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Lake Tahoe lies on the border of California and Nevada. Many people only associate Lake Tahoe with the State Of California, while casually regarding the Nevada coastline as only being a small section of the lake where a few casinos are located. When looking at a map it is easy to see that nearly half of this ancient body of water actually is on the Nevada side of the line.
Fortunately, most folks look upon Lake Tahoe as an entity of its own accord and the border lines on a map are meaningless. This is because Lake Tahoe boasts some of the most beautiful panoramic landscapes on earth!
Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park offers plenty of unspoiled wilderness areas in the Spooner Backcountry. The Spooner Backcountry stretches from Carson City to the high elevation overlooks, where visitors can catch their first glimpse of Lake Tahoe far below. Even when viewing Lake Tahoe from a distant mountain overlook, it is easy to catch a feeling that there is something special about this lake. While negotiating the twisting roads downhill, the feeling changes to an anticipation of grandeur as one gets closer to the water. It is like Lake Tahoe has some kind of a captivating power that overwhelms the senses of all who are drawn to this place.
After arriving at the water's edge, the majestic beauty of Lake Tahoe leaves visitors speechless. The towering snow capped Sierra Nevada Mountains surround the vast lake with dense pine forests and interesting rock outcrops. The high altitude of this region yields crystal clear blue skies with cotton clouds that drift overhead. There is no smog to interfere with the view and it is easy to see for miles across the water. In this respect, Lake Tahoe is a photographer's paradise.
Lake Tahoe was formed during a recent ice age and many remnants of this lost ancient period of time are retained in this present day. The water clarity is superb and the blue color is noticeable even as close as five feet from the rocky shore.
Lake Tahoe is nearly 3 miles deep. The water temperature in this deep abyss is icy cold. The combination of ice cold deep water and complete oxygen depletion presents geophysical attributes that fascinate the scientific community.
Basically any living organism that sinks to the bottom of Lake Tahoe will be preserved for all eternity. This fact spawns many tales of paranormal activity, like rumors of hordes of living zombies walking on the bottom of the lake. There are tales of well preserved corpses grabbing unsuspecting deepwater divers and not letting go of their victims, till they drown and become deepwater zombies themselves.
There actually is some substance to the paranormal rumors, but the deepwater zombie fantasy is not part of the reality of it all. Mummified ancient Native Americans have been brought up from the bottom of Lake Tahoe to the surface in the recent past. The bodies of Chinese slave laborers that were dumped in the lake over 100 years ago have been discovered too. Even a few cadavers that local Mafia members disposed of have been found in the middle of Lake Tahoe. Because the oxygen depleted ice water preserved the mob victims like mummies, cold case crime scene investigators took notice.
Nobody knows for sure just how many hundreds or thousands of bodies lie on the bottom of Lake Tahoe. Because of advances in modern deepwater exploration technology, cameras show that there are plenty of preserved corpses in the depths, so there is factual matter that feeds the Lake Tahoe zombie rumor mill. Thoughts of this subject seem to naturally occur when staring into the blue water and this adds to the mystique of this unique place.
Anyway, there is no use getting hung up on eerie weird zombie thoughts when visiting Lake Tahoe, because the scenery is so majestic. Experiencing the beauty of Lake Tahoe is much easier to do than trying to convey the Lake Tahoe experience. Lake Tahoe has always been a weird wild place and it always will be this way.
When visiting the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe it is always good to keep in mind that the weather can change without warning. The Sierra Nevada Mountains can be very unforgiving, just like the old Donner Party story goes.
During the spring and autumn seasons blizzard conditions at high elevations can occur even though the low elevation temperatures are 75ºF. I visited Lake Tahoe on such a day and the return trip over the mountain to Carson City was not easy. At about 8,000 feet above sea level the sleet and snow was coming down thick without warning. With no snow chains, my Dodge Hemi Challenger was sliding all over the road. These weather conditions certainly result in a white knuckled ride, because in Nevada there are very few guard rails on the mountain roads and the view through the passenger window of the steep slopes is an awful long way down!
Yes, Lake Tahoe is a great destination for beating the summertime heat. The mountains surrounding Lake Tahoe are also a winter sports paradise during the cooler months. Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park offers plenty of outdoor activities year round. All I can say is that Lake Tahoe is a place that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime, so get up and go!