Beach Resort, Great Food and an Exception Chickadee Ridge Snowshoe Adventure
Tahoe Vista, March 13, 2023 – In my 29 years of marriage the one thing that has become a standard for us as a couple are overnighter vacations. By overnighter, we often go for only 24 hours. something about getting out of the house and just being someplace different refreshes us for an upcoming season of life. Sunday we decided to spend our 29th anniversary in North Lake Tahoe, hoping to relax and enjoy a little outdoor adventure before returning home late Monday and my wife digs in at work for a busy season.
A beautiful and Relaxing Stay at Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort
I have driven past Tahoe Vista region of North Shore hundreds of times, without even stopping once. So when my wife asked me why I choose the Mourelatos Lakeshore Resort, I kind of chuckled and said, well they had great online reviews and what looked like great Lake Tahoe access. Up on arriving at the resort, which is only 35 minutes from our home in the Carson Valley, we instantly knew one thing, we need to return in the summer or fall season so we can enjoy the beach and views as for in 2023 the beach was buried in feet of snow.
The staff at Mourelatos was supper friendly suggesting several locations near by for dinner and let us know our room had a gas fire place for heat and a great view of sunset and the lake. The rooms at the resort were extremely spacious, comfortable and each room slanted at the entry way with a large window facing Lake Tahoe. A large wooden deck wrapped both the front and back of the rooms and came furnished with outdoor furniture to enjoy the resort, lake and outdoors.
As is typical when arriving at a resort after a Sunday of serving at Church, my wife and I relaxed and took a short nap, relieved from the stresses at home that tend to keep us moving until exhaustion on most days. After a quick nap I proceeded to inspect eh snow pack on the lake and quickly learned I needed my snowshoes, as the rain had softened the snow on the beach so I made plans for an early dinner and late afternoon snowshoe on the shores.
Dinner at Za’s on the Lake
Selecting dinner out for us is always a bit challenging. Yes it was our anniversary, and i probably should have just made reservations and helped the process. Instead we took a look at local websites based on location and the recommendations from the resort. There were many options with in 5-10 miles of the resort and since the weather was not stopping us from traveling, we choose a relaxed dinner menu that gave Wendy some great vegetarian options. Za’s at the Lake seemed to be a locals type of place based on reviews and events calendar online, and they had a great view of the Lake from the dinning area which was something we wanted to enjoy. With no reservation on this wintery Sunday we needed no reservations.
Za’s has the feel of a locals Pub with wood interiors accents, large windows to enjoy the lake, a summer deck and a large bar separated from the dining room by a short wall. The atmosphere was exactly what we felt we would find. Tables full of locals and possibly traveling skiers enjoying pizza, pasta and burgers. Wendy enjoyed a great vegetarian pasta dish and I was able to get a great beer and enjoyed a smoked chicken alfredo, that left me overly full. Still its our anniversary so dessert was in order. A berry Crumble and these delicious Fried Donuts put the cap on our enjoyable lake side dinner experience.
After dinner, the snow had started falling so we headed back to the resort and I grabbed the snowshoes and headed for the beach. I have always wanted to snowshoe on the shores of the lake. It didn’t disappoint, but because of the wet conditions, I got soaked. The one things that stood out as I trekked from pier to pier along the shore was how Northshore always emulates the ocean to me as the sounds of the waves on the shore have the same rhythmic nature, with a little less force.
A Morning Snowshoe Adventure To Chickadee Ridge At Tahoe Meadows
Five to six years ago I had taken Wendy to Chickadee ridge for the first time, to experience what is best described as the true Disney princess experience of Lake Tahoe and the Sierra. The feeding of the local chickadee birds is really a great idea for a date or anniversary with your spouse. Yes, they will have to hike or snowshoe, but having swarms of these little mountain birds landing in their hands seems to melt away any anxiety of the adventure.
For us today the conditions were not that hospitable, especially for my wife. the snow depths already extreme, were bolstered by a new layer of powder (Approximately 10 inches) and the strong winds and cloud cover made visibility nothing but challenging on this day. I personally don’t think i have ever snowshoed on so much snow. The tree wells were at least 8-10 feet deep and some trees seemed to be holding 3-5 feet of snow on each limb. I felt our chances of finding the Chickadee were slim, so planned a shorter route (loop for my wife) as we broke trail between cross country ski tracks avoiding tree wells the best we could.
It was a surreal and stunning landscape, walking through the forest with snow cone limbs is always a favorite of ours while snowshoeing. low and behold as I stop for a brief sip of water a spot a mountain chickadee on a nearby tree. Without hesitation I reached for the seeds and the little guy landed on my hand before I even had the bag completely open. Filling Wendy’s had(s) we were soon swarmed with what seemed like dozens of the Mountain Chickadee ducking out from the snow packed branches and landing on our hands, hoods, and coats as they scrambled to take turns feeding from our hands. Like I said, nothing makes you feel like Snow white more.
As I turned my focus to capturing the photos an videos of the moment, I found great joy in knowing that this memory would last a lifetime and started to take in the scenic wonder of what I wars witnessing. All around Wendy the forest was draped in snow, the powered was deed enough you can see your feet even in snowshoes and these little birds are now on the ground in front of her, in her palm, on her hood and flying around her. It really is a scenic wonder meant for the movies. Unfortunately like all great movie experiences the bird seed does run out and the storm just kept coming so it was time to say good by and head for the meadow.
As we approached the meadow again the clouds were ling on the meadow and visibility with the wind was maybe 35 feet. So as we tucked in next tot he tree line and headed back tot he car, I was stunned a bit to see a couple and their dog heading into the meadow on their cross country ski’s. their wise old dog following along in their tracks as the powder and depth of snow was not going to be an easy trek if he choose to lead. The picture below is a great visual of the current conditions. Us that love to play in the snow will not let a little weather stop us for a great day outdoors.
As for the Chickadee, it is a long winter and we may be back, but I love listening to these great birds all year round on our adventures. Sometimes referred to as the cheeseburger birds their melody call in the sierra often sounds like they are calling for a cheeseburger. I have had no luck feeding these little hunters during the summer and fall season, in the Sierra, so I am not too certain they are just conditioned in the Tahoe meadows area. I do knw that up until a year or two ago the feeding of the birds was a bit controversial here in the Tahoe Basin. However a recent study by the University of Nevada showed that feeding the birds, as long as we are feeding them appropriate foods had no harm to the Chickadee. The Chickadee are exceptional at storing food stashes in the summer and remembering where ever seed is when they needed it in the winter. So the supplemental feeding by guests is not needed to help the Chickadee survive. On the contrary this little bird is well adapted to the Sierra winters and is one of the few full time residents of the Sierra mountains around the Reno Tahoe Basin
All in all another great trip and experience in the Sierra Nevada. Next time I will try to stay longer.
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