Monday, July 28, 2014

Lake Tahoe- Emerald Bay from D.L. Bliss (Rubicon Trail)

This last weekend I was fortunate enough to venture my way over to South Lake Tahoe for some good ol' camping and hiking.  I stayed at D.L. Bliss campground which happened to have a couple trailheads at the beach parking lot.  Convenient, beautiful hikes are the best :) This was more of a walk in the park compared to the typical hiking I do, but that's just because of the lack of elevation gain.  The destination was Vikingholm at Emerald Bay.  If you've ever been to Emerald Bay, you will know what Vikingholm is.  It's a beautiful house on the bay that has unbelievable architecture.  It's state run now and they do tours.  They don't do tours of the Tea House in the middle of the bay though.  This "hike" was absolutely beautiful.  In the beginning there's a moderate incline with some stairs.  It has gorgeous lookouts of the lake and awesome boulders as well.  For the most part it's shaded but you should still wear sunscreen.  There are parts that dip down close to the water and a few "paths" that take you to the water.  The water is clear, cold, and very inviting, so bring a swimsuit incase you want to jump in. At one point of the trail it takes you to a small beach cove with lots of drift wood on the shore.  There were a few boats docked there.  At this point the trail veers away from the water and to the right.  At first I was very confused, and even disappointed that I wasn't walking next to the water anymore.  However, within a few minutes you are right back next to the water at Emerald Bay.  You will soon come to a boat/hike in only campground.  If you are fortunate enough to stay here, you will have a great view on an awesome campground.  If you are interested it's under boat in camp in Emerald Bay.  Also there's Eagle, but I believe that is closed til 2015.  Continue past the campground (watch for the Rubicon trail signs through the camp area so you stay on the trail) to get to Vikingholm.  If you'd like to continue on to Eagle Point, you can.  I believe it's a little over a mile further.  The tours of the house close at 4, so if you'd like to add that to your hike, then plan accordingly.  I started the trail at 4, so it wasn't very busy and most of the traffic had left the shore of Emerald.  There's a dock there you can jump off of, mostly covered with kids jumping off though.  There are restrooms located on the right of the house, if you need them, especially since the trail doesn't provide much privacy.

I hung out down at the bay for a while then headed back.  The trail is pretty smooth so I was able to run parts of it.  Note to self: don't eat tortilla chips and salsa an hour before a 9 mile hike…I felt a little sick the whole time which did not help me be able to run as much as I would have liked (but they were ohhh soooo gooood).  If you are a trail runner, this path is great.  Just don't trip in some areas, unless you are prepared for a cliff dive.  Speaking of which, when I first started the trail there are some lookout areas looking down.  I heard some guys yelling down below and a couple girls at the lookout laughing.  As I walked by, I looked down to see if there were guys cliff diving.  Well, I saw some guys, but they were swimming (they had just jumped off a rock into the water).  Then I thought, "hhmmmm…they have some really white swim trunks on.  And that's when I realized, they were nudey patooty! That was a good laugh to help me start my hike :D

This hike was great if you're struggling with inclines.  Don't get scared off in the beginning.  If you have any energy left on your way back, I recommend taking the lighthouse trail to the left about .3 miles from the trailhead (there will be a sign when the trail splits).  It's only .2 miles up (feels less than that) and then has a path that heads back to the parking lot going the other way.  The lighthouse isn't the best site to see, but it overlooks the lake and has some great boulders to climb on to get a better view.  This hike is more about endurance since it will be around 9+ miles roundtrip.  Don't forget to bring your camera since there will be some amazing views.  Enjoy!

My stats for the hike:
*9.1 miles total
*915 ft elevation gain
*3 hours 17 minutes (factor in time for walking around Vikingholm and checking it out)
*moderate (beginner, but due to length I think it qualifies as moderate)
*1,036 calories

Internet stats:
*9 miles
*200 feet (not sure why this is so much less than what my Strava said)
*"all day"

Eeny meeny miny moe! 

One of the beautiful views from trail. 

You can see how clear the lake is (bottom of pic).        
Funny boulder formations
Watch your head.  This stone could
knock you out. 

Emerald Bay from boat in campground. 

Tea House. Ya, I'd like a "tea house" that I can
 have my servant boat me out to twice a day for some tea :-/ 
Stunning architecture
Vikingsholm (you should read the history of it)

Emerald Bay.  You can see the Tea House in the center. 

The canal that goes into Emerald from the main lake. 

The small beach cove area right before the trail curves from the lake. 

View of Lake Tahoe.  I wouldn't mind waking up to this every day :) 

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