We had been to the Lake in November for a week and took Highway 88 both ways. Remnants from the fire were obvious including at the Caples Lake dam where you could see the matchstick trees standing watch on the slope below the dam.
This time we took Highway 50 driving to Tahoe. Crews have been working hard removing trees that can be salvaged and rehanging PG&E lines up the steep canyon. Stacks of logs were near the road in many locations. Last November, we had driven up as far west as the entrance to the Sierra at Tahoe ski resort so the views were dramatically different and new driving east.
The most striking view for me was between Twin Bridges and Sierra at Tahoe. The steep slope was barren, both below and above Highway 50. What’s more it continued up the slopes of the valley to the north which is topped by a waterfall. Even though Lake Tahoe was well below its normal level, I was surprised by the American River was running pretty well as we saw it at various locations driving in.
Viewing the steep canyon without most of its trees pointed out just how difficult managing forests can be with the challenging terrain. It’s one thing to clear and manage underbrush on relatively flat land such as the area around Pioneer Trail going into South Lake Tahoe. It’s entirely another to imagine crews trying to clear underbrush on those slopes off Highway 50. Sadly, that won’t be necessary in the burned area but there’s still mile after mile of forest that did not burn.
The sheer dimensions of the burn also are amazing when you consider it burned north of Highway 50 in the Twin Bridges/Echo Summit area and extended south all the way to cross Highway 88 in some places near the Kirkwood Ski Resort, miles away. It stretched from Shingle Springs on the western slope all the way to South Lake Tahoe near the Heavenly Valley ski resort.
Social media was buzzing last week when Indianapolis starting safety Khari Willis announced his was retiring from football to serve Jesus. Many people expressed shock on social media and were in disbelief that he would walk away from millions.
I remind you—he’s not the first and we have living proof right here in Livermore. Napoleon Kaufman was an outstanding running back for the University of Washington and the Oakland Raiders. A Raider led him to Christ and he hung up his cleats in 2001 to found The Well church in San Ramon. The Well relocated to a 83,000-square-foot Livermore office building many years ago and Kaufman pastors it to this day.
I know a similar story from the golf world. In his early 30s, Matthew Crane was serving as the head pro at the prestigious Lake Merced Country Club in Daly City. He left that position to serve with the College Golf Fellowship, headed by former Stanford golfer Steve Burdick. Crane and his colleagues build relationships with collegiate golfers and share the truth of the Gospel with them. I’ve spent some time with Matthew and he’s excited about his life.