|Lake Tahoe Sunset from Showers Lake, by P.Skaff|
Current Weather Conditions
Hiking the combined Tahoe to Yosemite, Tahoe Rim, and Pacific Crest Trails from Echo Summit to Carson Pass via Showers Lake crossing Meiss Country Roadless Area
The Best Campsite
Echo Summit and Carson Pass
Though I found the signpost pictured above at the spot the Northern junction was marked on the map, there was no trail junction, and no trail around the South Shore of Showers Lake.
My notes on this trail junction say, "Signpost, but no Junction." (Yup, I keep a "trail notebook," one of those tiny 4.5x3.5 inch "Penway Composition Books," in addition to my journal.) Experiences, memories, notes, images, and videos are almost required to keep any kind of meaningful record of High Sierra terrain.
Hiking Southbound past the Northern sign post turns us down a gully alongside a beautiful granite berm-feature that gives us an idea of the great scrambling terrain surrounding Showers Lake.
It appears that as the main trail has been routed through Showers Lake old route of the TYT-PCT bypassing Showers Lake has been abandoned. Likely in the name of reducing erosion damage. Trail designers figured they might as well run the trail through the already damaged North Shore apron of Showers Lake and let the damage around the South Shore caused by the trail heal.
Therefore it also makes sense that there is a trail post at the map point South of Showers Lake marking another junction to a trail that no longer officially exists.
Check out the Map, and Click the Colored Dots for related trail guide page.
Showers Lake Trail Post
Showers Lake Check Dam
Total distance from Meeks Bay
Lots of Local Backpackers
I always meet lots of locals here.Weather Notes
* "or so" note:
This allows us to accurately use of the Sun as both a compass and a clock for the duration of my trip. Unless it's cloudy.
Time and space are deeply related for backpackers, as well as physicists.
The times of Sunset and Sunrise given above reflect the time on the start day of a September 2009 Tahoe to Yosemite backpacking trip. In fact, each day the Sunset and Sunrise times precede slightly, so my accuracy diminishes.
The daily rate of change during September is a loss of up to two minutes a day for both Sunrise and for Sunset.
Early Morning Brightness
Evening Light Fades
|Departing Showers Lake, Backpacking South|
Departing Showers Lake hiking South on Day 5 from Meeks Bay to Tuolumne Meadows after a nice night at Showers Lake.
This video shows part of a Spring snow trip to Showers Lake from the South Upper Truckee trailhead. May and June brought heavy Spring snowstorms, leaving a heavy snow cover in early June.
Many PCT and long distance High Sierra Backpackers are beginning to believe that Summer backpacking conditions begin in May!!
They do not.
Though recent trends have brought a snow free Sierra in June and even May, this is highly unusual, and makes anyone in the Sierra during May and June subject to "unexpected" Spring snowstorms. The same danger is true during October and November.
October and November have been getting warmer and the onset of Fall and Winter storms has been delayed by the same climate mechanism that is triggering early Spring Thaws. Hikers in Fall are subject to powerful, unexpected early season Winter storms blowing in, as are early Spring backpackers subject to unexpected Spring storms.
Early and late season backpackers must be ready for the worse weather that the time of the year they are hiking can possibly blow in, despite the recent changes in Fall and Spring weather.
I believe that many more backpackers are subjecting themselves to increasingly dangerous situations in late Fall and early Spring precisely because the climatic tilt towards "good" weather during these critical periods of weather transitions have drawn out many hikers not properly experienced or geared to deal with the potential weather that can blow in during early Spring and late Fall.
To have the best backpacking trips possible we must always consider the worse-case scenarios possible. Otherwise "things" can get way out of hand.
SPRING CONDITIONS at SHOWERS LAKE
Though we approached Showers Lake from the Northeast coming up from Meyers, this video well depicts Spring conditions in the Meiss Roadless Area.
|Departing Showers Lake the next day, I noticed a lone set of tracks descending from a stand of trees around some big rock that had melted out.|
Further inspection (I circled this stand of rock and timber) revealed, as I suspected, that only one set of big tracks were coming in or out of this location.
The tracks were pointed directly down the mountain towards the houses about 7 miles away along South Upper Truckee Road. Though the tracks indicated a lethargic and hesitant bear, there was no deviation from the straight line of the bear tracks towards "civilization."
At the South Upper Truckee Road a quick and tasty meal could easily be had out of these luxury house's unprotected garbage cans. If I was a bear, that's where I'd go too!
I found it sad that the bear tracks did not point towards any of the three nearby lakes that hold fish and attract all sorts of critters, nor towards Meiss Meadow, which was right then experiencing the snow collapsing on the Meadow.
Though the Bear's natural larder of meadow, forest, and lake looked full, bear was headed down to the houses. This means that my sadness will be shared by the homeowners in Christmas Valley, where bears have been tearing up shit outside the homes and even entering them (and really tearing shit up!) seeking easy pickings.
In early 2011 two old yuppie dudes who live in Christmas Valley informed me that a bear had failed to hibernate, instead staying awake and feeing from the houses in Christmas Valley all Winter long.
To me this just means two things: They are going to eventually kill that bear, and that homeowner garbage in the Lake Tahoe Basin must be bear proof by law if common sense won't work....
A bear in your kitchen can ruin your day. And your kitchen. Then then they shoot the bear.
Despite all of these instant and grim thoughts these bear tracks inspired while standing here on this snow-covered mountainside, seeing these bear tracks still gave me a good feeling of satisfaction to locate a bear's Winter den right after Bear had departed.
That good feeling was that there is some natural security, even in this crazy world dominated by the Urban Jungles we have created, a Natural Security that can independently preserver through the roughest of climates.
Until the poor country bear stumbles into our endlessly expanding Urban Jungle, and we kill it.
Sun breaking through the trees over Showers Lake campsites on the flat apron around the North Shore of the lake. Besides composing the majority of campsites here, the big flat makes the whole North side of Showers Lake one big campsite.
There's also sites on the other shore of Showers Lake.
About Ready to Hit the Trail.
The sleeping pad is my seat, the pack is the seat back. I'm ready to get up, stash the stove, pot and fuel, strap all the externals onto the outside of the pack (tripod, 2 extra food bags ((and the Garcia inside)), sleeping pad, and gallon water-storage bottle) and hit the trail.
Note the lack of people in the background. Though Showers is very popular during Summer, it gets quiet in mid-September. Very nice.
This is one of about 5 campsites on the Northeast Shore of Showers Lake, but the well-trodden flat around the North apron of Shower Lake makes any spot adequate to throw the pack down. Even if the place is full you will be able to find a nice flat to crash on.
Pete and Jason
Jason and Pete's
Peter's fire tip
Alex fire tip
You know you have the right stuff when the cube you observe is dried to almost the density and weight of Balsa Wood. Along with dried moss picked dead and dry from trees, cubes and moss are two of nature's pyrotechnic fire starter materials.
USGS Team, Erin, and fire at Latopie Lake. See the kid on the left in short sleeve cotton? That explains the fire!
|Chile and Party Dog, next to Forest Service Keyway fire pit that they well lit-up the night before.
It was early, they were crashed, and I was out of there! Stubblefield Canyon, Yosemite.
Although I find that fires, tents, and people are distractions to the real point of backpacking deep into the High Sierras, I always have the ability to make a fire, put up a secure tent, and share a fine conversation, or a friendly campsite, meal, beverage, and a fire, with my fellow backcountry travelers.
What do you think about tents, fires, and group travel?
POST UP IN THE CAMP SKILLS FORUM
Hit up the Backpacker's Forum with your General wisdom
High Sierra Trails and Backpacking Topics:
Showers Lake Forum
|Sunrise over Showers Lake
Starting day 5 South towards Tuolumne Meadows from Meeks Bay
The Tahoe to Yosemite Trail
A crisp and clear sunrise over Showers Lake.
Nifty rock formation on the West shore of Showers Lake good for scrambling around. The trail down the ravine approaching the North Shore of Showers Lake lays on the other side of that great granite rock.
Does that not invite you to scramble over its nooks and crannies?
That's the big rock formation we noted when we emerged from the forests hiking South from the Schneiders Cow Camp trail junction to Showers Lake.
|These sign posts sit within the North end of the campsite area at Showers lake, and are more for decoration than information.|
South on the combined Pacific Crest, Tahoe Rim, and Tahoe Yosemite Trails.
Carson Pass on Highway 88 to the South.
North to Echo Summit.
|Text of Notice Below.||Text of Notice Below.|
This water is currently being managed with special regulations.
These Special regulations are listed below and are in the...California Freshwater Sports Fishing Regulations Handbook.
7.50(b)(111), Title 14, CCR
Upper Truckee River and tributaries...
July 1 through Sept 30, Only artificial lures with barbless hooks may be used.
Daily Bag and Possession Limit: 0.
California Department Fish & Game
The Upper Truckee River and tributaries upstream from their confluence with Showers Creek (Alpine and El Dorado Counties)
July 1 through September 30
LIMITS; ZERO TROUT
ONLY ARTIFICAL LURES WITH
NO BAIT ALLOWED
California Department Fish & Game
Catch and Release.
Catch and Release.
Fishing Showers Lake
As we hike South from Lake Tahoe to Mount Whitney we will travel across a wide variety of vast drainages containing what seems to be endless webs of rivers, creeks, and lakes.
We will also travel across a wide range of fisheries. Some locations and fisheries are highly restricted, such as the Lahotan Trout in East Carson and related drainages in the Eastern Sierra Nevada.
Other fisheries are problematic remnants of earlier plantings that need to be fished out, to have the planted fish removed. Many of the fisheries in the Sierra Nevada Mountains are unique. Due to their isolation from others of their species, many Sierra trout have evolved unique sub species. Mountain Trout of the High Sierra. Everything up here's special...
Other areas are actively planted with trout, and you have excellent fishing. I say you because I don't fish. I stalk fish with a camera...
What I'm going to do for fishing spots is put a link up to the particular National Forest's Fishing Information for that fishing spot. For Showers Lake that's the Meiss Country Roadless Area in the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit.
I also have transcribed copies of the Fish and Game fishing regulations for Showers Lake that were posted there in 2009. These are the fishing regulations for Showers Lake, and I doubt they will ever loosen up. I'd bet they are more likely to tighten up as water conditions tighten up in the Sierra.
Unfortunately, this link currently leads to no real fishing information. (Since updated to current fishing information) I have hopes it will... Thus I have posted images and transcribed the text of the fishing restrictions posted at Showers Lake, above.
For more and the latest fishing restrictions information call the Lake Tahoe Basin Management Unit at
Showers Lake was too great of a reward for my slacker 7.8 mile day. Showers Lake offers the best campsites between Echo Summit and Carson Pass.
Actually, Showers Lake offers the best campsites on the Pacific Crest Trail between Lake Aloha (and the string of Lakes South to the Desolation Wilderness boundary, about eight miles North of Echo Summit, to Tamarack Lake, a couple of miles South of Blue Lakes, a span of roughly 28 miles.
These are not the only campsites, but the best sites.
Topo Hiking Map
Topo Hiking Map
Round Top Lake
Next page South
Showers to Meiss Cabin
Backpacking Trail Guide
Backpacking Trail Guide
General Sierra Nevada hiking thoughts to relate?
We cover High Sierra Trails and all Backpacking Topics.
Post 'em on
On the Backpacking Trails and Topics Forums we can browse trail locations and you can add your experiences, comments, questions (or pictures and videos) about hiking to Showers Lake.
Or any of the trails in Meiss Country and between Tahoe and Whitney. Browse around the guide and forum.
Below we link to the Echo Summit to Carson Pass Forum and the Showers Lake page: