When I was a little girl, my grandma had a framed, full-color map of Lake Tahoe hanging in her back bedroom. I distinctly remember her holding me and pointing to various places ("and here's Incline Village, where you were born...") while I looked at the blue of the oblong lake, repeating "Taco" after her carefully pronounced "TaHoe" (what can I say, I liked mexican food early).
So, ever since I was a wee thing I have had a fascination with this gorgeous little jewel of a lake. Understandably so. My parents lived on Robin Drive in Incline Village when I was born, I learned to walk at Burnt Cedar Beach and the golf course (where my grandpa marshalled) in Incline, I must have spent 3 days a week at Sand Harbor and Round Hill Pines Beach each summer since I was a child. In the winter, my brothers and I could be found ditching school at either Mount Rose or Sierra-At-Tahoe ski resorts. (Okay, we didn't really ditch. We were homeschooled, so we doubled up and did school on the weekends so we could snowboard 3 or 4 days during the week) I had my 21st birthday in King's Beach, had my wedding reception at Aspen Grove (also the place where my dad preached his first sermon and I was dedicated as a baby) and Ski Beach in Incline, and spent the first two days of my honeymoon at Red Wolf Lodge. So yeah... this lake is in my blood. I just don't think I'll ever get tired of it. I sure hope it's going to be in heaven, cuz I just may not want to go there if it's not. Kidding, kidding. ;)
Here are a few factoids I ran across... they are actually what inspired this post.
- Tahoe is the third deepest lake in North America and the tenth deepest in the world. Tahoe's deepest point is 1,645 feet near Crystal Bay. The floor of the Lake Tahoe Basin is at an elevation of about 4,580 ft, which is lower than the surface of the Carson Valley to the east.
- Lake Tahoe is the North American Continent's largest Alpine lake and is 6223' above sea level, 22 miles long, 12 miles wide, covers a surface area of 191.6 square miles, and has 72 miles of shoreline.
- The estimated 39.75 trillion gallons of water contained in the lake is 99.9 percent pure, with visibility to 75 feet below the surface (a 10 inch white dinner plate would be visible at 75 feet below the surface). Tahoe could provide every person in the United States with 50 gallons of water per day for 5 years.
- The water temperature near the surface generally cools to 40 to 50 degrees Fahrenheit during February and March and warms to 65 to 70F during August and September. Below a depth of 600 to 700 ft (183 to 213 m), the water temperature remains a constant 39F. Many drowning victims are never recovered from Lake Tahoe. The cold water at lower depths preserves the bodies and prevents the formation of gases that would otherwise float them to the surface.
- If Lake Tahoe was completely drained, it would cover a flat area the size of California to a depth of 14 inches, or Texas with 8.5 inches of water, but would take over 700 years to refill.
- Lake Tahoe loses much of its water to evaporation.An average 1,400,000 tons of water evaporates from its surface every 24 hours, yet this drops the lake level only one-tenth of an inch. If the water that evaporates from the lake every 24 hours could be recovered, it would supply the daily requirements of a city the size of Los Angeles.
- There are 63 tributaries (including and two hot springs) draining into Lake Tahoe, but only one outlet at the Truckee River.
- At lake level, annual snowfall averages 125 inches. At alpine skiing elevations, the snowfall averages 300 to 500 inches each year. Skiers can hit the slopes on one of the 182 ski trails in the midst of more than 8,800 total ski resort acres. The longest ski run in the area is 5.5 miles long. Lake Tahoe's greatest vertical drop is 3,600 feet.
- There are six 24-hour casinos in the South Lake Tahoe area, including the infamous Cal-Neva, once owned by Frank Sinatra and so named because it straddles the CA and NV state lines. All together, the casinos in Tahoe have a total of 7,051 slot machines and 411 game tables.
Yay for Tahoe!
(both taken on my Kodak digital cam)