An experience can be the gift of a lifetime, think: Galápagos trip or woodworking class

Lake Tahoe in summer

I'd seen Lake Tahoe only in winter, its shores under deep snow. So, on Day 1 of my first warm-weather trip around the lake last month, I couldn't stop prowling the water's edge, scanning for new hues of blue. On Day 2, I rock-hopped and rented a bike. On Day 3, I hiked above Emerald Bay into the mist of Eagle Falls.

So how, on Day 4, did I wind up in man-made subterranean blackness, stranded in a narrow stone tunnel somewhere between a dead playboy's boathouse and his opium den?

-- Christopher Reynolds

Read more: Getting to know Lake Tahoe's warmer side

Planning your trip:

Lake Tahoe Visitors Bureaus (south and north),

Christopher Reynolds / Los Angeles Times