Monday, October 21, 2013

The View from My Window - Lake Tahoe and Mark Twain

The view from my office window is spectacular. (No this is not it.) But, to the west, beyond the hills in my small valley, I can see the Sierra Nevada mountain range. Just over their craggy peaks and out of my sight is Lake Tahoe (shown here).  It is a beautiful lake so blue and clear you can see over sixty feet into the water to the lake’s bottom.  Mountains surround the lake covered with a dense pine forest.  The view is absolutely breathtaking.

Tahoe was originally named Lake Bigler after the third governor of California.  It is also one of the few inland lakes that can trigger Tsunami warnings during an earthquake.  It was also the location of the Ponderosa ranch used in the TV series Bonanza—now a private residence.

But there is one little-known fact that I found amazing.  While reading Mark Twain’s adventure “Roughing It”, I learned that Mark Twain and his colleague decided to make the eleven mile hike from Carson City to Lake Bigler on foot.  Many hours later after climbing over several mountains they finally found the lake. 

One day after starting a fire for their morning meal, Twain headed back to the boat to retrieve the frying pan.  He looked up to see the fire, which he’d started beneath a tree, had caught the dry bed of pine needles ablaze.  From there the surrounding pine forest became engulfed in flames. For hours, from the safety of a small boat in the middle of the lake, Mark Twain and his companion watched the mountains burn.

He later returned to Carson City to tell them of his experience and had to pay for the damages incurred.

What little bit of history have you learned of late? 


1 comment:

  1. I knew Mark Twain was a lot of things, but never an accidental arsonist. Great post Jennie