A few yards beyond the bridge the trail starts. It is a genuine mountain trail, now over rough jagged blocks of granite, then through groves of pines, firs, tamaracks and spruces, where flowers, ferns, mosses and liverworts delight the eyes as they gaze down, and the spiculae and cones and blue sky thrill one with delight as they look above, and where the sunlight glitters through the trees as they look ahead. To the right Eagle Creek comes noisily down, over falls and cascades, making its own music to the accompaniment of the singing voices of the trees. Now and again the creek comes to a quiet, pastoral stretch, where it becomes absolutely “still water”. Not that it is motionless, but noiseless, covered over with trees and vines, that reflect upon its calm surface and half hide the trout that float so easily and lazily through its clear, pure, cold stream.
There is enough of climbing to call into exercise long unused muscles, the granite blocks are rough, angular and irregular enough to exercise eyes, hands and feet to keep one from falling, and the lungs are filled with balsam-ladened mountain-air, fresh from God’s own perfect laboratories, healing, vivifying, rejuvenating, strengthening, while the heart is helped on and encouraged to pump more and more of its blood, drawn from long almost quiescent cells into the air-chambers of the lungs, there to receive the purifying and life-giving oxygen and other chemical elements that multiply the leucocytes vastly and set them at work driving out the disease germs that accumulate and linger in every city-living man’s and woman’s system.
Suddenly from a little rise the lake is revealed. Eagle Lake, or Pine Lake, or Spruce Lake, or Hidden Lake, or Granite Lake, or Sheltered Lake—any of these names would be appropriate. Almost circular in form—that is if you are not expected to be too rigidly exact in geometric terms—it is literally a jewel of lapis lazuli in a setting of granite cliffs.
Here one may sit and rest, enjoying the placid waters of the lake, the rugged grandeur of the immediate cliffs, or the slopes of the towering mountains that encircle the horizon.
Eagle Lake is but one of the hundred of glacially made Sierran lakes of the Tahoe region, but a study of its idiosyncrasies would reveal distinctive and charming characteristics.
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There are two Cathedral Peaks at Tahoe, one above Cathedral Park on Fallen Leaf Lake, the other at the rear of Emerald Bay Camp. Early in the season, 1914, three girls decided to climb this peak from the camp although there was no trail. One of them wrote the following account of the trip: