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Tahoe observations

Lake Tahoe has inspired many people to write about its beauty and plead for its preservation.

Lake Tahoe has inspired many people to write about its beauty and plead for its preservation.

John Muir (1873): “I wish, my dear, dear friends, that you could share this divine day with me here. The soul of Indian summer is brooding this blue water, and it enters one’s being as nothing else does. Tahoe is surely not one but many. As I curve around its heads and bays and look far out on its level sky fairly tinted and fading in pensive air, I am reminded of all the mountain lakes I ever knew, as if this were a kind of water heaven to which they all had come.”

Mark Twain (1899): “We were told that the distance was 11 miles. We tramped a long time on level ground, and then toiled laboriously up a mountain about a thousand miles high and looked over. No lake that. We escrended on the other side, crossed the valley and toiled up another mountain three or four thousand miles high, apparently, and looked over again. No lake yet. We sat down tired and perspiring, and hired a couple of Chinamen to curse those people who had beguiled us. Thus refreshed, we presently resumed the march with renewed vigor and determination. We plodded on, two or three hours longer, and at last the Lake burst upon us—a noble sheet of blue water lifted six thousand three hundred feet above the level of the sea, and walled in by a rim of snow-clad mountain peaks that towered aloft full three thousand feet higher still! As it lay there with the shadows of the mountains brilliantly photographed upon its still surface, I thought it must surely be the fairest picture the whole world affords.”

Walter Van Tilburg Clark (1945): “It was an hour without more weight or motion than the lake itself, and I have always felt that Tahoe, when it is quiet, does not touch its bottom or shores, but is suspended like air, and coldly and constantly refreshed by its true affinity, inter-stellar space. I believe it was this suspended nature, and not any obvious midday reason, like the blue color, which made the Indians call it the lake-of-the-sky. The Indians are subtle in their perceptions of natural qualities, and when the lake is blue it is very heavy in its basin, and not like sky at all.”

William Turrentine Jackson (1974): “’Joe Citizen’ just did not know what he was talking about if he thought Tahoe’s beauty was ensured for future generations.”

Neil Peart (date unknown): “Getting through Lake Tahoe was already like L.A., with construction all over the place.”

Aaron Sorkin (1999): “Leo McGarry: Andrew Jackson in the main foyer of the White House had a two-ton block of cheese. Josh Lyman: And a Wheat Thin the size of Lake Tahoe.”

University of California at Davis State of the Lake Report (2015): “ While water clarity and lake blueness have long been considered to be one and the same, a newly developed Blueness Index (based on measurements of the wavelength of light leaving the lake) has shown that this is not the case. On the contrary, at times of year when clarity increases, blueness is seen to decrease. In the last three years, Lake Tahoe’s blueness has been increasing.”

Barack Obama (2016): “And just as this space is sacred to Native Americans, it should be sacred to all Americans. And that’s why we’re here: To protect this pristine place. To keep these waters crystal clear. To keep the air as pure as the heavens. To keep alive Tahoe’s spirit. And to keep faith with this truth—that the challenges of conservation and combating climate change are connected, they’re linked.”

Frederick Lenz (date unknown) : “I am here at Lake Tahoe, and there is magic at 6,000 feet.”