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!

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