CHAPTER XXIV. FALLEN LEAF LAKE AND ITS RESORTS
Fallen Leaf Lake is a noble body of water, three and a half miles long and about one mile across. Why it is called Fallen Leaf is fully explained in the chapter on Indian Legends. Some people have thought it was named from its shape, but this cannot be, for, from the summit of Mt. Tallac, every one instantly notices its resemblance to the imprint of a human foot. It is shaped more like a cork-sole, as if cut out of the solid rock, filled up with a rich indigo-blue fluid, and then made extra beautiful and secluded with a rich tree and plant growth on every slope that surrounds it.
The color of the water is as richly blue as is Tahoe itself, and there is the same suggestion of an emerald ring around it, as in the larger Lake, though this ring is neither so wide nor so highly colored.
In elevation it is some 80 feet above Lake Tahoe, thus giving it an altitude of 6300 feet.
At the upper end, near Fallen Leaf Lodge, under the cliffs it has a depth of over 380 feet, but it becomes much shallower at the northern or lower end near the outlet. Its surroundings are majestic and enthralling as well as picturesque and alluring. On the west Mt. Tallac towers its nearly 10,000 feet into the sea of the upper air, flanked on the south by the lesser noble and majestic Cathedral Peak. In the earlier part of the season when these are covered with snow, the pure white materially enhances the splendor of both mountain and lake by enriching their varied colorings with the marked contrast.
To the southwest rise the Angora Peaks, and these likewise catch, and hold the winter's snow, often, like Mt. Tallac, retaining beds of neve from year to year.
To the geological student, especially one interested in glacial phenomena, the lateral and terminal moraines of Fallen Leaf Lake are of marked and unusual interest. The moraine on the east is upwards of 1000 feet high, and is a majestic ridge, clothed from the lake shore to its summit with a rich growth of pines, firs and hemlocks. Its great height and bulk will suggest to the thoughtful reader the questions as to how it was formed, and whence came all the material of its manufacture. It extends nearly the whole length of the lake, diminishing somewhat in size at the northern end. There is a corresponding moraine on the western side not less compelling in its interest though scarcely as large in size as its eastern counterpart. The terminal moraine, which is the one that closed up the lake, separating and raising it above the level of Lake Tahoe, is a less noble mound, yet geologically it allures the mind and demands study as much as the others. In Chapter VIII, Dr. Joseph LeConte's theories are given in full explaining the various glacial phenomena connected with this lake.
The fish of Fallen Leaf are practically the same as those of Tahoe, though rod and fly fishing is more indulged in here.
Boating, canoeing and the use of the motor boat are daily recreations, and swimming is regularly indulged in during the summer season.
FALLEN LEAF LODGE
The distinguishing characteristics of this resort are simplicity, home-likeness, unostentation. It makes its appeal especially to the thoughtful and the studious, the not luxuriously rich, those who love Nature rather than the elegance of a first-class hotel, and who desire to climb trails, study trees, hunt, fish, and generally recreate out-of-doors rather than dress and fare sumptuously.
It is situated on the southwestern edge of Fallen Leaf Lake, five miles from Tallac, reached by a road that winds through the trees of the Baldwin estate, and then skirts the eastern and southern shores of the Lake. Stages - horse and automobile - run daily during the season and meet all the steamers at Tallac.
The "Lodge" consists of a number of detached buildings, conveniently and picturesquely scattered among the pines on the slopes and at the edge of the lake. There are dining hall, social hall, post office, store, electric power-house, boat-house, with stables far enough away to be sanitary, and cottages and tents located in every suitable nook that can be found. There are one, two or three-roomed cottages, tents, single and double, all in genuine camp style. There is no elegance or luxury, though most of the cottages have modern toilets, porcelain bath-tubs with running hot and cold water. Electric lights are everywhere.
The camp has been in existence now (1915) for seven years and each year has seen considerable enlargement and improvement, until now Fallen Leaf Lodge in the heart of the summer season is an active, busy, happy and home-like community.
The table is wholesome, substantial and appetizing. There is no pretense at elaborateness. Home-cooking, well served, of simple and healthful dishes, in reasonable variety, is all that is offered.
Needless to say there is no bar or saloon, though there is no attempt to compel a personal standpoint on the liquor question upon those who are accustomed to the use of alcoholic liquors at meals.
In its natural beauties and advantages Fallen Leaf Lodge claims - and with strong justification - one of the very best of locations. Fallen Leaf Lake is large enough to give scope to all the motor-boats, row-boats, canoes and launches that are likely to be brought to it for the next hundred years, and ten thousand fishermen could successfully angle upon its bosom or along its shores. For millions of Tahoe trout, rainbow, Eastern brook, Loch Levin, Mackinac and German brown have been put into this and nearby lakes in the last few years. While some jerk-line fishing is indulged in, this lake, unlike Lake Tahoe, affords constant recreation for the more sportsmanlike fly-fishing.