Lake Tahoe and Reno

and another hot springs along the way! We drove north from Mammoth towards Squaw and couldn't help but stop at another hot spring we had read about along the way.  This was in the middle of nowhere, and while we understand it can get pretty popular we had the place entirely to ourselves right up until we were walking away.  Absolutely beautiful springs and the backdrop wasn't so bad either.

We were tempted to stay here and camp (mostly just for the chance to get the springs to ourselves again in the morning), especially as we saw other vehicles setting up camp and pulling out firewood for the night, but there were several signs posted that clearly read "no camping no fires", so we continued on... weird how sometime we actually think the rules apply. We marveled at the beauty that is Lake Tahoe (somehow this was our first time) as we drove around the east side and headed towards squaw valley.

I honestly have no idea how we made it this far into our lives and travels without making it to Tahoe.  The lake is magically clear and bright and the sunshine simply lit us up as though it had  been weeks since we set eyes upon it.  We were tempted by a few different campgrounds and pullouts but decided to keep going, excited to get to the resort, scope things out and prepare for fresh turns in the new snow in the morning.

Our excitement may have been a bit premature...

As we entered sqauw it was absolutely beautiful.  A perfect day before the expected storm, and we pulled into the resort parking lot mid afternoon as the sun was just beginning to cast perfect long shadows across the mountain.

What we didn't expect, and were a bit less excited to find, was that despite being a friday; every space in every lot was packed and the place was complete mayhem.  Seriously...crazy town!  Anything but the calm, peaceful nature of the hot spring we just left a few hours ago.

This isn't like the uber polite nature of oregon parking lots, where everyone pulls in directly as instructed and tries to be respectful of both the place and their neighbors...this was clearly a free-for-all as vehicles were parked in every possible angle and direction, with compete disregard to lines or lanes and it was almost impossible to even drive the lot from one end to another because of the countless cars double parked, sticking out into both lanes of the drive and blocking traffic literally all day as they were on the mountain.

Ski and skate week clearly still in full effect.

We couldn't even imagine what the weekend might look like and decided to get out of town before we were forced to find out.  We spent the night in the lot and drove away early before people started to arrive again...driving straight to Reno, where we assumed we could cheaply spend the weekend away from crowds. had been a full week since we had played craps and it just seemed like a good idea! ;)

Reno is certainly no Vegas.  It's the quiet and somewhat gritty version, and it was freezing rather than us even having to consider spending time by the pool...but we did have a blast for a few days while we waited on the crowds to disperse again from the resorts around tahoe.  Even as we drove back south the jammed line of traffic in the opposite lane made us thrilled for our decision!

Another storm hit overnight, sealing the deal on our good choice and we hit alpine meadows in the morning with almost perfect conditions and feeling like we had the mountain to ourselves.  We really hadnt expected much from this resort, but had an absolutely great day in every possible way!  We rode until our legs gave out and then headed back towards Squaw, stopping in at the Bridgetender in tahoe city for apres with the locals before making our way back to the village.