Emerald Bay – Bliss to Vikingsholm to Rubicon Point Lighthouse out & back — Altitude acclimation & hike (June 25, 2012)

Today we decided to give our cycling legs and rest and instead prime the muscles with a 12 mile hike. So we piled into the car with our hiking boots, cameras and lightweight but layered look outfits and drove up to Emerald Bay. It was still early enough when we arrived there were plenty of parking spots left on the roadside, and we crossed over to catch a close-up and personal glimpse of the Falls before heading out on the hike.

Then a short stop on the lookout point rocks before heading down the access road to Vikingsholm, taking advantage of the facilities on the grounds before crossing over along the beach to the trailhead to Rubicon Trail.

A few miles in on the trail and we decided to cross over back to water’s edge to the little point, also catching glimpses of a hapless little duckling who hadn’t made its journey with the rest of the flock, and middle-aged couple who had braved the strong, cool winds and arrived on paddle-boards from their put-in point at Bliss.

We tromped back through the pine-needle floor back to the Rubicon trail and forged our way as salmon against the constant stream of other hikers in large groups who had started at Bliss and were possibly headed to Vikingsholm. I was delusional on the point that we would have our mid-point lunch break at waters’ edge, as the Rubicon trail goes to a certain point and then just goes UP! But we found some wonderful rocks on which to perch right above the informational signboard for the historic Rubicon Point Lighthouse and dine on nutritious sandwiches of Ben’s making (wheat-walnut Acme bread, sliced almost an inch thick, a thinnish streak of peanut butter and my sister’s home-made apricot jam in the middle; almond, raisin and cranberry gorp; fresh apricots; V8; water). Then we headed back the same way we arrived, but omitting the detour to the little spit and/or the house at Vikingsholm, however WITH a stop at the beach to cool our hot and somewhat aching toes in the cool Lake Tahoe shoreline water. I find few things more satisfying that massaging my feet in squishy sand a few inches below the water’s surface. Just right.

Then back on with the socks and hiking boots for the final kick up the access road from the bottom of the Rubicon trailhead at Vikingsholm, a few minutes for photos and panoramic vistas from the top, then a quick change out of boots into airy sandals for the drive back to the Stardust, with a car detour on some of the back streets so Ben could drive by the house he used to own and live in, as well as some options/alternatives for my return the following day at the tail end of my planned ride around the lake.

Once back in our little condo, a soothing shower, then walk down to the private beach a few blocks away (the Stardust also gives us free access to that). We decided to forego a meal at the open-air restaurant on the beach this evening, as the winds are still howling fiercely and cold. Instead, we wander back inland and to the newly built Marriott Grand Residence hotel/condo/commercial “village” to forage for a meal, and stumble upon Base Camp Pizza. . . . which proves to be an excellent choice. We share a large Greek salad with an oh-so-deliciously-lemony dressing, and a Fire-Roasted Peppers and Feta pizza. And beers, of course (they run this place very slickly, so we have been told upon arrival there would be about 15-minute wait for a table, so it’s a pint of Guinness for each while we wait (they were out of the local stout we wanted to try) and the 15 minute wait miraculously dwindles into a 5-minute wait. Another bonus, finished with our salads, the busboy comes from the kitchen with a small-size pizza because “the chef made the wrong size by mistake” so here’s the small on the house to get us started while the medium pizza finishes baking. Sweet! The result being that at the end of the meal, we still had 1/2 a pizza for lunch leftovers. This place is highly recommended, in our book!!!

On the way back to our room, i stop in the lobby, grab two movies (“Rum Diary” with Johnny Depp, based on and dedicated to the life of Hunter S. Thompson; and “Slipstream” a modern time-machine action thriller). . . . and more complimentary popcorn, of course. Ben starts to fade and eventually goes to the bedroom to watch sports on the TV in that room while I finish the movies.

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