My relationship with Lake Tahoe has been intermittent since 1943 when I visited here one day. I don’t remember that well — I was young — except for the open pine forest where we camped and the vast expanse of lake. At that time my father was working at what is now the San Francisco International Airport and we were living in Burlingame, California.
My next major event in this area was in late January 1960, when I was a US Air Force pilot attending Survival School at Stead Air Force Base, near Reno, Nevada. The conclusion of that training was living without food or shelter in the wilderness north of Tahoe, but at a slightly higher altitude, about 7,000 feet, for most of a week. It was cold, and we were hungry, and were forced to move several miles every night and set up a new camp. That was a major experience of my life. Perhaps the most unexpected discovery what just how really foolish some of the most intelligent, sanest, healthiest, best educated people in the world could be, even in this fairly safe and controlled learning situation.
From the mid-1960’s I was living in Berkeley, and most summers would come up to this area a couple of weekends every summer, just to camp and hike. That was pleasant. Then one time I organized a group of a dozen or more folks from the Mediterraneum coffee shop on Telegraph Avenue to go to Markleeville for a weekend, and we all had a very pleasant time. Remembered for decades, over coffee. Somehow, two summers after that campout, we had rented a cabin from the family of one of our group in South Lake Tahoe, and I sit here writing this post in that same living room some thirty years later. We always come up the second week of September, partly for the Reno Air Races, the Harrah’s car show, the always perfect weather, and just to live for a week of routine quiet. For me this is usually, mentally fiddling with some invention, reading, and the last five years writing a slightly different blog post. Back in about 1995 I created, at least worked a lot on, my first shorthand system – Probascript. Last week I Googled “shorthand” and found my system occupied two of the top ten listings. Of course that doesn’t mean anything anymore because no one is going to use shorthand when computers and recording devices are so cheap and effective. However, I have this last month created a new shorthand – Alpha One Stroke – which is much easier and can be read by uninitiated people.
The original gang of people who formed the pool who came to this cabin has dwindled to me age 78, John 90, and Laurie 87. Almost every year we thought it might be our last trip, but it now seems almost impossible that this one isn’t the last of the last.
Every year I have raised a toast to our close friend Don Davis who died in 1985, and his family. Thank You, for providing this refuge for us wandering souls.