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Holly McCamant: Lake Tahoe family reunion

As I mentioned last week, I was at my family reunion at Lake Tahoe. Since the article was on road trips, I didn’t elaborate much on how the reunion went. The reunion was just beginning, and I wrote that column as (almost) always, in a coffee shop.

Now, in a coffee shop in Butte, Mont., I’m back from the reunion and going to go to Yellowstone National Park soon. However, that’s a different story. Let’s get going on the most recent one.

So every two years, the McCamant family has a reunion. Every other one of those reunions is on the Oregon coast. This year was not one of those years, and the family chose probably the prettiest place possible to have the reunion — Lake Tahoe.

Lake Tahoe is in Nevada and California. We were on the California side of South Lake Tahoe (which is split in between the two states), and not that far away from a beach. Lake Tahoe is the bluest body of water I have ever seen, and is surrounded by these pretty mountains covered with trees.

One of the first trips I did was to Angora Lake. A few of my relatives and I went up to there, and once we got a parking spot after waiting by someone for about five minutes, it was a short hike to the prettiest lake ever.

Now I have lived in Minnesota 14 years of my life, but I don’t think that anything could really compare to this gorgeous little lake surrounded by mountains. We swam there and then hiked to the upper lake, where we did some cliff diving. Since the people I was with all had common sense, it was more like cliff jumping. We chose to jump off an eighteen foot cliff instead of a 40 or 60 foot one.

I got even more adventurous the next day. My uncle, his son, and his son’s girlfriend and I decided to hike up Mount Tallac. That hike was easier said than it sounds. Hiking up there was steep and rocky the entire way, not to mention it was probably lucky that none of us toppled from the trails that had no way to keep people from falling over.

We almost had to turn around earlier due to thirst, but thankfully we ran into a mountain stream. As I write this I haven’t told my parents that I was perfectly willing to drink mostly clean mountain water, but I didn’t get sick. I’ve swallowed much worse lake water.

We were about thirty minutes from the top, but we had to turn back to make dinner on time. I think that the 9,000 feet elevation that we accomplished was enough.

Then we decided to have a beach day at Lake Tahoe the next day. I think it’s a family tradition wherever we go. It was there I made up my mind that I won’t ever take a tropical beach vacation over going to a place like Lake Tahoe.

One of my other favorite parts was being able to run at a high altitude. The one real trail run I got to do was more of a hike, but it was worth it. Being able to do one of my favorite things while seeing one of the prettiest places was amazing. While I ran, I overlooked a gorgeous waterfall, trees, and saw a great view of one of Lake Tahoe’s bays.

Besides the wonderful location, there was my family.  It’s a place where if you can’t handle intellectual conversations, you might as well get out of my family reunion. When someone found a fossil on the beach, it was examined and debated about what it might be, as well as taken home by someone who would use special equipment to study it further. Topics of conversation ranged from my cousin’s project (who is an astronomist) bringing a big telescope to his brother to researching a new way to do a colonoscopy. 

I love my family, and I’m so glad I was able to go to this past reunion. The long car ride was worth it. I promise that next time I’ll write about my next adventure — but in La Barista instead of Venus Rising Espresso House.