Living in Lake Tahoe means living with the wildlife. That means every once in awhile, one will have a close encounter which can be fun, exciting and maybe a little scary.
I was walking my dog along an access road next to the bike trail a few weeks ago. This access road is bordered by woods on both sides but on one side there is a meadow just past the trees. I had just turned around to make my way back to the highway. I heard a crunching sound, like sticks breaking. I stopped, looked, saw nothing and kept walking. I heard it again, stopped again and looked. I saw some critter, light brown, playing and pouncing in the meadow. ‘Oops, that’s a bear!’. I decided it would be a good idea to get my dog out of the way so I grabbed her collar and moved her along the road. After going about 300 feet, I turned around. The light brown critter I saw was actually a cub. It’s mother was a few feet in front of it. We looked at each other, she nodded and kept on going. Whew. . .
Bear sightings are all to0 common and unfortunately, so are break-ins. And then there’s something in between. My neighbor was telling me about coming down the stairs from the house to the garage. When he reached the bottom of the stairs a BIG bear walked past him carrying his daughter’s bag of frozen Easter eggs. The bear had opened the freezer and decided he’d have chocolate for lunch. ‘Sure’ my neighbor said,’ take anything you want.’ He closed the garage door.
One of the most fun sightings was the critter in the office’s back yard. I was walking out the back door when I spotted him eating grass by the tree. It was the largest squirrel I had ever seen. We looked at each other for awhile. Then he stood up and whistled. ‘That’s no squirrel’. So we looked him up. He was actually a yellow bellied marmot, or marmota flaviventris. They usually live at 6500 feet elevation, lake level is 6258. He must have been passing through on his way to greener hills as he was gone the next day.