The Donners of Mesopotamia

[Continues from: “Steak and Egg Breakfast…$3.99”]

© — On the way west out of Reno, we decided to take a look at the second biggest alpine lake in the world: Lake Tahoe.  (The largest alpine lake in the world, Titicaca, is in Peru and wasn’t on our way.)  We weren’t actually headed to Tahoe; we just stopped for gas in Truckee, drove over the highway looking for a place to stretch our legs, and found a park on Lake Donner.  Now, according to the big bronze sign below the big bronze statue, the lake was named after the Donner Party, as was the highway pass above us.  We had all heard entertaining stories about the Donner Party, only partly believing them true.  But here it was, a sign telling us of genuine hardship and sacrifice by a group of people headed west; descendants of people who headed west some time earlier out of Mesopotamia, no doubt.  And these folks were keeping the journey alive, with some, I’ll bet, ending up in Woodacre.  This clearly was a sign (written on a sign) that heading toward Woodacre was the right thing to do.  But first, we all wanted to see what a great big lake in the mountains looked like, so we just drove down the road a piece until we found that lake. (Kinda hard to miss…great big thing.)

As we entered Tahoe City, Billy shouted at me to pull over.  There, on a bridge, was a large collection of…well…the back sides of people leaning way over the railing looking at something.  I pulled into a little parking lot, and we walked over to take a look for ourselves.  They were looking at fish, trout, and real big ones.  A sign said something about no fishing around the bridge, so these beauties were just swimming around, getting fat off of stuff coming over the spillway, and entirely free of the threat of becoming coated in butter, seasoned with salt and pepper, laced with rosemary, shrouded in aluminum foil, and baked at 425° degrees for 15 minutes.  And I was happy for that, too.  Not only did I like the idea of these beautiful fish swimming free, but the whole notion resonated with me.  Ya see, I’ve had times in my life where I was perfectly happy, and then people came along, buttered me up, peppered me with salty stories, told me all about pretty girls like Rosemary before she worked at the diner back home, somehow foiled me, and then, when I dropped my guard…BAM…roasted me at 425°…and left me to bake.  I think we ought to let free creatures swim freely.  Not hurtin’ anybody.  Doin’ just fine livin’ on whatever comes over the spillway.  Let ‘em be…let us be…I say.  Ain’t hurtin’ nobody.

Emerald_Bay_State_Park_2

Emerald Bay, Lake Tahoe

And free we were.  Free to hop back in the car and head south along The Lake.  It was all I could do to not honor the every-ten-minute request by Billy to pull over so he could take yet another look.  He was right…the views were incredible at every turn.  But we had someplace to go, and this was only a little side-trip.  We did pull over at some waterfalls and took a bit to soak up an inlet called Emerald Bay.  It was like a little lake attached to the great big lake, and this little lake had its own island with a tiny stone castle on it.  Ya know, people are always making things seem pretty by comparing them to something else, like comparing this Emerald Bay with the pond back home that the algae grew so thick in you could walk across it to the other side, if you had your snowshoes on.  Yeh, this bay was very pretty…and so was the pond when I was a boy.  I’ll bet the people here take good care of this bay, and the attached lake, and not use it to make trash and cars disappear in like my pond.  But…if we think this is good, well, I’ll bet that place I heard of from fisherman Bill called Clear Lake is super pretty, and doesn’t have a bit of algae in it!  And…it’s supposedly somewhere near Woodacre, so we can stop and take a look for ourselves.  Clear Lake…that just sounds pretty…compared with…say…The Black Lagoon.

(For your convenience, we offer…The Coddiwomplers Route Guide)

Copyright – Robert W. Hansen – 2017

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