Coppertone and I chose this portion of the long Tahoe Rim Trail because of the well known scenic spot of Picnic Rock. We parked along Highway 267 and crossed the road to get to the trailhead. The are a few switchbacks here and a steady ascent from the road. The signs point to there having been a fire here in the not too distant past. Some trunks shows signs of charring and a large number of trees had fallen. Someone, perhaps the forest service, had come up and cut up some of the felled trees into smaller chunks which we sometimes aggreagated into conical piles.
The fallen trees were somewhat reduced a bit over a mile from the highway near the junction with the Picnic Rock spur. There are two signs along the trail which indicate where you need to turn. The tree cover remains fairly dense right up until the moment you come upon the rock formation known as Picnic Rock. A quick 180 degree turn rewards the hiker with a sweeping view of almost the entire lake.
One might be forgiven if one assumes Picnic Rock is named for the hikers who stop by here to have a meal or snack while they take in the breathtaking views. That certainly does happen. However, it may be more truthful to admit that it's the neighborhood chipmunks who do most of the picnicking here. Years of hikers feeding the tiny creatures have given them a boldness that belies their size. Merely sitting still for a period of time is likely to result in one of them to come right up and crawl into your lap to investigate whether you have anything to offer. It's hard to resist them and obviously quite a number of hikers fail to adhere to the rule about not feeding the wildlife.
After lunch we got back on the main trail and continued heading northeast until we had decided that it was probably time for us to turn around in order to make our day hike of a suitable size. It was a shame in a way because outside of the views of the lake the path here was amongst the most enjoyable in the hike. The number of people on the trail dropped dramatically. Everyone goes to Picnic Rock. Almost no one ventures further. There were far fewer fallen trees and everything just seemed more peaceful and quiet.
We doubled back towards our starting point and started encountering lots of people again, which is why we set the solitude of this hike the way we did. One of the more disturbing sights was a couple ascending straight uphill, ignoring the switchbacks designed to ease the ascent and cut down on erosion. The worst part was the fact the man was carrying a baby in his arms while it did this!