Relaxing and Reflecting in Tahoe

Yesterday was our third (and last) rest day of the trip. We were lucky enough to get to spend it in South Lake Tahoe. It’s a bustling tourist town, so unlike the ghost towns we have been staying in for the past week in Nevada. Oh–almost forgot to mention–we made it to California! The day that we rode into town, everyone dispersed to explore the exciting city. Some went to cafés and souvenir stores, others to get food or bike stuff. A lot of people chose to nap. I joined this last group and took a satisfying siesta on the floor of the Grace Center’s stage. Afterwards, a few of us went to the beach, less than a mile up the road, for a quick dip before the sun set.

Even on off days, I find it hard to sleep in, no matter how tired I feel. This time though, I woke up with a mission to see the sun rise over North America’s largest alpine lake. Rob and I found a spot by the same beach we swam in the day before, and sat there, watching the sun’s glow grow out of the mountains. I listened to the ducks and the seagulls and the waves, all singing their distinct morning tunes. It was otherwise silent. So different from the later hours, when cars would constantly be whizzing by.

When the sun finally came out, it put on a magnificent and complex show. Facing the light in the east, the colors in the sky were vibrant and dazzling. Looking towards the west, they were pastel and calm. Both were breathtaking in their own way.

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The day was filled with fun and relaxing activities, including browsing the fruit and veggie selection at a local farmer’s market (have you ever tried an undried prune? They’re delicious!) and sipping mint tea at a cafe. In the afternoon, Adriel, Rob, Todd, and I sat at the beach again, this time with a grill. Todd grilled some chicken, while Rob cooked squash and udon noodles. I took this time to lay on the grass, alternating between reading my book and staring off at the cloudless sky.

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Some of our other teammates joined us by the grill after their cliff diving/jumping excursion. By this time, people had crowded out the water with paddle boards and kayaks. The place was buzzing with human activity.

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With only 4 days left on the road, I realize how much this journey has taught me. Watching the sun rise on the water, I made a promise to be humble to the vastness and beauty of this world. The brevity of our stay here asks us to decide what we want to do and how we want to do it. Some days, you do well. Other days, you can’t wait for the setting sun to erase the records, allowing you to start anew in the morning. Among many other things, I have learned to appreciate the fact that things don’t last forever.

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