Spooner Lake, Nevada State Park

Happy Halloween! Yesterday, we decided to take a drive around Lake Tahoe and visit Spooner Lake Park which is part of the Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. We have had unseasonably warm weather for late October so we decided to enjoy the freedom to drive around Lake Tahoe without any snow restrictions. Our hope had been to see the Aspen trees in full color since the trees in Truckee are showing beautiful autumn colors. This park has one of the larger parking areas, flush toilets, two picnic areas and connects to the Tahoe Rim Trail which is popular with both day hikers and backpackers. This map shows Spooner Lake and the hiking trails nearby. Being a Friday during Covid-19, we were surprised at how many people had the same idea as us.
The Spooner Lake Loop trail is just over 2 miles and goes around the lake
We have a book of easy Lake Tahoe walks and it recommended that we take the counter clockwise route. It starts with views of the lake through the trees and then brings you closer to the lake. We saw a couple of fisherman floating in large tubes on the lake and many birds all along the walk. Many benches with beautiful views are scattered around the lake not far from the trail.
Our first view of the lake, with bare Aspin trees across the lake
We soon realized that we were too late for the orange and yellow leaves of the Aspen trees, but the lake and other trees and bushes still provided beautiful scenery.
The trail just up from the lake alternated between Aspen groves and large pine trees
Some of these trees were very old, the tree trunks were huge for Aspen. We soon realized that we wouldn’t have seen as many lake views if the leaves were still on the trees. Next year, we will go earlier in the season.
Soon we were walking along the beautiful lake shore.
Beautiful lake views with reflections
We then were back in the trees and enjoyed listening to various birds.
This pine tree was so large and the limbs come almost to the ground. It reminded me of an octopus reaching out.
We saw a lot of these little pine trees holding large pine cones. They had dropped into perfect places to look like the little trees had grown the pine cones
Shortly, we were at the earthen dam which enlarged this lake in the 1980’s. Here the trail is much wider and goes over the dam giving a lovely view of the lake. We met many walkers that were just coming from the parking lot to see the lake and go back. I recommend that you walk around the loop, it is easy and has rewarding views.
View from the dam
After our walk we continued on to the South Shore of Lake Tahoe. Picked up a great sandwich at The Cork and More in town and stopped for a picnic before continuing our drive around Lake Tahoe back to Truckee. We saw beautiful fall colors on the Aspin trees in South Shore and as we headed through the Camp Richardson area. So our search for Aspen tree autumn foliage was a success!
Beautiful trees with the back drop of 2016 forest fire damage in the background
We drove past Emerald Bay. From there we continued on past Meeks Bay Campground which has a wonderful beach but was closed for the season. Emerald Bay. Then back to Truckee.
Emerald Bay, an Oct 2019 photo with a dusting of snow
A wonderful day, beautiful weather and different scenery from our local daily walks.
Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki Start Hyw 89 series | Start Peru series | Start Galapagos series | Start Remodel series | Please add your email to ‘Follow this Blog‘ for updates. We never share your email. Interested in a vacation in Hawaii? Check out the units at SurfCondo.com

Autumn, goes so fast!

Fall slips up on us just when we think Summer is perfect.  Soon the warm days and evenings turn to the chilly mornings and cool evenings.  The colors and lack of crowds are nice, so here’s to October and great escapes!

Pacific Crest Trail near Sugar Bowl and Truckee

Our friends suggested that we try out the PCT trail section  from Sugar Bowl (Old Highway 40) to Boreal Ridge (Highway 80) by leaving a car at each end which is about 8 miles.  We just had one car with us so we started from near Sugar Bowl Academy and hiked in for a few miles and then back.  Beautiful scenery and lovely fall colors.


Looking down on Donner Lake, CA

Being a Tourist in San Francisco & Monterey Area

We had friends visit from Switzerland and Australia in October.  So we had a great time playing tourists with our friends.  We spent two days seeing the San Francisco sights, one day using BART and public transit and the other day driving.

First in San Francisco, we took a walking tour with Emperor Norton’s Walking Tours that started at Union Square and ended at St. Mary’s Cathedral.  About 3 hours, great fun and wonderful guide.  Highly recommend this or one of their other tours!


One of the many SF Heart Sculptures, this in Union Square, painted by Tony Bennett


Emperor Norton at the Clock at the Westin, St. Francis, San Francisco

After our tour we visited St. Mary’s and then walked up to North Beach.  We stopped for a snack at The Stinking Rose.  We sat at the bar with model trains above the bar.  We also took a look at the Chianti Room which is reserved for groups and has many signed photos and empty Chianti wine bottles.

Washington Square in North Beach was full of beautiful sunshine and everyone seemed to be enjoying the clear skies.

Just the day before the sky was filled with smoke from all the Northern California fires before the wind changed.  Our hearts go out to all those affected by the fires.  Our other visitor from Australia was with friends in Clear Lake and had also been evacuated but luckily they were able to return home safely.


Beach Blanket Babylon show-this way

We ended the day attending the evening production of Beach Blanket Babylon.  The longest running musical revue in San Francisco which changes every season and is truly a delightful show.
We had dinner at a lovely restaurant in North Beach, Trattoria Contadina

More San Francisco sights

Another day we drove so that we could come up from Pacifica, CA along the Pacific Coast Highway to visit Ocean Beach, the Cliff House, Sutro Baths, Golden Gate Park, the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco.  Then drive across the Golden Gate Bridge to Fort Baker at Horseshoe Cove in Marin County.  The day was foggy along the coast but beautiful sunshine in parts of  Golden Gate Park and at Fort Baker.


Sutro Baths near the Cliff House

Golden Gate Park


Wind Mill at Golden Gate Park, Maggi, Vicki & Chrissy


Conservatory of Flowers, Golden Gate Park


Dahlia Garden in Golden Gate Park

Flowers in the Conservatory

The Butterfly Exhibit was open and we were able to see many different butterflies emerge and fly in the exhibit.



Palace of Fine Arts.

A lovely part of San Francisco to walk around.  You can see the nicest houses near the Palace of Fine Arts.


Palace of Fine Arts

We drove over the Golden Gate Bridge in complete fog but were rewarded with some nice views from Fort Baker.


The Golden Gate Bridge


The fog moving in from the coast to Fort Baker

On to Monterey Bay…

We had the luxury of staying at a friends condo in Capitola, CA so we had time to visit Santa Cruz, Monterey, and Carmel before our friends headed home.  We drove Highway 1 from Half Moon Bay to Santa Cruz.  On our way we stopped in at Duarte’s in Pescadero, CA.

In Santa Cruz we walked the beautiful walkway along the ocean and enjoyed watching the surfers.  The Boardwalk amusements were quiet since it was a week day and late October.


Seagull with Santa Cruz Boardwalk in background


Natural Bridges State Park, near Santa Cruz

Both Santa Cruz and Monterey are on Monterey Bay, which is a very large bay.  While Santa Cruz is know for beaches and the Boardwalk, Monterey is steeped in California history.  It has a large pier area, beaches, the Monterey Bay Aquarium, Cannery Row and a lot to keep you busy.


Monterey Bay Piers

We had lunch at the Fish Hopper which is the restaurant below.  Back when we did SCUBA diving in Monterey regularly it was called the Outrigger.  Still great food and even better views.  We watched the sea otters all during lunch.


Monterey Bay

Capitola, a beautiful town that keeps the quaint seaside village feel near the beach and offers upscale shopping and dining in town.


Capitola Houses near the beach


Capitola Art Deco apartments

Don’t miss Gayles Bakery if you go to Capitola; it has the most wonderful cakes, pastries and sweets!

Back to Truckee

We love the coast, but we also took our friends to two new hiking areas near us that were just beautiful with the fall colors.

Weber Lake was recently opened to the public in June 2017 by the Truckee Donner Land Trust.  A beautiful natural lake that offers camping, hiking trails and boating on the lake during the summer months.  We hiked the Lacey Meadow trail and then up onto the forest service road to have a view of the lake on the way back.


Lacey Meadows


Weber Lake thru the trees

Independence Lake is another recently opened area that is just beautiful.  We hiked the South Side trail and it was filled with fall foliage and views of the lake.  An easy hike with a picnic table at the lookout point to enjoy lunch.  The map looks like you can go all the way around the lake but they prefer that you don’t as it is a fish breeding area for Lahontan cutthroat trout and crossing the creek can disturb the hatchery.

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View as you enter lake area

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Trail views of lake


Fall leaves

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Independence Lake

So, as you can see, we have had a busy fall.  Loved having our friends choose to visit us from opposite ends of the globe and share time with us.

Until the next time – be adventurous and enjoy this short life! Vicki and Bob

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