Pine Nuts: Twain at Tahoe


A small bite of good news … for the first time in over a year, Nevada’s Mark Twain, (yours truly), gets to present with his pants on. Yes, our mutual friend Samuel says he’s done with Zoom. As of June 11 and 12, and throughout the summer on assorted evenings, the North Shore will have TWAIN at TAHOE to compliment SHAKESPEARE at TAHOE. (We always have been the smartest end of the lake.)

Just when our Mark Twain was thinking he might be homeless for the summer, along comes St. Patrick’s Episcopal Church to build an amphitheater for outdoor services, and the Good Reverend Sarah has invited Mark Twain to share his Tales of Tahoe out of doors. As Huckleberry might say, “Happy? I reckon not.”

We’ll provide a little teaser here from out of Twain’s book, “Roughing It,” and hope you might like to hear the rest of the story under the stars …

“We paddled around on logs on the Lake of the Sky, and it was like balloon voyaging, the water was so clear you could count the scales on a Cutthroat trout at eighty feet. I did have a forest ranger question me on that fact the other night; only because she said a lake trout doesn’t have any scales. So I’ve learned not to tell fish stories where they know you.

Paddling around on Tahoe, you would see a building looming out of the water at you, then it would turn into a cathedral, until you realized as you passed over, that it was but a boulder, perhaps twenty feet down. The water was so clear it magnified everything. The water was clearer than the air, and the air was the air that angels breathe.
I wrote to my sister Pamela out in Missouri and told her, ‘Mela, you must come out here to Lake Tahoe … inside of three weeks you’ll have the strength to knock a bull down with your fist if you want to.’ Three weeks of camp life at Lake Tahoe will restore an Egyptian mummy to its pristine vigor. I don’t mean the oldest and driest of mummies of course -but the fresher ones.

We never slept in our home, our Tahoe home, we didn’t want to strain it. Yet if there is any happier life than the life we led on our timber ranch for those two weeks, it must be the sort of life which I have not read of in books. We did not see another human being during the those two weeks, nor hear anything but the sound of the waves, the sighing of the pine, and now and then the far-off thunder of an avalanche. The eye suffered but one grief, that it but must close sometimes in sleep. No, if Lake Tahoe does not cure whatever ails you, I’ll bury you at my own expense.”

Tickets are being made available at the Incline Village Visitors Bureau as we speak, and we long to give you a high Tahoe elbow hug. Don’t forget your picnic basket …

Learn more about McAvoy Layne at

Support Local Journalism


Support Local Journalism

Readers around Lake Tahoe, Truckee, and beyond make the Sierra Sun's work possible. Your financial contribution supports our efforts to deliver quality, locally relevant journalism.

Now more than ever, your support is critical to help us keep our community informed about the evolving coronavirus pandemic and the impact it is having locally. Every contribution, however large or small, will make a difference.

Your donation will help us continue to cover COVID-19 and our other vital local news.

Start a dialogue, stay on topic and be civil.
If you don't follow the rules, your comment may be deleted.

User Legend: iconModerator iconTrusted User