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Coffee table book features Tahoe Rim Trail

"Tahoe Rim Trail - Exploring the Jewel"
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The Tahoe Rim Trail offers 165 miles of incredible views, challenging terrain, diverse ecosystems and fascinating geology. Hikers, bikers, horseback riders and other trail users have the opportunity to witness this incredible spectacle firsthand in its original glory. For those who cannot make it out to the trail, and those looking to remember many of the beautiful scenes they witnessed while there, the new coffee-table book “Tahoe Rim Trail – Exploring the Jewel” provides a worthy substitute.

The hardcover book includes text and photographs by Mark Vollmer with additional photographs by Scott Sady – both professional photographers who make their homes in the Reno area. Throughout the eight chapters in the book, Vollmer’s narrative guides the reader on a simulated tour of the entire 165-mile loop, paying special attention to the geology, natural history and plant life a hiker would pass through along the way.

The reader’s journey begins in Tahoe City and follows a counter-clockwise route around the lake with chapters ending at Barker Pass, Echo Summit, Big Meadow, Kingsbury Grade, Spooner Summit, Tahoe Meadows and Brockway Summit before returning to Tahoe City.



Vollmer estimates that he made “a couple dozen” day and overnight trips along various sections of the trail in photographing and writing about the regional biodiversity, weather patterns and scenic vistas encountered along the route. Vollmer’s degree in geology becomes apparent as the reader is enlightened about the geological activity that shaped the Tahoe Basin and made Lake Tahoe what it is today.

“The book celebrates the beauty that the trail traverses, and I wrote the text to try to tell the rest of the story as far as the geology and the plant life. I had noticed that there had been a few coffee-table books about Lake Tahoe, but they did not delve into the geology very much, so I wanted to fill in that gap,” Vollmer said, adding, “It helps bring the photography to another level if you understand a little bit about the natural history as well.”



Many times it seems as if Vollmer’s words paint such a descriptive picture of the scenery offered by the Tahoe Rim Trail that the accompanying photographs almost seem superfluous. That is until you take the time to really appreciate the artistry and timing both Vollmer and Sady exhibit in capturing the images on the book’s pages, after which the narrative becomes almost secondary. In the end, the two blend to leave the reader with a fuller understanding and appreciation for the Tahoe Rim Trail’s unique surroundings.

Both Sady and Vollmer were involved with the Tahoe Rim Trail project from its early days. The idea for the book grew out of the photography work that the two did in making calendars for Tahoe Rim Trail fund-raising efforts.

Sady first joined the rim trail effort as a volunteer in 1998 and always brought his camera along on his trailbuilding excursions. “It was an excuse for us to get out there. We did a little less trail work and a little more photography,” Sady said of he and Vollmer’s calendar work.

In the beginning, Sady was skeptical of the coffee-table book ever becoming a reality. “Up until a year ago I was like ‘Yeah right. We’ll never get a book finished.’ And then it went from a pipe dream to ‘Your deadline is in March,'” he said.

Like Vollmer, Sady estimates he was on the trail four or five times a month for almost five years in producing the images that wound up in the book.

His only regret?

“I’d actually do it better if I had the chance – I’d have more faith in everybody. It just seemed like something that wasn’t going to happen for so long that I basically wasted a lot of time that I wish I had over,” Sady said.

One photo he wished could have been included in the book is a good bear picture. “I wanted a bear so bad … I actually ran into them three times and I never had my camera with me.”

Vollmer was pleased when he saw the final version of the book – especially with the way the layout, photos and text complement each other – and he hopes that readers will share his enthusiasm for the subject matter.

“It’s been a great experience all around, from working on the Tahoe Rim Trail, to trailbuilding, meeting a lot of great people, and then working on this book too,” Vollmer said. “I’m looking forward to more great experiences with the Rim Trail, and I’m so glad that this labor of love has been doing so well since it’s release.”

“Tahoe Rim Trail – Exploring the Jewel” was released in late November, and a percentage of book sales will go to the Tahoe Rim Trail Association, the group now dedicated to maintaining the trail and improving access to it.

Two versions of the book are now available for purchase. A limited edition, signed and numbered version (which includes two full-color 8×10 photographs from the book) will be offered for $125, while a regular hardcover edition will be available for $35. Books can be purchased from the Tahoe Rim Trail Office, at the Bookshelf stores in Truckee and Tahoe City, and in Reno at the Sundance Bookstore and the Patagonia Service Center.

In addition, both Mark Vollmer and Scott Sady will be at the Bookshelf in Truckee (in the Safeway shopping center) on Saturday at 4 p.m. for a multi-media slide show and book-signing. Call 582-0515 for more information on this event.


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