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Rowing the High Lakes

Busy times right now, so some background first. We had a grad student heading out to Bishop, California, on this past Monday, and he's doing a bunch of field respirometry measurements on small willow leaf beetles, and is still getting up to speed on respirometry in general, so that's been randomly sucking up time. On Friday at noon, just as I was trying to head out the door with my gear for the weekend, he called me over to the FoxBox in a panic because something wasn't working right.

I quickly triangulated the problem to the built-in air pump, and mentioned that I'd purchased a spare air pump a week or two prior so I could pump air in the dark for the circadian experiments. If he was desperate, he could take my air pump. So he did. But now I have another midnight timepoint tonight. I went back to the Albany Aquarium Store (awesome place), but they didn't have another air pump in stock. They're expecting to get another one today. Close timing.

Between sorting that out, cricket care, lab meeting, and wrangling student researchers, yesterday vanished.

Anyway, the weekend, which was more fun overall. Back in my Arizona Outlaw days, I got to hear a handful of stories about some regatta that happened up on Lake Tahoe. A couple of our Outlaw buddies who went out to the Marathon in Louisiana had gone up to Tahoe and had a blast. So I'd known about the regatta for years, but never had the resources and logistics lined up to attend. Well, after our fun times at the Open Water Regatta in Sausalito, M suggested we look into the North Lake Tahoe Regatta, so we did.

Logistics wound up being somewhat involved, but not terrible, altogether. Apparently D, a rower who works for Maas (open-water rowing shell manufacturer), had volunteered to drive his trailer up to the lake. That sounded leagues better than trying to cartop the Maas 2x all the way up there, so we said, "Sign us up!" So I de-rigged our club's Maas 2x last Wednesday morning, and met up with D on Wednesday afternoon to load it onto his trailer. He had an interesting and clever method for throwing it all the way up onto the top rack, and it worked beautifully. I think he wound up hauling around 15 boats, which allowed a comparatively large number of rowers to compete in the regatta.

Here's the trailer setup, later on. It was a fantastic small boat trailer setup:
Lake Tahoe 2017

So then, back to Friday. After wrapping up a busy morning in the lab, I headed down to the boathouse to meet up with M and drive out to Tahoe. We wound up making good time and didn't hit any especially crazy traffic, so we had enough time to stop for some espresso in Truckee before the evening banquet in Tahoe City at the Tahoe Yacht Club.

Like many yacht clubs, it was swanky:
Lake Tahoe 2017

And there were all kinds of fun trophies and photos on display.

When we arrived, we learned the regatta was canceled due to high winds. The organizers said the cancellation was because our two safety launch drivers decided it was too dangerous for them, especially given the number of race entrants.

I think they had a good point. I could see some impressive waves through the Yacht Club's spotting scope:
Lake Tahoe 2017

There were also large waves on the beach where we were supposed to launch for the race:
Lake Tahoe 2017

Even if we could row in water like that, we'd have a hellish time trying to launch the boats without immediately crashing back into shore.

So that was a disappointment.

Thankfully, there were a couple of consolation activities. Our trailer driver knew of a more sheltered beach, Commons Beach, on the other side of Dollar Point, where he thought we might be able to get in some rowing, at least. And he was right. We did. It was still bouncy over there, but rowable.

Lake Tahoe 2017

After rowing and a leisurely potluck lunch, we also got in a nice hike that included some scenic views of the lake and mountains. Vistas of the route that we would have raced, if it weren't for the winds and freak weather.

The near cove is Kings Beach, where we stayed and were supposed to launch. The winds were blowing directly towards Kings Beach, so it had the worst of the waves.
Lake Tahoe 2017

Dollar Point, our outbound destination:
Lake Tahoe 2017

Sunday morning, a different group of rowers got up early to try and fit in a second row at Commons Beach. It was chilly, maybe in the 40's, and as we worked on rigging the boats, it started to snow. "Time to channel your inner New Englander!" I declared to M. The brief snow flurry cleared up as we waded on in and hopped in the Maas for another couple of spins.

I have a better appreciation for Lake Tahoe now. First off, it was still cool enough to make the dusty hike enjoyable and not a hot and sweaty misery-fest. I think the cool weather also meant that tourism wasn't at its peak yet, which was also a boon. Secondly, I now know of a couple of lakeside swimming beaches that would be pleasant in warmer weather. It looks like it would also be pretty easy to drop in a kayak and go for a paddle. There's a 100-mile road bike route around the lake, so that would be a third option.

So maybe we'll just have to try again next year.

This entry was originally posted at http://rebeccmeister.dreamwidth.org/1160919.html. Please comment there using OpenID.


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