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Lake Tahoe 2006 Trip

Day 2 of 3

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Saturday, October 21st
Fallen Leaf Lake, Highway 395 drive

After breakfast, we stopped by the grocery store to pick up sandwiches for lunch and headed over to Fallen Leaf Lake. We wanted to just relax today, so I figured we could see a few aspens and relax by the lake for a while.

Eastern shore of Fallen Leaf Lake

Most of the area was past peak was far as fall colors go. Still, there were a few patches of yellow aspens near the lake. It was a beautiful day for relaxing by the lake, as the temperature was probably around 70 degrees, clear skies, and no wind. The lake was beautiful, and several people took advantage of the weather by bringing their dogs to play. We saw at least a half dozen different dogs, many of them swimming far into the lake.

A hint of fall colors at Fallen Leaf Lake

Fall colors on the far side of Fallen Leaf Lake

After our picnic at the lake, we took a long scenic drive in search of fall colors. From the lake, we headed south along Highway 89. Close to the intersection with Highway 88, we passed a large section with muted yellows, oranges, and reds. I'd stopped here at least twice before in seasons past, but this time it was past peak so we kept going.

We turned left onto Highway 88. The area at Crystal Springs Road looked nice, with a few photographers in the area, but we kept going, then turned right onto 89 south. We saw pockets of nice color here and there (mostly yellow aspens), but nothing really worth stopping for.

At the intersection with Highway 4, we turned left again to head up over Monitor Pass. I'd never driven this way before, so I was pleasantly surprised by the outstanding views heading down from the pass. This was definitely worth a stop, and I took a few pictures.

View from near Monitor Pass

View from near Monitor Pass

Then it was right onto Highway 395, and straight on to Bridgeport. I never did reach Conway Summit, which is supposed to have great colors. It's between Bridgeport and Mono Lake, but I read that it was past peak anyway by this time. So maybe next year. We turned around because it was getting late and we had a long drive back. We took 395 back the way we came, all the way up to Gardnerville and then over Kingsbury Grade. We saw huge mansions on the Nevada side just as we began the climb.

So, I don't have any great fall color photos to show you (basically, arrived too late). But I highly recommend at least parts of the drive we did. We did the whole drive (starting from Fallen Leaf Lake and ending in South Lake Tahoe) in a little under 4 hours, including a stop for gas and some pictures. So you can probably do it in 3 1/2 without stopping. But I'm sure you'll want to stop.

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