I dialed the number of a small hostel in Tahoe. It’s a business that doesn’t accept credit cards to save on fees, so to reserve a room you need to be there. I explained to the kind woman that I was in Sacramento and would not be able to get there before 7 PM when they close the office. That was not a problem. She left the door open with the key of my room at the front desk, and we would talk about money the next day. I thought to myself “are there still places like that in this world?”
I arrived in North Tahoe Lake at night. I looked around and found the little hostel. The door was open indeed. There was a cozy fireplace with couches and cushions; a bookshelf with used books and a guitar leaned in the base. The front desk was a little wood fitment. Over it, a note with my name and the keys. Next morning the young woman welcomed me and showed a big loaf of bread that she just baked to share. I had not seen the lake yet, but I was already in love with the place.
I have been dreaming on Lake Tahoe almost all my life. There was a documentary that hooked me up, so many years ago that I can’t remember. But since then I had this obsession of touching the lake. I did it finally at the point of Sand Harbor. No calendar picture can prepare you for the heavenly beauty of the water twisting the shape of rocks on the surface and blowing little flakes of copper between them. It’s so transparent that you can submerge to the neck and still see the nails on your feet. You can also swim between rocks that form natural pools beside the pines. Some brave fishes will come tickling if you stand still.
The water is so blue that it looks like the eyes of the world. Regardless of your theological convictions, this is for itself a religious experience.
The spark of the sun over the waves, the shadow of the sailboats and the crest of the mountains are almost too much beauty to assimilate in a single view.
The effect of this landscape on people is amazing. Everybody is smiling and greeting strangers as they pass by. I can’t find ugly people here, maybe because my mood has been elevated to a state of contemplation.
At night I went to the local bar and I was treated as if I was a member of the family coming back from a long trip. How you leave a place like this?