This past weekend was a quarantine first for us: we packed our bags and headed out of San Francisco for the first time since the start of the pandemic for a weekend in Lake Tahoe.
Tahoe is one of my favorite, go-to weekend spots in California – I’ve lived in SF for 3 years now and this was my 9th time visiting the lake! But given the COVID restrictions in California, we opted to drive a little further to the northern Nevada side where businesses were (mostly) open and Airbnbs were available. It also gave us the chance to explore the Nevada side of the lake for the first time and see some new sites 🙂
Friday: Drive up with obligatory stop
After work on Friday, Joe and I made the 5 hour drive up to the lake. We killed time listening to music and podcasts, and unwinding from work and transitioning to weekend mode on our road trip. Of course, we made the obligatory stop at Chick-fil-A (since there isn’t one near San Francisco) :P. By 10pm, we made it to our Airbnb, settled in, and passed out quickly after the long drive.
Saturday: Emerald Bay hike + feeling normal again
Saturday started off with easing into the morning with coffee and breakfast. We had a large house all to ourselves in Incline Village, which off-the-bat put us in relaxation mode. We took our time getting ready and planning for an entire day outdoors.
It was a pretty cold day for Tahoe summer (40-50s all day), so we decided to dedicate our Saturday to a long hike versus doing water stuff. As Joe and I looked at different hiking options in North Tahoe, I had my heart set on Emerald Bay, a beautiful trail I did my first time visiting in South Tahoe that I wanted to share with Joe. Even though it was an hour drive, we felt it would be worth it…and boy it did not disappoint.
Emerald bay is a body of water off the southern portion of Lake Tahoe, which basically feels like a mini-version of the lake. I love it because you can see the views of the trees/mountains across the bay, versus in the massive Lake Tahoe where you can hardly see anything across.
We started the hike at the top of the bay going downwards, so needless the say the first portion of the hike went by in a flash. We couldn’t help but marvel at the gorgeous views of the water while trailing down.
The bottom of the lake was just as lovely. There were picnic tables and lots of people enjoying the beach area. We stopped to soak in the beauty and chat on the lake-side for a while. The lofty mountain views + crystal clear blue water was quite the site.
We saw plenty of wild life – don’t be fooled by their cuteness since they might pounce on you for food!
Being cheesy 🙂
After enjoying the lake-side views, it was time to hike back up. On the way we found these two walking sticks…is it just me or is it the best feeling to find your own walking stick? We really needed it for the very vertical path back up!
We worked up quite an appetite after our day-trip. Joe and I had a late lunch at a burger spot back in Incline Village – they even had outdoor seating which we were SO grateful for, as we finally felt “normal” for the first time in a while. This pandemic has really made me not take these things for granted.
Then we went back to our cabin to chill for a bit. We watched stand up comedy while napping after an active day.
Around 7pm, we ventured back out again to enjoy the sunset by the lake. Our cabin was a convenient 15 minute walk to the beach, where we soaked in the last of the lake before the sun went down.
The rest of the evening, we opted for ordering sushi take-out and watching re-runs of The Office in our cozy cabin. Perfection.
Sunday: lazy morning + hike to Monkey Mountain
On Sunday, we had a very slooow morning at the cabin. We ate another home-cooked breakfast, took a walk around the neighborhood, watched tv/read our book, and squeezed out every last minute of enjoying the lovely place before check out.
It was a much warmer, sunnier day than yesterday, so Joe and I wanted to make the most of it. We found a lake-side hike in the Nevada side and opted for one-last activity before heading back to SF.
This hike was super gorgeous. View of the aqua-blue lake was on our side the entire time, and the sandy path was right next to the classic tall Tahoe trees. I couldn’t help but stop and look out almost every other minute.
The last part of the hike was almost completely vertical which was a nice challenge, but it was so worth it to reach the top – we could see the entire lake!
The hike was called Monkey Rock because of this rock at the top.
We found this rock that looked like a butt…we are so mature 🙂
The hike was pretty strenuous but flew by with our conversation and gorgeous scenery. I was grateful to have such a fun, down-for-anything travel partner like Joe. ❤
Before leaving Nevada, the very last thing we did was grab lunch a sit-down restaurant. God knows when is the next time we’ll be able to do this again!
I feel very thankful for our refreshing weekend in Tahoe. Even though Joe and I go hiking a lot in SF, it really made a difference to get out and experience new trails/scenery in Tahoe. Before this trip, we were starting to feel very trapped in the city, and even just breathing in the fresh air helped me push the “reset” button. I’m also glad that this trip had opened our minds to safe travel options around us this summer, which I think will be much needed to keep our sanity 🙂