Blog readers, you may remember Tim Middleton and his canine companion, Ki (Pronounced “Kee”) from an earlier post on our blog. When Tim’s first article posted, this man-and-dog duo was happily adventuring in Tim’s Sea Eagle FastTrack 385. And they’re still at it today — this time, circumnavigating Lake Tahoe.
If you’re a boater, and you haven’t been to ‘Tahoe, you’re missing an awesome experience. Crystal clear water to about 70 feet, gorgeous mountain vistas, sandy and/or rocky shores, this is one BIG freshwater lake, nearly 125 MILLION acres — that’s 500 square miles. Lake Tahoe straddles the Nevada/California line at 6,225 feet above sea level. Don’t drop your tackle box — it’s estimated to be 1,645 feet deep! And, per the USGS, it’s 72 miles around.
Tim tells his adventure story. “Lake Tahoe means many things to many people. For some, it’s about kayaking, paddle boarding, and all kinds of boating. Others go fishing, hiking, or camping in rustic cabins. For others, it’s about the gambling casinos on the Nevada side. Me? I enjoy being in the outdoors. Ki and I do a lot of adventuring. Mountaineering, hiking, camping, and kayaking, of course.
Ki and I have taken many day trips in my Sea Eagle FastTrack 385. And recently we’ve been going on extended boating-and-camping trips. Our big trip last summer was circumnavigating Lake Tahoe — eight days, seven nights, and 72 miles of paddling
Trusting my adventuring abilities, and with a bit of info from Lake Tahoe Water Trail Organization, we put in at South Lake Tahoe, the most populous community on the lake, and headed clockwise. Lots of boaters do the lake one segment at a time but I wanted to do it adventure-style, all in one trip. I think what’s so unique about this trip is it was total immersion — 8 days, 7 nights, all along every inch of the entire shoreline. Ki and I got to know the lake intimately. It’s much different and better that way instead of visiting just one portion of a lake, one beach, at a time.
Hauled cargo like an ocean tanker
You’ve got to be prepared. The first night there was a bear on the beach. We had mostly clear weather but stayed holed up in camp 26 hours straight during some high winds and small craft advisory warnings. Safety’s always #1 when boating. I respect the water and you really want to be prepared.
I packed a lot of gear and 10 days of food in a plastic tub so we rode lower in the water than usual — the Sea Eagle hauled cargo like an ocean tanker! It worked out fabulously. Big load, no problem. We went through heavy waves, 2-foot swells with wind chop blowing into the boat. I never felt we were in trouble, though. I went diagonally to the waves but even when we took them parallel to the boat it was stable. I was very impressed.
My Sea Eagle really proved itself as a worthy craft. At one point, we headed out of a cove into some waves and wind whipped spray over the bow. Ki turned and gave me ‘that look’ and I said, ‘Hey, sorry Ki, I’m doing my best here.’
I got Sea Eagle’s QuickSail and there were days when I had a nice tailwind. I’d put up the sail and enjoy a nice, free ride. Meanwhile, Ki would sometime stand and ride the bow like a ship’s figurehead.
Floating above gigantic boulders in 40’ of crystal-clear water
We paddled past all kinds of big and little houses. Multi-million dollar homes and rustic lodges. Long stretches of undeveloped, very remote wooded land. In a few days, we got to Sand Harbor at the northeast end of the lake. It’s truly remarkable there. We floated in 30 or 40 feet of water and could see clear to the bottom. And standing on the bottom were huge boulders, some 20 feet tall, reaching nearly to the surface.
Then we paddled south down to State Line that marks the Nevada and California border, and back to our starting point at South Lake Tahoe.
Dragged over rocks
Ki and I traveled in the same Sea Eagle I bought four years ago. We’ve beached it many times, dragged it up on rocks and coarse sand, but it shows hardly any wear at all. It’s a very tough boat.
Our next trip? I’m planning to paddle the Big River at Mendocino, California, for some classic flat-water kayaking. Friends tell me it’s an eight-mile tidal estuary within a beautiful California coast forest. I’m told there’s bioluminescent algae there.”
— Tim Middleton & Ki, Sea Eagle FastTrack 385 adventurers