By Tim Hauserman
Yes, it’s that time of year once again at Tahoe when we seesaw back and forth between warm days where you can happily wonder around in shirt sleeves, to cold and windy days when you turn up the heat and start thinking about how you need to stack the firewood. It’s a time when that quick dip into Lake Tahoe might be your last of the season, because the next morning the thermometer drops below freezing.
Earlier this week, after letting the world warm up enough that I felt ready to leave the house, I strolled through a nearby forest and enjoyed the cusp of fall. It was crisp, but not cold. The dew covered grass was still moist and smelled like autumn. The ancient aspen trees still were dark green, but beginning to lose their summer luster. In other words, it was a lovely day for a hike.
This is the time of year that it is pretty close to impossible to get the layers down right. I got out of my car in the bright sunshine and was feeling pretty warm with a fleece shirt and rain shell, but two minutes into the shady forest and I was wondering whether I should have worn a fleece hat. Just consider the frequent breaks to take on or off clothing as a chance to catch your breath and appreciate our natural surroundings.
A question I frequently get asked this time of year is whether late September into early October is a good time to hike the entire Tahoe Rim Trail. My answer is usually loaded with caveats: Perhaps yes, perhaps no. We can have beautiful sunny days with temperatures in the 70s, and we can have bitter cold temperatures and even a healthy dose of snow. Before hitting the trail it is essential to keep a close eye on the weather forecast and be ready to change your plans.
While there are certainly considerations to summer/fall recreational planning, as long as you’ve done your research it is an awesome time to be out there. There are not too many people, there are no bugs, and it is not too hot. One big secret this time of year is to not be in a hurry to get out the door in the morning. Have another cup of Joe, check your emails and linger around on Facebook for a bit longer, because this time of year the temperature difference between 8 am and 10 am is often: “Geez it’s freaking cold” versus, “Oh this is nice!”