On Saturday, I took an impromptu drive to Lake Tahoe and then on Sunday, I visited an apple orchard in Apple Hill. 

Some places take your breath away. Lake Tahoe is definitely one of them!  It is one of the most popular destinations in Northern California because there is just so much to do! In the summer, there is camping, picnics by the beach, hiking, etc.  Lake Tahoe is also great for skiing, snowboarding and other snow activities in the winter.  In the autumn, the drive to and Lake Tahoe itself is beautiful! The foliage changes color, the mountain tops are dusted with snow, but the pine trees are still green, and the lake add colors of blue and emerald. Simply put, it is extraordinarily exciting for someone like me who loves to photograph nature.

Lake Tahoe is over 2 million years old. It is one of the deepest and purest lakes in the world and the water is very blue and in some parts, very clear. The Lake holds about 39 trillion gallons of water, enough to cover the state of California to a depth of 14½ inches.

I woke up this past Saturday with a sudden urge to drive and Lake Tahoe came to mind.  I am not particularly experienced driving in snow and some parts of the road are steep, so I wanted to visit before the route is completely blanketed in snow.

It was definitely a beautiful drive up. There were a lot of red and yellow-orange patches along the way.

View of my approach to Lake Tahoe

My last visit to Lake Tahoe was on 4th of July. We had a picnic in Pope Beach prior to watching the fireworks at night. This time around I wanted to see Sand Harbor Beach and Emerald Bay.

Sand Harbor Beach is actually on the Nevada side (east), while Emerald Bay is on the west side of Lake Tahoe. I planned my trip accordingly so I will have good lighting in my photos. Therefore, I drove to Sand Harbor Beach first. This is a state park so there is a $7 entrance fee but it is well worth it.

The water here is crystal clear. I was definitely in awe and I was not alone. I overheard several visitor remarked as to how impressive and spectacular this place was!

How is this for a private swimming spot? 🙂

After grabbing a quick breakfast, I headed over to the west side of the lake. By this time, traffic was beginning to build up but not too bad. I had been wanting to see Emerald Bay because it looks stunning in photos, but I’ve also been warned that the road there is quite suspenseful. Now I understand why. Traveling north, I was on the side of the lake and the drop was very steep. It is a road that is predominantly one lane each direction and in some parts, there are no guardrails in the right.

I am only semi-afraid of heights but there is an area that is even steeper and it is one lane each direction, no guardrails and deep drops on both sides. That part definitely caused some butterflies in my stomach and questioned the decision to see the bay! My intention in me telling you this is not to scare you, but rather to warn you in case you are tremendously afraid of heights. However, if you truly want to see it, I suggest sitting on the driver’s side so you are not tempted to look down. Or take route 80 that leads from north to south so you are on the side of the mountain, although I am not sure if this is the case consistently along the way.

Thankfully, because of the traffic, everyone was moving slowly. And I am glad that I braved it because the views did not disappoint either!

This was taken from my first stop, Inspiration Point. The view from here is blocked by trees but it is beautiful nonetheless. Parking gets pretty crowded though. Notice the small island in the middle? I will use this as the reference point as I continued northbound and circled around Emerald Bay.

On the drive north, after leaving Inspiration Point, there are areas where you can pull over on the side of the road to take pictures. These are where I took the following photos from. Also other than to adjust the lighting, I did very little editing with these photos. The water here is really this blue!

Snow capped mountains on my way home

On Sunday, my family and I took a trip to Apple Hill. I am almost embarrassed to tell you that this is the second time we drove here to pick apples but was not able to (last time was about 2 years ago). This time, we arrived a little too late again. All the good apples have been harvested, but it was a lovely drive nonetheless as we passed by the orchards and pumpkin patches. We decided to stop by Boa Vista where my sister and I did some wine tasting. Who knew that apple wine tasted so good? We purchased a lot of fuji apples (my favorite kind) to take home.

While we were unable to pick, we did get to walk around this orchard

What did I do with the apples I purchased? Most of them I plan to make into apple crumble, but today I cooked Honey-Mustard Chicken with Apples. Definitely a must-try. It is 5-stars for a delicious reason! 🙂

Here is my humble version of it!

I hope to show you another California destination soon! If there one in particular you’d like for me to visit, please let me know below.