One mistake is all it takes in paradise |

One mistake is all it takes in paradise

After two 19-year-old men were found dead in Lake Tahoe on Saturday, a 52-year-old Reno man drowned Monday when he jumped off his boat for a swim in the lake.Those untimely deaths followed another drowning at Kiva Beach earlier in the summer and the death of a man who was swept down Eagle Falls in June. That said, Ive probably overlooked other tragic deaths that have happened just in the last few months here in the North Tahoe-Truckee area. While Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Nevada are stunningly beautiful, they can be dangerous places for people who don’t give them their proper respect.Summer isn’t the only time when we see tragedy in our mountain home. Seven people died on the slopes of North Shore ski resorts last season.Every one of these deaths is an unfathomable blow to families and friends. Sadly, though, most of them could have been avoided.After living near and recreating in the Caribbean Sea, I learned quickly that I had to respect the power of the ocean. If not, I’d end up making a mistake that could very well cost me my life. More than once the newspaper I edited wrote about tourists who came to visit paradise only to lose their lives there.Lake Tahoe is not that different. Like the Caribbean Sea, Tahoe’s azure water often lulls the uninitiated into complacency. Add a few beers, hot sun, bad judgment and cold water and a tragedy is just waiting to happen. Tahoe, like the ocean, rarely gives a second chance.We’ve seen it before and, sadly, we’ll see it again at our lakes, on the slopes and in the backcountry.Such accidents can happen to anybody, local and visitor alike. Search and rescue types say that over confidence in one’s abilities is as much a factor in an accident as inexperience. So if we take anything away from the unfortunate deaths that have occurred in our backyard recently it’s that we have to respect the unforgiving beauty of Mother Nature, because one mistake is all it takes to die in paradise.Jamie Bate is the editor of the Sierra Sun. Reach him at

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