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Lake Tahoe October 2001

Day 1 of 2

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Saturday, October 27th
Kit Carson Campground, Taylor Creek

Jean and I left the Bay Area at about 8:30am, reaching Carson Pass at about noon. On the drive in, there were splashes of color, but nothing really worth stopping for. At Carson Pass there's a large parking lot with an information center. I'd driven by several times before, but never stopped. We walked inside and found lots of maps and other info like flower identification charts, history of the area, winter activity info. There's a ranger there to answer any questions you may have.

We stopped briefly at the Frog Lake trailhead. We were meeting a friend soon, so we didn't have enough time to do the hike now, but we hoped to do it the next day. Instead, we continued on the drive up and over the pass.

Hope Valley has some of the best color in the area. We saw mostly yellows, but a few oranges and reds. Unfortunately, many of the trees in the area were bare, having shed their leaves in the wind. Perhaps a week or two ago would have been better. Still, there were some patches here and there which still had most of their leaves.

Yellow and brown leaves

We made a brief stop at the Kit Carson Campground. We walked down into the deserted campground (closed for winter) and were happy when we saw lots of color near the bottom. Not quite as good as when I'd been there two years earlier, but still nice.

Jean looking colorful herself

Returning to the car, we made the short drive back up to Sorensen's resort, where we had lunch and waited for our friend to arrive. The lunch was pretty good, but don't expect fast service -- it's a very small dining area and you may have to wait for a table (we sat at a shared table to speed things up).

Yellowing aspens

Our friend Nancy and her friend Chad arrived just as we were finishing up. The four of us went to Kit Carson Campground where we enjoyed the colors and the gusting winds blowing the leaves through the air and on the ground.

Nancy, Chad, and Jean along the campground road

We then continued driving on Highway 88/89, to approximately where the trailhead for Horsethief Canyon is. We never did find the trailhead, but instead hopped rocks along the west fork of the Carson River.

Nancy making a flying leap

Driving back up 89 toward Tahoe, we stopped at a small turnout on the left side of the road. It's not signed from the roadway, but if you walk in a bit, you'll see it's something like the Hope Valley wildlife area. There's lots of beautiful color right alongside the roadway at this point. We walked down from the road and into a nice stand of aspens. A woman was just finishing a beautiful painting of the area. I asked her if I could take a picture of her and her artwork, and she granted me permission.

Coincidentally, this may have been the same person who we'd seen painting two years earlier

Leaves on the ground

Jean holding up some of the leaves

A look above at the towering aspens

After playing around in the aspens, we drove over to Fallen Leaf Lake. It looked like most of the trees there were bare, so we continued onto Taylor Creek. The colors here weren't nearly as good as two years earlier -- the remaining leaves were yellow, but it was mostly bare. We walked toward the creek and were met with an incredible stench. Dead salmon (expired after spawning) made it hard to breathe. There were still quite a few live salmon, however, trying to make their way upstream. Large crowds of red salmon slowly made their attempts, one by one, up the creek. They were quite impressive.

Salmon in Taylor Creek


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