In early November of last year, I found myself having to take some time off from the work duties and not being able to spend time on any golden shores (i.e., Hawaii). So I decided that I should just get in the car and head somewhere that I haven’t been. I thought, if I head east towards the Rockies I would probably quickly face winter weather, North I’d end up in Canada (which I didn’t want to do), West would quickly put me into the Pacific Ocean, so south it was. I had always wanted to see Lake Tahoe. It was one of those places that I had always dreamed of visiting but never had the chance. This was now my chance.
So some quick booking for accommodations, a tune-up for the car, camera gear packed up, off I went.
The first portion of my drive was in driving rain and wind with snow in the mountains. The weather cleared up a bit as I made my way through the Yakima Valley and drove down towards the Sam Hill Memorial Bridge to cross the Columbia River. I stopped at the Maryhill Stonehenge War Memorial to take some pictures and fly the drone around, but the wind was relentless and not safe to fly.
After that brief stop, I crossed the Columbia River and drove into Oregon. From there it was a straight shot to overnight in Bend, and up early the next day to make the final push into California and Nevada.
The drive was long but it was so worth it. The scenery through southeastern Oregon was incredible even though the views of Crater Lake were obscured by clouds. And driving through some of the northern California minor highways brought me through Modoc National Forest, Adin, Susanville, and finally through Reno and up into the Sierra-Nevada’s towards the condo I was staying in. It was quite the drive, but I made it in one piece and was all set to enjoy the views of the snow-capped mountains from the comfort of my temporary home and the day trips I planned to take.
The next day, I woke up early and went for a drive around the lake. It was a beautiful day and the scenery was incredible. I stopped at a few different spots to take some pictures and just enjoy the views. One of my stops was at a place called Eagle Falls. I was looking forward to this stop since I love to photograph waterfalls and get in a little hike while I was at it. Turns out, the falls were dry so not much to look at. The stop was a disappointment but I met a few interesting people along the way and enjoyed the conversations I had with them so it wasn’t a complete waste.
Returning to my drive, I found my next stop at Sand Harbor Beach on the opposite side of the lake. I found that this was much more picturesque than the dry waterfalls I visited earlier, but the weather was taking a turn for the worse and it started to cloud up and snow a little. And with that snow came a drop in the temperature so my stop here was only long enough to snap a few photographs.
Following the full day of navigating around the lake, I returned to my condo to relax for the evening, catch up on some football, and prepare for upcoming adventures. However, unbeknownst to me, Mother Nature had different intentions; an early winter storm was supposed to roll in and possibly blanket the area in light snow.
As anticipated, the storm arrived in full force overnight and hung around for the next 3 days. Snow was strewn all around and I found myself unable to leave the condo. Unfortunately, I had not prepared to be cooped up like I was so it was an effort to keep myself fed and entertained until the storm broke and I could get leave.
After 3 days of being stuck inside, the storm finally subsided and the roads were cleared. With a more attentive ear to weather forecasts, I became aware of another storm brewing that was anticipated to bring even more snow. In response, I made the decision to pack up, depart, and just return home rather than try to salvage anything on this trip.
Since most of the mountain passes through California were still not very good to drive on I followed almost the exact same route I drove to get to Lake Tahoe on the return. I overnighted again in Bend, Oregon and took another day to complete the final leg going around Mt. Hood and down the Columbia River, making some stops along the way to snap some photographs.
Regardless of how my trip unfolded and the disappointment I felt as my plans fell apart, I believe I still managed to get a few good photographs. I am hopeful that you will enjoy what I am sharing with you now and come to the same conclusion: even busted plans can yield some good photo opportunities if you allow them to.
Blessings to you all.