Friday, August 16, 2013

Showers Lake, Eldorado National Forest (via Meiss trailhead)

August 15th - 16th, 2013

For once, this is NOT the same as my post in Hammockforums. Neener, neener.

Another solo overnight. I knew this would challenge me, being a longer hike with more elevation change then I've done yet.

I started at the Meiss trailhead, near Carson Pass on Highway 88. I drove from El Dorado County, to the trailhead in Alpine County, then hiked back into El Dorado. Funny!

I got to the trailhead about 10am, and reached my campsite at Showers Lake, 5 miles away, around 1:30pm.

This hike starts around 8560, climbs over a high point of just under 8800 feet, then to a low of 8320, then back up (steep!) to 8647 feet. Unlike my last hike, to Shealor Lakes, this one is not UP followed by DOWN, then turn around and do it again; but up, then across a saddle, then down the other side, then through a very long meadow, then up up up to the lake.

The trail I used is part of the Pacific Crest Trail, which runs from Mexico to Canada. So it is very well marked, with no moments at all of, "Hrm, which way....". I don't know if I saw any thruhikers (folks doing the whole trail) but I did see a lot of dayhikers, most with dogs. And one set of mountain bikers (on the Tahoe Rim Trail, where bikes are allowed.)

There were two possible thru-hiking or long-distance pairs - two men - skinny, dusty, and tanned; and two older women (older than me, anyway) and their dogs, also skinny, dusty, and tanned. Well, the dogs were hairy and dusty so I couldn't tell if they were skinny (or tanned) or not.
I'm too fat, too clean, and too slow to be mistaken for a long distance hiker.

Everybody passed me. I am super slow, averaging a 45 minute mile. The only people I passed were a group doing much-needed trail maintaince at one of the places where the PCT crosses the Truckee River. The trail-folk camped at Showers also. I met two more, from the Tahoe Rim Trail Assoc., the next day, hiking in to help out.

Thank you, trail-maintainers!

It was windy and probably around 70 degrees, getting to 50.2 at night (on my cheap digital remember-the-highs-and-lows thermometer).

The views are amazing from practically everywhere on this hike.
I admired the views near the beginning of the trail, looking across Highway 88.

I geeked out over every trickling watercourse and flower I saw.

I took a wobbly panorama from the top of the saddle.

I poked around the Meiss cabin and barn, near the junction of the PCT and the TRT.

I gazed back down the slope I was painfully climbing to reach Showers Lake.

I've put together a YouTube video, as well as a gallery (public) on Google+. Go there for more photos (some dupes of the ones here.)

I have one blister, as the ball of my left foot wore through my oldest pair of Injinji socks (fortunately, on the last day). And the muscles that walk me downhill (different from the climbing/bike-riding ones) are pretty sore. Epsom salts to the rescue!

Monday, August 12, 2013

Hammock forums' demise?

This is not directly hiking related, but I am mad mad mad.

There is some difference of opinion between the (former) Hammock Forums moderators (who all resigned enmasse today) and the owner of the Hammock Forums site.

This is what I get now when trying to access the site.

This seems to me to be an extreme case of "I'll take my toys and run away."
I hope I'm wrong and the forum is not down for good.

I have no idea how to contact anyone who was planning to come to the Boggs Mountain Hang this October. I take that back. I have a business card from one person. What about the other dozen or so? Wait, I might have an email for one other.

This is the problem with relying on the private message system - no other way to communicate except through the forum.

Well, I'll post a link to my blog on the Facebook page (unofficial but still up) in hopes that local Northern California people can find me.

Boo hoo.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Shealor Lakes, Eldorado National Forest

6 August, 2013

I usually hike by myself, because you never know what kind of whacko might join your group. It might be someone who talks incessantly, hikes very slowly, and has lots of strange gear.

Oh wait. That's me.

And one of me on a hike is plenty.

This hike grew out of a discussion in a yoga class, and our party of four were the three yoginis and one friend of the instigator. The instigator had gotten a new Osprey hydration day pack from REI and loved it, which incited another in the yoga class to get the same pack (I think this was her first hike). So that's how this trip began. This was not my trip idea, I just tagged along (and provided the destination suggestion).

We met up in Placerville and divided up the riders into two cars (I get really really car sick unless I'm driving) and drove up to the trailhead, arriving about 8:30. An hour of hiking and breathing at elevation we were at the first Shealor lake, where I loafed in my hammock and the other three went wading.

While on our way to the lake, we took an inadvertent detour and found this large grinding rock.

We also admired the great views from the top of our climb.

We snacked some more at the lake, I refilled my water bottle using my filter, and we hiked back, taking a few unintentional shortcuts up steep sections, and a deliberate detour to a 7681ft (I think) high knob of rock at the north end of the saddle you climb up and down on your way to and from the lake.

That knob had great views! And many more grinding rocks. We made temporary trail markers on our way to the knob, dutifully knocking them down as we hiked back to the trail.

This is a hike that is UP then DOWN then undo that back to the car. A good first hike. The trailhead is right off 88 near Silver Lake. Plenty of paved parking. No portajohn (we drove into Silver Lake campground before we parked at the trailhead - 4 women 50 years or older = mandatory bathroom breaks).

No fee, no permit for day hikers. Don't know about overnights.

I just traced the line over on the 1993 topo map image. Seems about what we did.