“The world isn’t ready for what’s down there,” Jacques Cousteau whispered as he emerged from its icy depths. Castoff mobsters of the 1920s have stood in cement boots at its bottom, their pinstriped suits today perfectly preserved by the lake’s cold. Beneath its surface are stories, frozen in waters that never freeze.
There is no record of Jacques Cousteau ever having visited Lake Tahoe, no images splayed across the internet of an army of abandoned bodies surfacing, but there are stories, and like the fish that is caught but never seen, they’re this big.
Born sunburned in an Australian autumn, I’ve since been inverted north. To me, still learning the language of cold, winter is synonymous with a Dickensian chill, a Danish Snow Queen, a Robert Frost-ed icy threat and a song.
Last year, as winter fell (it falls while spring blossoms), Kate Bush released an album, 50 Words for Snow. I bought it as though it were a phrasebook.
“Lake Tahoe,” she sings.
I’m suitably chilled.
Months later, on a weekend when nine feet of snow have dropped in North Tahoe, we pack away our skis and take the chains from our tires as we arrive into Tahoe City and to a lake so beautiful it hardly seems capable of inspiring such unsettling tales.
“This is home to a siren fish, a bird hungry for the flesh of humans and a plesiosaur we call Tahoe Tessie,” a local says (with a twinkle in her eye) while in line in a coffee shop overlooking Lake Tahoe.
We nurse soy cocoa and breakfast on Tofutti schmeared bagels in the reflection of the lake. We skip flat stones across its surface and fear not its inhabitants (real or imagined).
Because what you see in Lake Tahoe’s depths is the reflection of a smiling face and a winter worth returning to. And winter, away from Dickens and Frost and Hans Christian Andersen, at Lake Tahoe, is just that little bit perfect.
North Lake Tahoe is a 45-minute drive from the Reno Tahoe International Airport, two hours from Sacramento International Airport and just over three hours from San Francisco International Airport. For lodging reservations, recreation and event details, call North Lake Tahoe at 1-877-949-3296 or visit www.GoTahoeNorth.com. Visitor information centers are located at 380 North Lake Boulevard in Tahoe City and 969 Tahoe Boulevard in Incline Village.
All images appear courtesy of North Lake Tahoe Resort Association ©Jeff Dow and www.inmytincan.com.
Monday, 16 April 2012
A lake for all seasons: North Tahoe in winter
Source = e-Travel Blackboard: Gaya Avery