But I would not have my reader assume from the recital of this experience that Lake Tahoe is always too cold for swimming. Such is not the case. Indeed in June, July, August and September the swimming is delightful to those who enjoy “the cool, silver shock of the plunge in a pool’s living water,” that Browning’s Saul so vividly pictures for us. Hundreds of people—men, women and children—in these months indulge in the daily luxury, especially in the coves and beaches where the water is not too deep, and the sun’s ardent rays woo them into comfortable warmth.
After a warm day’s tramp or ride over the trails, too, there is nothing more delicious than a plunge into one of the lakes. A short, crisp swim, a vigorous rub down, and a resumption of the walk or ride and one feels fit enough to conquer a world.
It can be imagined, too, what a lively scene the Lake presents in the height of the season, when, from the scores of hotels, resorts, camps, private residences, fishermen’s camps, etc.; fishing-boats, row-boats, launches, motor-boats, and yachts ply to and fro in every direction, unconsciously vying with each other to attract the eye of the onlooker. The pure blue of the Lake, with its emerald ring and varying shades of color, added to by the iridescent gleam that possesses the surface when it is slightly rippled by a gentle breeze, contrasting with the active, vivid, moving boats of differing sizes, splashed with every conceivable color by the hats and costumes of the occupants—all these conspire to demand the eye, to enchain the attention, to harmlessly hypnotize, as it were, those who sit on the shore and look.
And when is added to this the spontaneous shouts and shrieks of delight that the feminine “fishermen” give when they are successful and make a catch, the half-frenzied and altogether delighted announcements thereof, the whole-hearted or the half-jealous, half-envious return-congratulations, while now and then the large steamer, Tahoe, or an elegant private yacht, as the Tevis’s Consuelo, crosses the scene, one may partially but never fully conceive the joy and radiant happiness, the satisfaction and content that Lake Tahoe inspires and produces.
Lake Tahoe covers about 190 square miles, and its watershed is about 500 square miles. The boundary line between Nevada and California strikes the Lake on the northern border at the 120th meridian, and a point at that spot is called the State Line Point. The latitude parallel of this northern entrance is 39 deg. 15”. The boundary line goes due south until about 38 deg. 58” and then strikes off at an oblique angle to the southeast, making the southern line close to Lakeside Park, a few miles east of the 120th meridian.
FREMONT AND THE DISCOVERY OF LAKE TAHOE
Like so many other great discoveries that were to have an important effect upon the lives of countless numbers of people, the discovery of Lake Tahoe was accidental. Nor did its finder comprehend the vast influence it was to possess, not only upon the residents of California and Nevada, but upon the travel-loving and sight-seeing portion of the population of the whole world.