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Ben paddle boarding on his Surftech board near Bonsai Rock at sunset in Lake Tahoe.

Ben paddle boarding on his Surftech board near Bonsai Rock at sunset in Lake Tahoe.

When I arrived in Lake Tahoe at 11pm, even the remote campsites were all booked and there was traffic pouring into town for an festival I knew nothing about.  I did what I always end up doing.  I found a dirt road and followed it back into the wilderness in search of solitude.

I grew up in resort towns, they were the best place for my dad to sell his art.  These places market themselves as adventure hubs, putting billboards up across the country showing people skiing untracked powder and hiking in pristine forests.  The truth is that all this marketing brings the crowds, and if you’re in search of solitude, it takes a bit of research to find it in these places.

The reason I decided to spend a full week in Tahoe was because of the variety of adventures that are on offer.  I’d always wanted to climb the infamous “Lovers Leap” and the crystalline waters of the lake had been calling to me for years.

Ben hiking near Lovers Leap - Eagle Creek Pack

Ben hiking near Lovers Leap – Eagle Creek Pack

Tahoe wasn’t what I expected, but a new place never is.  There were certainly struggles, the worst being the fact that parking within a mile of the lake on the California side was impossible if you weren’t up at dawn.  I’d end up hiking paddle boards and camera gear through the brush, struggling under the load to reach the shoreline.  The Nevada coastline was much calmer, there are fewer towns, campgrounds, and parks, so it’s much easier to find a place to yourself.  The road also parallels the shoreline for the majority of the drive, so finding a place to walk down to the water was easy.

It took me a few days of this to start figuring out the best spots, and eventually I had a system worked out.  I would get up and hop in the creek to wake myself up, and head straight to the Lake before the wind picked up around noon.   Mornings are the best time to spend at the lake, because the water is calm and flat.  Once the wind starts, head back up into the mountains where it’s cooler to climb or hike.  Every day after going through this routine, I’d stop at a small waterfall along the way, rinsing off whatever dust and sweat had accumulated since I’d been in the lake.

This is how you bathe when spending a week in a tent.

This is how you bathe when spending a week in a tent.

Half of my week in Lake Tahoe was spent looking the best spots, the other half was spent in a daze, going from one adventure to the next.  Here’s a list of the best spots that I found while I was there, and the spots I’d be sure to include on any future Lake Tahoe trips.

 

 

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