Marines.Together We Served

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Washo

              Every year in late September the pastors and spouses from the Sierra Pacific Conference of the Free Methodist Church gather at Zephyr Point Presbyterian Conference Center situated at a prominent spot overlooking Lake Tahoe. The view of the lake is stunning.

Lake Tahoe is the second largest fresh-water lake in North America with a depth of 1,645 feet. Crater Lake in Oregon is 300 feet deeper. The original inhabitants of the lake were the Washoe Indians – Washo meaning “lake.” As folks moved west in the 1800s, the lake was changed to Tahoe, only because that was how the name Washo sounded to the new settlers. The lake’s name was also called Lake Bigler in honor of California’s third governor, John Bigler. The name Lake Tahoe came into use in official maps of the United States in 1862. Both Lake Tahoe and Lake Bigler were used until 1945 when the official name became Lake Tahoe.

One of those special memories for those of us who grew up in the 1950s was the first color television program, Bonanza. Until 2004 there was still a tourist site for those who wanted to relive the times on the Ponderosa when the Cartwrights – Ben, Adam, Hoss and Little Joe – rode into our lives each week through McFaul Creek Meadow with Mount Tallac in the background. This is all located on the Northeast side of Lake Tahoe in Nevada.  

In modern times the mere mention of Lake Tahoe, or just Tahoe, suggests a fun location where there are gambling casinos and the night-life that goes along with it. Depending on the time of year you might go to Tahoe for the water sports and other related activities, or especially in the winter, you could find any number of ski resorts. At an elevation of 6225 feet at water level, Tahoe is perfectly suited for all sorts of activities, something that was not lost on the early settlers. Tahoe City, established on the west coastline midway up Lake Tahoe, was founded in 1864 as a resort area for the silver miners from Virginia City, Nevada. As roads were built and communities began to develop, more and more people discovered the wonderful range of outdoor recreation possibilities inherent in the Tahoe Basin.

During lunch one day my wife, Isaura, said, “Let’s walk around the lake!” I knew what she meant, but it still startled me. She, of course, wanted to walk along the lake’s shoreline. Lake Tahoe is 22 miles long and 12 miles wide with a total circumference of 72 miles with about two-thirds of the shoreline in California.

All of this natural beauty and wonder of Lake Tahoe caused me to reflect on all of God’s incredible creation.

          The conference room we used for most of our sessions with our bishop was situated so we could look past the speaker and gaze upon the lake. To be perfectly honest, it was hard to concentrate on the bishop when you had the splendor of Lake Tahoe demanding that you drink in the vista.

          Several years ago when our girls were still living at home, we took a vacation in Tahoe for a few days. One of the high points of our trip was renting a power boat and cruising around Lake Tahoe. On a beautiful sunny day, with our life vests properly strapped in place, we cruised around the southern end of the lake. There was one particular spot I wanted to see that is located up the western shoreline. I had seen it previously from high atop the road that circles Lake Tahoe which only whetted my interest in seeing it up close. Fannette Island is located in the middle of Emerald Bay. On this tiny island is a tea room. We motored into the bay and leisurely circled the island all the while wondering what it must have been like to have lived on this island paradise surrounded by such immense beauty.

          I have had the privilege to travel to every continent on earth, with the exception of Antarctica. There are so many places of majestic beauty throughout the created universe that it takes your breath away. If such exquisiteness is available for our enjoyment in the here and now, then what must the glories of heaven be that God has in store for those who know and love him?

          To get an idea of what heaven will be like take a break and sit down with your Bible. In particular, read Revelation, chapters 4, 21 & 22. You’re going to love it!

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