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Deceptively Budget-Friendly Tahoe Lodges

There are plenty of inexpensive places to stay on Lake Tahoe—but in many of them, you’d be too afraid to get beneath the sheets. These four clean, inviting lodges are the exception. They manage to combine value, location, and quality for travelers who want to live large on a budget.

Rustic Cottages, Tahoe Vista

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The history of the Rustic Cottages is almost reason enough to stay in one of its 19 classic Tahoe-style houses and cottages spread over two wooded acres. Built near the turn of the 20th century to house workers for the Brockway Lumber Company, it turned into a holiday getaway in the mid-1920s. Rustic Cottages sit across North Lake Boulevard from a postage stamp–sized beach on Lake Tahoe’s North Shore. Rates start at $99 a night.

Sunnyside Lodge, North Shore/Tahoe City

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Built as a summer mansion in 1906, the well-updated Sunnyside Lodge has been an institution on Lake Tahoe’s West Shore since it opened as a resort six decades ago. Though it maintains its rustic look on the outside and in the wood-beamed indoor common areas, its modernly appointed 23 rooms and suites look surprisingly new. The Sunnyside is known as much for the American-style gourmet meals served in its dining room overlooking the lake as for its accommodations. Suites start at $150 a night.

Zephyr Cove Resort, South Shore/South Lake Tahoe

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Zephyr Cove Resort, with its lodge and 28 surprisingly up-to-date cabins, has been an affordable and not-so-secret getaway on the South Shore of Lake Tahoe for more than a century. Billed as an almost-all-inclusive destination, you can rent ski boats and WaveRunners from the resort at the mile-long beach, go parasailing, play volleyball, or simply laze in a lounge chair. Zephyr Cove also runs cruises on two old-fashioned paddleboats. If the $181 nightly rate for the cottages is too steep, you can pitch a tent on the property’s campsite for $35.

Tamarack Lodge, Tahoe City

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Shaded by tall pines and only a few minutes from Tahoe City, the Tamarack Lodge is a hidden mountain resort that probably looks much the same as when the Oppio-Fenech family first opened it nearly 90 years ago. Once a getaway for movie stars, it’s now a haunt for cost-conscious skiers, hikers, and mountain bikers. You have your choice of three cabins or a handful of rooms inside the lodge. Lodge rooms with shared bath start at $75 a night.

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Let Eddie Bauer Be Your Adventure Guide

Eddie Bauer doesn't just want to outfit you for the outdoors. Now the apparel and gear company wants to get you outdoors.

The Eddie Bauer Adventure Guide, a free iPhone app, will be available in August to help you plan outdoor activities in more than 10,000 locations across the country.

"Inspiring and enabling people to get outside and live their adventure is what we do as a brand," said Mike Egeck, Eddie Bauer's chief executive officer according to a Pitch Engine report. "Our new iPhone app makes it easy to do just that."

The Adventure Guide offers expert reviews, step-by-step directions, weather conditions, duration, and terrain type for almost any weekend trip or afternoon outdoor activity (snowshoeing, stand-up paddleboarding, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing, to name a few). Eddie Bauer hopes to expand activity types and locations with future releases.

So, if you have just two hours for a hike in Seattle, the Adventure Guide will provide you with information such as driving directions to the best trailhead, hours of available daylight for your quick hike, total elevation gain, and—of course—which Eddie Bauer gear best suits your needs on the terrain (you saw that one coming, didn't you?).

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UCLA Is Underwater

At 3:30 p.m. yesterday, a 90-year-old water main near UCLA ruptured, resulting in a 30-foot geyser that inundated portions of Sunset Boulevard and the college campus. The appropriate valve wasn't located and shut off until 7 p.m., at which point 8 million to 10 million gallons of water had been lost on the streets of Westwood.

Students were seen removing their shoes and wading through water. Others, clearly wishing to make the most of the opportunity, showed up towing boogie boards. 

Although the cause for the rupture has yet to be determined, the Los Angeles Times reports that the event created a 15-foot sinkhole on Sunset Boulevard and flooded many famous UCLA venues, including the John Wooden Center and Pauley Pavilion, home of the men's and women's Bruins basketball teams.

"Unfortunately, UCLA was the sink for this water source,” UCLA chancellor Gene Block said of the flooding. "It’s painful."

It's also painful to California as a whole that this needless waste of the state's most valuable commodity should happen during one of the worst droughts in its history.

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Lightbulbs Can Transform Your Health

Unless your workplace is the great outdoors, chances are your office lighting isn't spectacular—and that's not great for your well-being. But researchers have come to the rescue, determining that a specific kind of artificial light can help keep your biological rhythms correctly synchronized—and they've successfully tested it in the most extreme real-world conditions.

Scientists know that white light enriched with blue wavelengths effectively helps synchronize the body's biological clock, which is hugely influential on things like memory, cardiovascular function, and sleep quality. But the lighting has never been properly tested under real conditions. Cue the Concordia international polar research station, located on the Antarctic Plateau. Researchers living there go through nine weeks of no daylight during the polar winter, making them probably the world's best test subjects for this promising light.

The Antarctic researchers maintained their day-to-day habits, changing only the kind of lighting they used to light up rooms, switching lighting types each week. After the nine weeks were over, the scientists concluded that during "blue" weeks, the Antarctic subjects had better sleep, reaction times, and motivation—plus absolutely no disturbance to their circadian rhythms. Those positive effects remained the same from the first "blue" week to the last, so the benefits seem to stay strong over time.

That means bringing this kind of lighting to any poorly lit environment could effectively keep biological clocks running as they should. It's as simple as changing the type of lightbulb you use—no special sessions of exposure required. The study's authors concluded, "These results could quickly lead to practical applications." Better start lobbying to replace those hellish fluorescent lights, stat.

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Teen Dies Climbing Longs Peak

A Kansas teen died Friday morning while climbing to the summit of Longs Peak in Rocky Mountain National Park. 

The National Park Service announced Monday that Lenexa resident Nicholas L. Hellbusch, 18, appeared to have struck his head while falling from the standard eight-mile Keyhole Route. A climber called Rocky Mountain rangers at 7 a.m. to report that he'd seen a body. Rangers arrived at 10:15 a.m., at which point Hellbusch was pronounced dead. A U.S. Forest Service helicopter recovered his body soon afterward. 

Neither weather nor foul play were likely involved in the death of the Shawnee Mission South High School student. The Kansas City Star reports that weather on the mountain was clear and warm, and climbers said there was no ice on the trail below where Hellbusch was climbing. A park service investigation is ongoing. 

At 14,259 feet, Longs Peak is the 15th-highest mountain in Colorado, as well as the park's hallmark mountain. Thousands make their way to the top each year, but thousands more turn back from the climb, rated "difficult" by climbing website 14ers.com, and for good reason. The route has claimed more than 60 lives since 1884, which Trail & Timberline reports resulted mostly from unroped ascents. 

A YouCaring.com page has been set up for Hellbusch's memorial. By Wednesday morning, it had raised more than $6,100 of the $10,000 goal.

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