Cascade Falls is a relatively unknown part of Lake Tahoe’s backcountry and well worth the short twenty minute hike from the Bay View Campground at Emerald Bay. The views are breathtaking and the sound of the water is overpowering.
The trail is easy and somewhat flat.
When you reach the top of the falls, granite dominates and the views are fabulous.
During early spring, the falls are flowing beyond the banks and difficult to cross.
A link to a YouTube video is below. If you have a moment, take a peek and listen to the sound of the water cascading over the granite into the lake. Eventually, this water rests in Lake Tahoe, travels down the Truckee River out of Tahoe City, and ends the journey at Pyramid Lake just outside of Reno.
This clip was taken from the West Shore of Tahoe. The reflection Heavenly Valley on the lake was beautiful. What caught my eye was the lack of activity on the lake, empty buoys and one lone sailboat.
For years, I drove through a tunnel on the southern end of Lake Tahoe, Cave Rock, the Washoe’s De’ek Wadapush, unaware of its history and cultural significance to our native peoples. A highway was provided for us to drive through and I never gave it a second thought. The Washoe protested as holes were bored and the road was laid through the sacred cave in 1931 and again in the 1950’s.
The Lady of the Lake’s face can be clearly seen from the waters of Lake Tahoe. She gazes north, watching over the lake and the Me’tsunge, Waterbabies, who, according to Washoe legend, created the rivers, lakes, and streams in the area. De’ek Wadapush is believed to be the gathering place for the Me’tsunge who impart their power and knowledge onto shaman seeking their guidance. Summer months for the Damomliw included travel to De’ek Wadapush for ceremony and ritual. Communication with the Me’tsunge is believed to be essential for balance and medicine within the population and earth itself.
During the 1980’s, rock climbers, seeking challenging climbing routes, unknowingly defaced the cave’s granite with their climbing gear. Tribal culture and traditions were ignored. The Washoe again protested the loss of their sacred cave and demanded respect. The United States Court of Appeals sided with the Forest Service who sought cultural identity for the Washoe. Climbing of De’ek Wadapush was banned in 2007 in order to preserve this cultural site for the Washoe and bring some relief to the desecration.
This 75 feet of solid granite has been nominated for the National Register of Historic Places with a designation of “Traditonal Cultural Property”. For the Washoe, De’ek Wadapush is a sacred place for spiritual renewal with centuries of cultural tradition. After many years of battle, restoration for the Lady of the Lake is underway.
While either snowshoeing along the lake’s edge, skiing off the ridge tops, or hiking into the back country, I reflect upon the wisdom of those who walked these lands before us. Their love of nature and its wealth of resources has preserved an environment that is truly precious.
Native American tribes, the Martis, Washo, Shoshone, and Piute, have lived in the Sierras for 6,000 years. They honored the land and used only the resources they needed for survival, believing that earth and man was one. To destroy the land would bring destruction to its people. They lived in concert with the environment.
John Muir, one of my Scottish heroes, referred to the high sierra crest as “The Range of Light”. Like many of us, he was dazzled by the symphony of color and ever changing tones of the Sierras. The vistas contiually change, giving us moments of reflection on nature’s majesty and unspoiled beauty. Muir first visited Lake Tahoe in the Fall of 1873 stating Lake Tahoe was the “queen of lakes” and devoted his life to preserving the Sierras. He believed destruction of the environment would bring destruction to man’s very soul.
Like Muir, I am continually amazed at the constant change of color and quiet peacefullness the land transfers. Like our Native Americans, I believe man and the land are connected, and feel fortunate Da-ow-a-ga is home. Rugged mountain peaks rise above mirrored lakes as spectacular granite sculptures, encompassing acres upon acres of wilderness. Let’s continue preserving this place we love so much!
Nature’s peace will flow into you as sunshine flows into trees. The winds will blow their own freshness into you, and the storms their energy, while cares will drop off like Autumn leaves” (John Muir).
Community. What does it mean to you? A group of individuals inhabiting the same area with similar interests? Or, is it more? This past weekend, Tahoe residents gathered to celebrate the life of two separate individuals. They were both sons, husbands, brothers, grandchildren, co-workers, friends, and local Tahoe-Truckee residents. Their paths never crossed during the course of their lives but many knew them both. Our loss is heartfelt.
I am grateful for this small mountain community. The jewel of the Sierra’s, Da-ow-a-ga (Tahoe), was considered by the native tribes to have healing powers. Da-ow-a-ga was sacred and a “giver of life”. Tahoe’s magic is not only found in the land but extends to the people who live here.
Community? What does it mean to me? Everything! The true soul of the High Sierras is found in the people who love and support one another unconditionally. Da-ow-a-ga gives life to it’s people by providing enchanting beauty, a stillness, resources, and an everlasting strength. Its people are truly one with the land – magical.