Safe Travels in Lake Tahoe

A beautiful but oftentimes unforgiving environment, the high-altitude Lake Tahoe and the surrounding areas need to be respected in all seasons. There are countless tales of survival and misfortune in the wild 1800s: Captain Dick “Them’s my toes” Barter lived on Fannette Island from 1863-1873 and would regale folks by showing them his self-amputated toes, which got frostbite when he was caught in a winter storm rowing to the island. Tragically, he died on his rowboat during another storm and was never seen again. The Donner Party famously suffered misfortune in 1847 when their wagon train became stranded by an early November blizzard in a 7,000-foot-tall pass above Truckee Lake, now named Donner lake. Of the 87 members of the party, 48 survived to reach California.

Safe travels in Lake Tahoe:

Swim smart, swim safe- know the dangers of cold water. The waters of the lake can be shockingly cold just a few feet under the surface, so always wear your lifejacket when paddle boarding or kayaking, and always prepare yourself for accidental immersion. Never enter the water under the influence of alcohol.

The high-altitude nights in Tahoe do dip into the low 50s at night, even in mid-summer, so pack your sweatshirts. This can contrast greatly with the desert heat of lower altitude Reno, which reaches into triple digits, and is something to be aware of if taking a day trip.

You also need to take precautions against the sun in the thinner mountain air. Cover up, wear sunscreen, and limit exposure. Take frequent breaks while hiking to acclimate yourself, drink plenty of water, and avoid overexertion.

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About the Author

About the Author: Pat Barcas serves as Creative Resources Manager for RTX, based in Asheville, NC. You can find him hiking the mountains of Asheville, gardening, traveling, and hanging with his growing family. His favorite RTX exchange destinations are Rangeley, Maine, Lake Tahoe, Banff, Canada, New Smyrna Beach, Florida, Cape Cod, and Orange Beach, Alabama. .

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