Hello from Lake Tahoe!
Yep – when you’re reading this, I will be in the air on my way home from California after spending a few days in Lake Tahoe with my three best friends. (But if you follow my Instagram – @beauty.beyond.bones – you already knew that!)
Every summer for the last five years, we’ve taken a girls trip! I’ve been friends with these girls since I was born, practically, and these little getaways are such a special time for us. And one of the gals is getting married next year, so it was extra meaningful to celebrate her upcoming nuptials.
But that’s not why you clicked on this article. Because I buried the lead: Lake Tahoe is in a terrible situation right now with the forest fires.
The Caldor and Tamarak Fires have been absolutely devastating South Lake Tahoe, causing apocalyptic scenes throughout the entire Lake Tahoe region.
As of publication, after a wind shift, the fire worsened this morning, and is only 14% contained, and has burned 177,260 acres. This morning, all of South Lake Tahoe was ordered to evacuate, and firefighters are doing everything they can to contain this unprecedented fire, including enlist the snow guns at the Tahoe Ski Resort to combat the flames.
Many of you wonderful friends have reached out, after seeing my Instagram stories, to check on my safety, (which I am very grateful for!) Thankfully, as you can see from the map below, the fires are in South Lake Tahoe. We were located in North Lake Tahoe, in the little town of Truckee at my friend’s family cabin. So you can see that we were thankfully out of harm’s way. And God willing, Truckee will stay that way.
But the entire region was feeling the devastating effects.
When we flew in, the pilot announced over the intercom the you could see the fires out the window, and sure enough, this huge wall of the thickest smoke was billowing into the atmosphere. It was surreal. It looked like a scene from a movie.
It was at this point that we knew we were in for quite the experience. And it was truly unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. The air quality was dangerously bad. For comparison, New York City’s air quality is usually around 25-40. (The higher the number, the worse the air quality). The air quality in Truckee was 208. We kept the windows closed in the house the entire time. We only went outside for about 15 minutes a day — while wearing N95 masks. (We even wore N95 masks while driving!)
But the air was so smokey, you’d walk outside and you were instantly hit with a wall of intense campfire smell – as though the campfire was burning all around you, and multiplied by 1000. But it wasn’t just the smell — it burned your nostrils. It burned your eyes — like that feeling of swimming with your eyes open in the chlorine for an entire afternoon as a kid.
And not only that, but our VOICES changed! I sounded like I had been a chain smoker for the last decade! We were so raspy!
It was scary. We were light headed, there was absolutely no exercising because it was so dangerous, and it’s safe to say that all the activities we had booked (from mountain biking, to hiking, to kayaking, to a boat dinner cruise) were cancelled, full stop.
We left the house once to go to dinner in town, but as you can see from the photo below — the air was dusty brown. That’s not an artistic filter on that photo — it was the air quality.
But the wildest thing, was seeing actual Lake Tahoe itself. One afternoon, we suited up in our glasses and N95 masks, and drove to the lake to have a soda on the beach for about 15 minutes, just to see it.
Lake Tahoe is described as a beautiful, scenic vista, where the mountains meet the water. The water is usually crystal clear blue, with a beach that’s packed with tourists and locals alike.
Friends. It looked like a scene out of Armageddon. We were literally THE ONLY PEOPLE on the entire beach. For as far as the eye could see. Those boats were not filled with people, they were just moored in the harbor.
My friend Sam, whose cabin it was, was speechless….“There are supposed to be mountains there. You can usually see into Nevada!”
All we saw was a smokey, cloud of white.
We lasted about 17 minutes before we had to get back to fresh air.
And as I sit here, heading back to the safety of Manhattan, out of harms way, not only am I incredibly grateful to be heading home in one piece, but I can’t help but have a heavy, hurting heart for the Tahoe Region, as it gets pummeled by the flames. And my deepest prayers are with those who are risking their lives to fight it, and those who are physically in harm’s way.
I was watching Mass on Sunday, and Father Mike mentioned that parts on Minnesota are also battling devastating forest fires. Coupled with the terrible hurricane destruction in Louisiana and all the tragedy happening in Afghanistan — it seems like there is so much hurt going on in the world. And all I can do is pray for God’s protection over His people and His creation.
And I welcome you to join me in that prayer.
So – now for the million dollar question: should we have gone? Because according to my father, uhh…no.
But all things considered, the deep conversations we had, and the most surreal scenes we’ve ever witnessed made it one of the most memorable trips yet. We did nothing except bond and hang out together (and also do a puzzle). But it turns out, when you’re with your people, that’s all you really need.
Lord, protect those who are risking everything to protect us, and literally rain down on your creation to snuff this destructive fire. Protect those who are in harms’ way, and thank you for keeping my friends and I safe while we were there.
Thanks for reading, and I’ll talk to you on Wednesday.
PS – Apologies that this post is late, the upload didn’t work on the airplane because the WiFi was down!!
“This is what the Lord says to these bones: I will make breath enter you, and you will come to life.” Ez 37:5
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28 responses to “An Apocalyptic Girls Trip”
Nice article, wonderful and useful, thank you, you are wonderful and beautiful
Thank you friend. Hugs and love xox
Fortunately my daughter moved down to Roseville a little further away from fire and smoke.
Oh gosh thank goodness! I’m glad she’s out of harms way! It’s really terrible what’s happening to that beautiful region. Thanks Ian for stopping by. Hugs and love xox
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Wow, the fire and smoke scenes are terrible! I’m glad that you and your best friends still had a great time though, Caralyn! You all look so lovely!
That’s so scary! Glad you had a good time, but are getting out of that smoky air.
I’m about 100 miles or so from where you were. I’ve been getting the smoke here on some days, depending on how the wind is moving. It’s become more and more common over the last few years… and, of course, everyone is turning this into a political issue, with the Left blaming climate change and the Right blaming poor management of forests by those who are anti-logging at all costs. I’m glad you were able to find a positive this trip… and I’m sorry you didn’t get to see the area in all its true beauty.
Good to hear you and your friends had a good bonding time despite the fires. Where I live many summers have forest fires to contend with. Personally, I would have chosen another place to vacation due to the smoke and how quickly fires can shift. Glad you got back home safely. Love and hugs!
All those affected by the fires have my prayers dear lady, I’m in Australia and know their pain, be it people or nature ❤️ 🙏🏽 🦋
I’m glad that you and your best friends are back safely❤ Really hope that the fire will stop🙏
Great article. Beautiful pics too!
This is so heartbreaking to see.
Thank God you came back safe.
I pray the fire stops already.
Amazing scenes but glad you and your friends are safe
Like we are experiencing currently with our sons, you rush towards danger as if it were an adventure. This keeps us dads up in the middle of the night in prayer. So be gentle and thankful for your dad’s concerns. Some day Lord willing you’ll be a mother of adult kids who you will still want to protect and understand his heart. Glad you were blessed. Maybe it was because dad and nom were praying for you!
I’m glad you got out safely. Hopefully, you’ll recover from al the smoke before long. There is so much to pray about these days one wonders when it will all slow down. Or will things keep accelerating? I have to wonder!
I like how in the midst of it all, you continue to look on the good things. You have a thankful heart.
Yes, we must continue to pray in thanksgiving and declare that our God is the God of the impossible! He is faithful!
Praying on many fronts, for all to be saved both physically, but more important, spiritually.
Kind of hard to hit the Like button on a blog like this, but Jesus said, “All these are but the beginning of the birth pains.” Matthew 24:8. We need to keep reading the Word and prepare our hearts for what comes next; read verses 9-14. Not a pretty picture, but Father has it all under His control. Even so, Lord Jesus, come!
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thank you for the link up! Hugs and love xox
I am so glad that you and your girlfriends were safe and protected! The photos are horrific! Just looking at them makes it feel difficult for me to breathe.
I believe that prayer is the best thing that we can do in relation to fires or any other disasters.
You mentioned that the wind turned and that increased the fire. Wind has tremendous power and by using the power of prayer to have the wind turn the other direction and push the fire back into itself will work to put the fire out. If people will pray and believe that God will act, He will! But, it takes people who will do just that, PRAY and BELEIVE, for God’s power to occur! God does listen to our prayers and He does act on them! The problem is that most people do not, actually, believe that God will act on their prayers. I am convinced that if all people would have PRAYED and BELIEVED, that many disasters would have been averted and can be averted. I always felt this about the sinking of the “Titanic”. GOD CAN DO ANYTHING! HE CAN CHANGE ANY CIRCUMSTANCE!
Thank you so much Delores, I appreciate your kind words and for sharing your thoughts on this. There is definitely power in prayer!! Hugs and love xox
You are so wonderful Caralyn! I love how you stand for Jesus and His Father God! And, how you do all that you can to help others.
I have had so many “coincidences” when it has come to prayer and answers to them. When I read your blog about the Tahoe fire it reminded me of the fires in California where I lived most of my early life. There was a fire very close to our home, with ashes falling from the sky and it was very frightening. I started praying and asked God to turn the wind the other direction so that it would turn the fire into itself. My prayer was answered and the wind shifted and our home was spared! That is why I felt compelled to write what I wrote above.
I have so many answered prayers that I could relate to you. Even ones that seem too trivial to mention or even pray about. But, what is amazing is that they, too, have been answered. And, that I have been able to share them with others for testimonies of what can and will do to bring them closer to God. The hardest thing is to have really important prayers go unanswered and have to, patiently, wait for His Hand to work in them, and to continue to keep believing while we wait. That is our test!
Hugs and love to you, too!
The government can blame this all on climate change all they want, but a few degrees is not enough to start fires. The biggest culprit here is basic forest mismanagement. By enforcing these extreme conservationist policies, we are actually loosing our world’s forests at a more rapid rate.
The current state of California is a prime example of what the Democrats do the best – Destroy. The cities are over polluted with garbage and homeless people and the forests are completely mismanaged.
If you don’t take it into consideration, look what happened with Australia a couple of years ago with the fires.. A whole continent lit ablaze because of forest mismanagement. But now when you look at the land, you see what God and mother nature does best, restoration. The native aboriginals used to light controlled fires all over to promote the growth and protect the forest.
Now save on tiny sections that are controlled by the native population, such stuff is not allowed. As a result, you have large areas of all the dead trees are basically lying there as fire wood, ready to ignite and burn with one tiny heat source.
Everyone seems to think that this world will survive just fine without human intervention. That is partly true, but you have to remember that the world was created by God for us humans to enjoy. Adam was not just living in garden of Eden. He was supposed to tend to the garden of Eden. Even garden needs a gardener. That is what we are supposed to do. Look after the forests, cut down the dead trees and remove them so healthy ones can grow. But no.. we have to listed to extreme conservationists; who think that they know it all.
Hey Greta… I have a message for you.. How dare you?
You might want to research the effect of the colonial era beaver trade (and destruction of the very wet habitat that they provided). Human mismanagement goes back before government regulation and environmental NGO’s. The RNC and DNC are more the effect of our social systems that drivers of it.
I grew up in California 50 years ago. These fires are unlike what occurred then. We are getting the smoke here on the East Coast. Nothing is local any more (or ever really was). Injustice any where is our concern. – Oscar