Sometimes it’s nice to disconnect a little and get lost in nature with good company and that’s what we’ve been doing the last few days camping with family in South Lake Tahoe. I love that Lake Tahoe is just over a 2 hour drive away, but worlds different in scenery and weather. We started the camping adventure by stopping in Auburn at Nectar Cafe for lunch, we’re on a quest to try all the vegan options on the menu and have not been disappointed yet. I got the Curry Tempeh Wrap that was blissfully loaded with veggies and a sweet and creamy curry sauce.
Hubby tried the Tempeh Reuben sandwich, also awesome with sauerkraut and tangy, rich flavors.
Then it was on to D.L. Bliss State Park to set up camp.
This is the third year we’re doing annual family camping trips trying different campsites and lengths. Last year we did 5 nights and four days which was nice to enjoy the park a little longer since it was a 5+ hour drive to get there, but got interesting by the 4th day, we were a little tired and cranky, low on supplies, and ready for our own beds. So we tried a shorter trip this year at just 3 nights and 2 days since it was a much shorter drive to get to Tahoe. Hubby and I arrived early before the rest of the group and got busy setting up our site.
Menu planning for this trip was a little rough, I didn’t get as much time as I’d like with work stress and lack of motivation. So thank goodness for Lightlife Vegan Smart Dogs, they’ve become a campfire tradition.
Kind of a childish camp dinner, but tasty and fun and the smart dogs were a hit with the kids too.
I did not have time to locate all the ingredients for vegan s’mores, finding vegan graham crackers locally is not easy! But I’m happy with simple Trader Joe’s vegan marshmallows charred over the fire.
The first night was a little rough because a car alarm went off at a neighboring campsite randomly during the night, but the gorgeous trail run on the Rubicon Trail made up for that.
Great views of South Lake Tahoe from high up.
After, I headed to one of the shower/bathroom buildings for a quick shower before the rest of the day’s activities and had the worst shower of my life because the the hot water did not work at all. And it got down to the low 40s/high 30s that night so guess how cold the water was. And I used two paid shower tokens hoping the warm water would eventually kick in, so it was a pricey shower from hell. The other shower bathroom building had the opposite problem – the cold water did not work so it was either freezing cold or burning hot showers. Washing my hair for free at the laundry stations that actually had working warm and cold water would have been better, heh.
When I recovered from the shower, hubby and I took the scenic 1.5 mile hike on the Rubicon Trail to get down to the beach to meet the rest of the gang and it was amazing.
The views of the lake were breathtaking.
We didn’t swim at the beach, we joined hanging with the group briefly before hiking some more and taking in more views.
Then back to the campsite in the afternoon for some relax and reading time, it was so peaceful and perfect just to site outside the tent, watch chipmunks, and read. Later we got busy preparing dinner for the rest of the group, hubby chopped a large batch of Yukon Gold potatoes to cook in a tinfoil pouch with onions and seasoned salt.
And we roasted corn too for a simpler, but fun campfire dinner.
There was also hummus and carrots, chips, and black beans with other burrito fixings because everyone brought food for preparing making it a fun buffet.
The next morning I headed out on the light house trail for a quick run which was more of a walk because of all the technical, uphill parts. Plus trail running at nearly a 7,000 ft. elevation is just a little tiring! But beautiful and peaceful and I handled the altitude fine beyond being a little slower, no altitude sickness.
Being able to run with these views each morning was blissful.
After that, we headed back to the beach to hang and swim with family. Now Lake Tahoe is beautiful, but it’s cold – really cold! It never bothered me as a kid on family vacations, but it’s much tougher to swim in as an adult.
I swam for a bit and rowed around with my niece in a little boat, but I was happy to park it on the warm beach after and explore more trails and nearby beaches.
And found a few of these cool rock statues.
Watch the geese carefully clean up any food left behind.
And just take in the crisp and clear water.
Back at the campsite, we had another interesting buffet for dinner. I prepared a tinfoil lentil and veggie dish and had it over a salad with baked beans and chopped Lightlife Vegan Smart Dogs.
Then enjoyed dusk chatting and playing cards.
The next day we had the tent and everything packed up and in the car by 10 am, much faster than I thought it. Somehow the car seemed more full which I’m not sure how that’s possible without all the food and water jugs. It was a fun few days, great to spend time with family, have fun, and be active in nature. And I enjoyed to cooler weather for sleeping, such a nice change after our triple digit heat wave. I’m enjoying our camping trips more now that we’re getting better at preparing for them and looking forward to more in the future since there are so many great campgrounds all around us.