Travel, USA

Mt Tallac Photo Journal

Hiking Mt Tallac

One hike on our South Lake Tahoe bucket list was getting to the top of Mt Tallac. Among other hikes we did in Tahoe, this was our favourite. We left it to just about the last minute before finally getting around to it. Thanks to Uncle John and some new found friends, we had an entertaining journey up and down. We couldn’t believe that we started the hike in sunshine and at the top there was still some leftover snow – in August!! The out-and-back hike was around 10km each way so it was a tiring journey that left our legs feeling a little jelly-like at the end of the day. Needless to say, it was nothing a milkshake couldn’t fix!

Here are a few photos of our day to inspire you to get out there and climb a mountain!

mt tallac mt tallac mt tallacPS: This doggy friends name is Cicado and we thought he was just the most handsome fella! he even ate the snow on the top and clambered about the rocky peak like a boss! Cannot wait till we have a furry friend to go adventuring with!

 

Travel, Uncategorized, USA

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free Summer Activities in South Lake Tahoe

Free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, you say? Can it really be?! It so often happens that when you’re searching for things to do in a new city, nothing comes for free. Since we are unemployed and traveling on a budget, it’s not always possible for us to pay out the pocket for activities everyday.  We have had to use our creativity to find things to fulfill our days, while spending the summer in South Lake Tahoe. Here are five free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe that we have enjoyed over the last two months.

Go Swim in a Lake

It goes without saying that spending time at the lake or on the water in South Lake Tahoe is a must do. The gorgeous 80km circumference body of water has multiple bays and beaches with gorgeous azure water and mountainous surroundings. We spent multiple days hanging out on my uncles boat, trying wake boarding and floating on the water in our tubes.

lake tahoe, boat, summer, budget, free summer activities in south lake tahoe

If you aren’t lucky enough to know someone with a boat, there are multiple beaches and picnic spots along the waters edge. Due to this winter being the heaviest snowfall in the last five years, the lake is at its fullest leaving us very small to no beaches. Our favorite (and just about only one left) beach has been Reagen Beach. It has a teeny tiny stretch of sand and some stairs leading down to it, as well as a large stretch of luscious green grass. It comes complete with some benches, picnic tables, a jungle gym, beach volleyball court and bathrooms as well as a few spots of shade. Hanging at or on the lake is probably our most favourite of free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe!

tahoe budget lake, free summer activities in south lake tahoe

Live at Lakeview

During the summer the beaches are home to some live music concerts. Our favourite has to be at Lake View commons. The concerts take place every Thursday evening from the last week of June till the end of August. The concert starts at 4pm and ends at around 8pm. You can read about the lineups at liveatlakeview.com .People take their blankets and sit on the steps, or even their slackline and hammocks and hang out on the grass of the commons. Some even pump up their float tubes and enjoy the music from the water. If you take along your ID you’ll be allowed into the beer garden and can have a few beers as you watch the sun go down over the mountains. For sure, a great way to bring in the weekend! Don’t forget to bring along your wallet in case you find something you love at the small flea market stalls.

live at lakeview, budget, lake tahoe, free summer activities in south lake tahoe

Frisbee Golf

I’ve heard of golf, and I love to play frisbee, but call me old fashioned for not ever hearing about frisbee golf (otherwise known as disc golf). Turns out this is a pretty popular game and such fun! In South Lake Tahoe, there are two disc golf courses that we know of, both of which are FREE! Yes, you only need to have your own discs in order to play. They go for around $10 each. You could probably get away with only having two (as long as you don’t lose one like I did). The concept is the same as golf. You tee off, but instead of using a golf club you throw the frisbee towards the “hole” which is actually a big metal bucket/crate with chains to catch your frisbee.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We played at Zephyr Cove Park and it was a gorgeous course – kind of like doing a small hike. As you go up the hills, you are rewarded with gorgeous views of Lake Tahoe itself. The other course is at Bijou and is apparently a bit easier and flatter.

Hiking around the Tahoe Basin

With the entire perimeter of the lake being surrounded by mountains, why wouldn’t one hike? The Tahoe Basin is filled with an abundance of hiking trails for people of all abilities. Our favourite had to be hiking Mt Tallac, one of the higher peaks in Tahoe standing at 9735 ft. Less strenuous hikes can be found around Echo Lake. An even shorter hike is down and up to Lower Eagle Falls. Whichever you choose, remember to take ample amounts of water, especially in the summer months. I’d possibly even a swim suit – those alpine lakes are hard to resist when you’ve been in the sun for a few hours! Read more about Hiking in South Lake Tahoe here.

hiking, budget things to do, south lake tahoe, free summer activities in south lake tahoe
Left: Wildflowers and snow on Mt Tallac. Right: Lake of the Woods from Echo Lake

Tailgating at Harvey’s Outdoor Theatre Concerts

During the summer particularly, The Lake Tahoe Outdoor Arena at Harveys hosts some big name music concerts. Tickets for popular acts sell out fast (and are often very expensive). Don’t worry – park outside Edgewood Golf Course (across the street from the Outdoor Arena) and set yourself up for an evening of tailgating! We packed a picnic blanket and some chairs, beers and UNO cards. We were so close to Jack Johnson we could almost see him (well, we could see the sides of the video screen at least)! Some sang along while others even danced alongside the road. Another group enjoyed the concert from atop their campervan parked streetside!

free summer activities in south lake tahoe
Tailgating outside the Jack Johnson concert

Support Local Softball Games

Now this may seem random to some, but there is a Thursday night softball league that runs every week. Since we were staying with my relatives, we went weekly to watch my cousin and my other cousins boyfriend play. We didn’t know much about softball, initially, but definitely grew to love the game. Even though we didn’t know many people playing it was still a good evening out. Mark loves to watch any live sports and we totally got into it. Each week we would pack some snacks and refreshments and a blanket, and sit on the bleachers enjoying the game.

free summer activities in south lake tahoe

We were lucky enough to spend 8 weeks over the summer in South Lake Tahoe. While in Tahoe we stayed at my aunts home and spent lots of time hanging out with my cousins and family. We spent time fishing, hiking, going to yoga classes and getting to enjoy a bit of the Tahoe lifestyle.

We hope you can someday enjoy these free summer activities in South Lake Tahoe, or at least be inspired by them!

chasingkm, National Parks, nature, travel, USA

Two days in Yosemite National Park

Yosemite National Park

With just a few weeks left in California before we start our road trip back east, we decided to squeeze in a quick trip to America’s most popular national park – Yosemite! We realize only a few days is not enough to explore Yosemite to its full potential. But, you can fill your days with enough to make you feel satisfied, tired, thrilled and awed by this grand valley!

yosemite

Day 1

We left Tahoe at 4am and took a slow and scenic route through Mariposa and entered the park via Arch Rock entrance.  You are very soon in Yosemite valley and surrounded by granite cliffs, gorgeous meadows and waterfalls. We couldn’t help but stop right away to gawk at El Capitan – a massive granite cliff face that people have actually scaled – one guy with no ropes in 2015!!

el capitan, yosemite

Since we were staying in Housekeeping Camp in the valley, we went straight there to park the car and utilize the free shuttle. We took the shuttle to stop #7 (or E2 if you’re on the El Capitan shuttle that only runs in the summer months) and walked across the Swinging Bridge (to avoid taking the bus all the way around the valley to E7) to the start of the Four Mile Trail – our chosen hiking trail for the day.

hike, glacier point, yosemite

Four Mile Trail to Glacier Point

Despite this trails name, the one way distance to Glacier Point is in fact, 4.9miles (7,8km). Many people choose to take the shuttle up to the point and walk the trail back down. But, at 25$ per person for the bus this was not an option for us. We began the hike around 11am, not the most ideal time for a 17km hike. The trail begins with some steep switchbacks, straightens out and continues with quite a few more switchbacks. Most of the beginning of the trail is under tree cover which provide some welcome shade. The views become even more spectacular as you ascend. With the inviting Merced River, powerful Yosemite Falls and eventually Half Dome, you get to experience so much of the Yosemite valleys beauty in one hike. We took it slow, stopping for pictures, water breaks and snacks along the route. We arrived at the top of Glacier Point in just over 3 hours.

yosemite falls, tosemite yosemite valley

Our celebratory cool drink atop the peak was soon interrupted by a thunder storm rolling in so we started our descent pretty quickly just to get off the top of the mountain. By the time we got down to the valley again our knees and lower backs could feel each of those 17km! Thankfully, we could catch the El Capitan  shuttle back to E1 and then just walked the rest of the way back to Housekeeping Camp.

half dome, yosemite

Housekeeping Camp

After staying outside the park when we visited Yellowstone, and having to travel over 60kms each day into and out of the park we really wanted to stay inside the park this time. But – we had read and heard that bookings for campsites were rarely available. Bookings open up five months in advance and are fully booked during summer months often within the first few minutes of reservations opening up!! We really thought we had no chance seeing that our trip was such a last minute decision. Two days before our trip I was frantically searching for accommodation nearby, cheap enough and nice enough when I found myself on Yosemite’s website. I had just about given up hope and was checking every lodge and campsite within the park for our dates and was so surprised when housekeeping camp came up as available. I hadn’t even heard of Housekeeping Camp before!!

Turns out, housekeeping camp is a “campsite” that consists of three walled structures with a canvas roof and one canvas side. Each unit has a double bed, one set of bunk beds, a shelf and a mirror inside. Outside each unit is a little verandah area with a picnic table and a fire ring just outside out it. Exactly what we needed for just one night in the park (although I could have happily stayed there much longer). There are showers available at Housekeeping Camp. You get vouchers for these when you check in. (Keep them safe for the duration of your stay -they’re also valid for the hotel swimming pool!). Showing your shower pass gets you a free towel and the showers are supplied with shampoo and body wash!

Campfire Meals

After feeling clean and refreshed we were starving for dinner. We bought some charcoal for 10$ at the general store at the campsite and a lighter for 1$. We set a picnic blanket next to our fire pit and started a fire – of course we were going to braai for dinner! On went our pork steak and down went a couple of beers! Some roasted marshmallows were enjoyed and off to bed we went. After our 3:30am start, we were both so ready for sleep!

Quiet time is from 10pm and though the campsite was lively and full of families it was a super pleasant environment. We slept well, the beds were comfy and the bathrooms nearby. If we came back to Yosemite we would totally stay here again.

Day 2

We set our alarms for 8am and got some coffee from the general store. We were able to have breakfast and pack up at a leisurely pace before 9:30am to start our second day. Our second day included three smaller hikes around the valley. We planned to use the shuttle again on the second day and leave our car parked at Housekeeping Camp. From stop #12 the shuttle can often be pretty busy as it picks up all the visitors from the day parking area just before it. A few buses passed us by before we were finally able to catch one and head to our first hike of the day – Mirror Lake.

Mirror Lake

A popular little hike only 3 miles (4,6km) round trip up to a lake. You can walk along a trail or along a paved road. The lake changes seasonally as it is all snow melt run off but is still a popular place to swim and hang out. We took off our shoes and waded through the water before going back. We hopped back on the bus only an hour or so after we started and headed to our next little “hike” for the day.

yosemite, mirror lake

Lower Yosemite Falls

At stop #6 you’ll find an entrance to this hike which makes an easy little loop trail. Only a mile long and all paved makes it a very accessible and highly popular trail. Stand on the bridge. Starie up at the lower part of the falls. Feel the spray of it in the breeze. AMAZING!! This is the 4th largest waterfall in the world and often stops running by mid summer to fall. This year however they expect it to run all year through as the snow melt has been so huge!

yosemite falls, yosemite

At this, we took the shuttle back to pick up our car. We headed off to our third and final trail of the day. This one was outside of the valley area toward an exit. It made sense to do it on our route out of the park.

Merced Grove

This one is another 3 miler – a quick drop down to a sequoia grove and a slower climb up. The information board suggests it takes 3 to 4 hours but I think that’s a large over estimation. We went down, gawked at the size of them and took a few pictures. We were back up at the car in an hour and 10 minutes. At the bottom there is a 1 mile loop to Twin Bridges if you want to extend your hike.

sequoia, yosemite

The trail starts on Big Oak Flat road at the B7 marker. There is a parking lot and a turn out space for a few more cars. There is a restroom at the start of the trail too! This was helpful as we were heading out the park from here and back to Tahoe.

Yosemite Fees

Yosemite entrance fees: $30 per non commercial vehicle

Interagency annual pass: $80 (this gets you into all national parks in the US for 12 months)

Housekeeping Camp: $98 per night (for up to four people)

 

Yosemite brings our total National Park tally to four in the USA so far.

Have you explored any and which has been your favourite? 

Amsterdam, backpacking, blossoms, chasingkm, Europe, Keukenhof, spring, The Netherlands

Spring Blossoms in Keukenhof Gardens

Ever since I was in grade two I’ve been wanting to visit The Netherlands. I wanted to see tulips and windmills, go to cheese markets and wear clogs and see real delftware and just about everything else we got taught about in our “Around the World'” theme. There really was no doubt that this country would feature on our Eurotrip. Of course, many of these things do not excite Mark as much as they excite me, namely, Keukenhof Gardens – the most beautiful spring garden in the world!

Continue reading “Spring Blossoms in Keukenhof Gardens”

backpacking, chasingkm, Europe, The Netherlands, travel

Eurotrip Part Three – Gouda, The Netherlands

We are finally on the adventure of our life time (up ’till now)! After resigning from our jobs teaching English in South Korea in February, we are traveling through Europe, visiting Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Austria. We spent almost a year planning our two month trip to Europe which eventually evolved into a ten month journey that will see us crisscrossing Europe, Ireland and the USA for a few months. Central America may (hopefully) make its way onto our itinerary.

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backpacking, chasingkm, Europe, outdoors, The Netherlands, travel

Eurotrip Part Three – The Hague and Delft, The Netherlands

We are finally on the adventure of our life time (up ’till now)! After resigning from our jobs teaching English in South Korea in February, we are traveling through Europe, visiting Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Austria. We spent almost a year planning our two month trip to Europe which eventually evolved into a ten month journey that will see us crisscrossing Europe, hopping on over to Ireland and then onto the USA for a few months. Central America may (hopefully) make its way onto our itinerary.

Continue reading “Eurotrip Part Three – The Hague and Delft, The Netherlands”

backpacking, Belgium, Bruges, chasingkm, Europe

Eurotrip Part Two – Bruges, Belgium

We are finally on the adventure of our life time (up ’till now)! After resigning from our jobs teaching English in South Korea in February, we are traveling through Europe, visiting Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Austria. We spent almost a year planning our two month trip to Europe which eventually evolved into a ten to twelve month journey that will see us crisscrossing Europe, hopping on over to Ireland and then onto the USA for a few months. Central America may (hopefully) make its way onto our itinerary.

Continue reading “Eurotrip Part Two – Bruges, Belgium”

backpacking, Belgium, chasingkm, Europe, Ghent, Travel

Eurotrip Part Two – Ghent, Belgium

We are finally on the adventure of our life time (up ’till now)! After resigning from our jobs teaching English in South Korea in February, we are traveling through Europe, visiting Paris, Belgium, The Netherlands, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland and Austria. We spent almost a year planning our two month trip to Europe which eventually evolved into a ten to twelve month journey that will see us crisscrossing Europe, hopping on over to Ireland and then onto the USA for a few months. South and/or Central America may also make its way (hopefully) onto our itinerary.

Continue reading “Eurotrip Part Two – Ghent, Belgium”

festival, Fishing, Korea, life in korea, nature, outdoors, thelazyfisherman

Ice fishing

It took us almost two years to finally go ice fishing. Considering what a fishing fanatic I am this is actually ridiculous. Each time we planned to go our plans were thwarted by work (the Korean last minute “didn’t we tell you about it two months ago-you have training on Saturday”) or weather (the -17°C plus wind chill factor that us Durbanites just can’t handle).

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