Sunday was a big day! We woke up bright and early to rent jet skis off the Marina on South Lake Tahoe. We had to meet at the lake at 8am for our tour. The morning weather was quite cold and the lake water even colder! Upon getting fitted for life jackets, we hopped on our high-output jet ski and followed our guide over to Emerald Bay, about a 20 minute ride from the Marina. After touring the bay, our guide set us loose for an hour out on the lake with our jet ski. This was by far the best part of the trip! I have never driven a jet ski in my life, but took it upon myself to fly at 50 miles an hour across the lake hitting every wave in my way! Pictures of this part of the trip were taken with a waterproof disposable camera so as not to ruin my digital camera, but they will be up shortly as soon as I get them developed!
After the jet ski tour we hit up The Cantina, a local Mexican restaurant for some lunch.
We split a massive chicken burrito and I of course got a strawberry margarita because “I’m on vacation.” Then we headed over to Horsetail Falls, a massive waterfall off a mountain southwest of Lake Tahoe.
If you look carefully you can see Horsetail Falls dead center in the background of this picture; it’s white in color because the water is rushing at an incredible rate down the mountain. Upon seeing the beautiful waterfall we decided to make it to the top, yes the top. We had heard there was a gorgeous lake at the start of the falls called Avalanche Lake and we were determined to make it there for a swim!
The hike started off relatively easy, we walked near the water to see the falls and kept pushing our way to the top.
The trail soon became more difficult to find and we had to rely on stacks of small rocks built by hikers before us (as seen in the picture). This clue ended up being a total lifesaver later on in the hike!
During the whole hike we had fantastic views of the waterfall!
It was at about 2 hours into the hike when the trail disappeared, and we were on our own. We had heard from other hikers coming down the mountain that the hike got more difficult along the way, but we had no idea what we were in for. We climbed up the side of the mountain using rocks and boulders to pull ourselves up. Some of the rocks were slick from the nearby water making this was an extremely dangerous and terrifying experience that I had neither the skill nor the endurance for. The sign at the trailhead stating that “there had been many fatalities on this hike” was clearly not kidding.
But we kept seeing hikers descending the mountain reassuring us that we weren’t too far from the top and that the view and lake at the top of the waterfall was well worth the climb. So we continued on our wayÔÇª
3 hours, 2 Cliff Bars, and not enough water later, we finally reached the top!
And low and behold, the incredible breathtaking Avalanche Lake!
The water was FREEZING, but as tired and hot as I was from the climb, I jumped in anyways! I even swam out to a little island in the middle of the lake!
After a nice long swim we came across two other hikers making there way to the top who were kind enough to take our picture at the peak of the waterfall! Luckily they were more experienced hikers and kindly led the way back down the mountain as we followed.
This hike was definitely not what we had in mindÔÇª
Anticipated length of hike: 1.5 hours
Total length of actual hike: 5.5 hours
Anticipated difficulty: moderate
Actual difficultly: more difficult then you could ever imagine
In sum: totally worth the time, effort, and 3 days of muscle soreness to follow!