Friday, 20 January 2012

Strange emeralds and ill-advised signs

Our stay in the Lake Tahoe region continues to provide constantly renewed pleasures. Some of my satisfaction comes in the form of mild irony, but hey, there are few things I appreciate as much - why would I complain?

For instance, the justification for being here at all is to get on with some work. That was supposed to reach its end early this morning, a time marked by splendid sunshine, warming us as we stepped outside, sparkling on the lake below us. But we overran and because, really, genuinely, we’re not hear on holiday (sorry, vacation: this is the US after all), we conscientiously ploughed on until we’d finished our agenda. By which time the clouds had come up, the temperature had fallen, a bitter wind had begun to blow and, before we got to the local beauty spot of Emerald Bay, the snow had started to fall.

Snow. All week we’d been hoping for snow so that we might get a little skiing in before heading back to the big city on Saturday, and not a single snowflake had fallen. It chose instead to start coming down once we’d decided on a hike.

Emerald Bay remained gorgeous place, but it had some trouble living up to its name. Unless of course there is a breed of emerald that is a fine slate grey trending towards jet black (do emeralds have breeds? Not that it matters - I’m sure they don’t have this one.)

Lovely spot. But emerald?
As it happens I nearly didn’t make it down to the lakeside. As we started out on the hike (or gentle country stroll to use the term we prefer in England) I came across a warning sign.

A whole mile? Bad news for health conditions apparently - whatever the condition.
In any case, aren't they lying? We surely are being advised. By this very sign.
Do I have a health condition? Well, of course I do. The condition of my health is, mercifully, pretty good. But it’s certainly a condition.

Should I have stayed in the car park (sorry, parking lot)? Perhaps in the van itself, with the heater on? It would have protected me from the cold and the snow, certainly, but can you imagine? I would have missed the unique experience of seeing grey emerald waters.

In the end I decided that I couldn’t deprive myself of that pleasure and headed down the path. But not without gratitude to the Park authorities for showing such solicitude for my wellbeing.

Thanks, guys.

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