Secret Cove on the Lake Tahoe shore was our “decompression” destination after Burning Man last year, but it surely would have been an amazing place to visit even if we hadn’t spent a week in the dusty desert: crystal clear water and fresh mountain air is a great start, but add to that stunning views and a nice laid-back atmosphere, and you’ll see why this spot is so remarkable.
You can enjoy the views of snow-peaked mountains while sunbathing and swimming naked – a combination that is hard to find. As our previous post-burn destinations were oceanic beaches of San Francisco – Marshall’s and Baker – where the water is always cold and obviously salty, Lake Tahoe was clearly a better choice for rehydration of the body, as we could swim in its fresh and refreshing waters.
Lake Tahoe is famous for its large smooth boulders,
and some of the ones at Secret Cove look especially peculiar with their spheric shapes
– also nice to sit on and relax.
A little farther away, the boulders are used for the same purpose by ducks.
Another creature that you’re likely to see sunbathing on the rocks but away from the water is the sagebrush lizard.
Though it’s quite shy and will hide in the bushes if you approach it.
You won’t need to hide your naked self from anyone though, as Secret Cove is an officially recognized clothing-optional location,
popular with locals and tourists alike. Of course most visitors opt for no clothes. This might be a reason why the atmosphere is so friendly there; e.g., I overheard a conversation between a local couple and tourists from Switzerland who had just met there, and an hour later the former invited the latter for a family dinner 🙂
It gets quite busy in the afternoon, as that’s when the thin mountain air gets finally warm (but beware that high altitude also means stronger sun activity). Given that it’s a relatively small cove surrounded by high banks, it doesn’t get too windy. The mornings, however, can be quite chilly even in August and September, and you are more likely to encounter bird-watchers rather than nude sunbathers during early hours.
As an alternative to driving and hiking, some people arrive by boats
or paddle-boards, for which Lake Tahoe must perfect.
When we were there, two women did yoga on the paddle board, something I’m eager to try sometime to challenge my balancing skills.
A large portion of Lake Tahoe shore, including the Secret Cove, is covered by coniferous forest. The most notable tree is the sugar pine,
which is the tallest pine species
and boasts the longest cones of any conifers.
I’m not sure why it’s got its name, perhaps due to the sap leaking from the cones that may appear like a sweet nectar.
Cones of the Jeffrey pine are quite impressive too,
but there are animals who clearly appreciate more than just their appearance:
chipmunks are quite ubiquitous there.
The incense cedars reminded me of the redwoods on California coast, though their size is relatively modest.
The Secret Coved proved to be a great place to reconnect with nature and friends!