which part of the lake you wish to visit.  The lake is big, and getting around it might be considered non-trivial by some.  Especially when it's not summer, and parts of the road around the lake may be blocked by snow.  Or rock/mud slides......

We took 431, which looked twisty and turny, and which (we rightly surmised) might be more scenic.

Note the map has topographical markings, as well as political -- we can see the border between California and Nevada.  I had not realized that most of Lake Tahoe is in California, nor that the place where the western border between the two takes its eastward turn is in the lake.

I was charmed to learn we were going to get to visit California on this trip. 

Reno is in a bowl.  It's on relatively flat land, surrounded by mountains.  Interstate 580 is relatively flat.

As you can see if you look closely at the map above, the terrain traversed by 431 is ... mountainous.

There wasn't much traffic when we went up (and down) 431.  We were generally the "slow vehicle."

Forest!  When you hear of wildfires in Nevada, and you think "???" -- this may be what they are talking about.

I know nothing about Nevada microclimates, but it seems to be the case that the land is moister, up high.  Trees grow up here, but not at lower elevations.

There were lots of stunning views from up here.  Unfortunately the turnouts for slow vehicles and the stunning views rarely coincided, so it was hard to get pics.

Note there is snow on the ground......

Here's one of the few places where a turnout had a view.


Another turnout with a view.


Higher and higher.  Wow, eh?

A closer crop of the lower right of the above.  We were lucky -- the roads were clear on the 10th.  A few days later, "chains or snow tires" were required up here, according to local road reports we saw on tv.  In Michigan they don't close the roads because of snow, nor do they require chains or snow tires.  This is one of those "Toto, I don't think we are in Kansas (or Michigan) any more" moments.............

There was a non-trivial amount of snow on the ground.

I didn't get pics, but I saw something I'd never seen before.  Snow that rolled down the mountainside, making not snowballs, but snowdisks.  The ones I saw had rolled in a straight line, so the snow added to the outside of the original fallen chunk of snow wrapped around it in one dimension.  The ones I saw were the size and shape of car tires.  Solid disks of snow, standing on one edge...........  I could see the line of picked-up snow they left on the hillside.

Here we are up so high we are nearly in the clouds.

Coming down.  Our first glimpse of Lake Tahoe.

Closer crop of the above.  See the lake above the lowest treetops?

Lake Tahoe is gorgeous...........



Jeanie said...

Wow -- all that elevation and snow! Must have been nippy up there! But some fabulous color in those blue skies (haven't seen those around here lately!). Interesting following the climate!

I need orange said...

We didn't get out of the car, hardly at all, as we traversed the mountains. Once or twice, in a "turnout for slow vehicles". I was busy taking pics, and don't tend to notice the cold when I'm involved with choosing what to take pics of.... :-)

It must have been cold, with all that snow on the ground, but I didn't notice. :-)