The Mystery & Magic of Lake Tahoe

Photo by daughter Morgan, at Tahoe City Marina
My sister Abby and her boys William and Michael (L & R) at Emerald Bay’s Eagle Falls

There is something beyond the beauty of Lake Tahoe, California that moves the spirit and brings a sense of childlike joy to people of all ages.

“To breathe the same air as the angels, you must go to Tahoe.” ~ Mark Twain

Nephew William absorbing the clean energy of Emerald Bay

The crystal-clear Lake is smooth as glass one moment, but it can rage with ocean-like fury the next.

Incline Village, North Shore

Above the Lake, the sky is cobalt blue one moment, billowing with swollen masses of clouds the next, piled one on top of the other. It’s as if the atmosphere here has some form of Tourette Syndrome, minus the obscenities.

Furious sky

A Golden Past, A Golden Future

Six miles from the Lake is Squaw Valley, another vortex of mystery and magic. In 1960, Squaw Valley became the first western ski resort in the United States to host a Winter Olympics.

Daughter, Morgan, at the entrance of Squaw Valley

The VIII Winter Olympic Games were an enormous success and focused worldwide attention on Lake Tahoe as a winter ski destination.

Squaw Valley
Squaw Creek
Squaw Valley’s iconic wood fence

Aside from the hype and history, however, it’s the early morning sun splashing through tall pines, mixing with the fog, that creates real magic in the valley.

Squaw Valley Summer

Few places on earth have such an inspiring climate, from the warm serenity of summer, to the soft and silent powder days of winter.

Squaw Valley Winter

Even domestic pets treasure this enchanting place. You can see it in their eyes.

Valley Cat
Klondike (above and below) of Mtn. Mike’s Sports

Sunrises and sunsets are cause for celebration too, each unique and magnificent in their own special way. Each a gift to the spirit.

Shirley Canyon Trail
Above Olympic Village
Towering high above Olympic Village on Shirley Canyon Trail

Truckee River

And then there’s the famous Truckee River, another source of stimulation. It’s the sole outlet of Lake Tahoe, flowing 121 miles through Truckee and Reno into Pyramid Lake.

Truckee River from the bridge in Downtown Truckee
William finding crawdads in Truckee River
Truckee River Crawdad

Truckee Love

The town of Truckee is nestled in the Sierra Nevada 200 miles northeast of San Francisco, California; 12 miles north of Lake Tahoe.

Historic Truckee

In 1863, Truckee was known as Gray’s Toll Station, providing provisions for travelers passing through. The settlement grew into a small town called Coburn’s station.

Moody’s Bistro, Downtown Truckee

With the completion of the railroad in 1868, the small town grew into the city it is today, known as Truckee.

The famous Truckee Rail


On a hike from Carson City, Nevada, Mark Twain came upon Lake Tahoe and made this reference in his 1871 book, Roughing It:

“As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole earth affords.”

A hike up any of the countless trails in Tahoe rewards you with the same breathtaking views and sounds of nature experienced by Mark Twain. You find yourself surrounded by waterfalls, alpine lakes, ancient trees and towering peaks, lost in the wanderlust of it all.

The Mystery and Magic of Lake Tahoe? It’s the ultimate anti-depressant… a fountain of youth and clean energy for the soul.

With son Jon, on Shirley Canyon Trail


Hi, I’m Michael — Squaw Valley resident, passionate adventurer, visual storyteller, pilot, blogger and dad. All photos taken with my iPhone. Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed it, tap the wave button below. I value your attention, it means a lot to me and it helps others see the story.



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Michael Kennedy

Michael Kennedy

Pilot / Father / Adventurer / Visual Storyteller / Spartan (AROO!)