Lake Tahoe

June 19 - 20, 1999

Dave Svilar

After a horrendous academic year of all chemistry classes I inexplicably chose to spend my summer in a lab.  Luckily it was in Reno, which is more known for its gambling, but to me, provided a host of new outdoor adventures.  I arrived expecting to meet other people from the area who enjoyed getting outdoors.  The grant I received pared me with a graduate student in chemistry who was to show me the ropes on how to achieve a doctorate in chemistry.  These grants were given to undergrads who showed an outstanding likelihood to succeed in doctoral programs in chemistry.  Of course I didn't have much chemistry on my mind, so my first question to my grad student mentor did not involve the Schrodinger Equation or thermodynamics.

"So Andres, what is Tahoe like?"

I have never been to Lake Tahoe," replied Andres, "I have been to lab every day for past three year."

Obviously I wasn't going to get any recreational pointers from my mentor, so when my first weekend in Reno came around I set off without a plan.  Early Saturday morning I left for the beach on the east end of Lake Tahoe.  After my excursion at the beach I wanted to find a place to watch the sunset over the lake.  I pulled off the highway that heads back towards Reno and Mt. Rose after spotting a high point that would provide optimal sunset viewing.  There was no trail, which made things slow as I crossed a creek and bush-whacked up towards my intended ridge.  Two hours later, after reaching the ridge there was a perfect sand platform in which to pitch my tent. 

From the rocks above my platform I could stare straight down on Incline Village, the highway, and the sunset above the lake.  This was the first time I had ever spent the night alone in the wilderness and to be honest, I was a little nervous.  I had heard all the stories about cougars and bears in the Sierras and was sure one was lurking outside my tent.  These thoughts dominated my night, so naturally I was glad to see the sunrise the next morning.

I made the quick descent back to the Maxima and returned to Reno and my advisor who had predictably spent the weekend screwing up experiments in the lab.

Perfect spot for a tent.


Self portrait of myself in the same spot I watched the sunset near the tent.


Looking down from camp on Incline Village and the Nevada side of Lake Tahoe.

-written December 2002 -----

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