Monday, August 24, 2015

Sunday Chores & Carson Pass - August 2015

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At times it seems it's all I do, fix things. We had our first mechanical issues (that necessitated getting parts) on our trip to Montana. It was approaching 100° when we started across Nevada and we thought air conditioning would be quite nice. Turned the switch, nothing. Good news was the compressor didn't attempt to kick in so that pointed to an electrical switching issue. Stopped at Napa Auto Parts in Fallon just as they were closing and bought a new relay for in the fuse block under the hood. Air conditioning was fixed so it rained and rained and rained the rest of the trip. When we were pulling out of the Owl Creek Campground, Dee, the owner, pointed out we had a headlight out. O'Reilly's Auto Parts in Rawlins provided two new halogen bulbs. With no room for access from behind, the headlights need to be removed. This was an easy job after figuring out how to do it. I expect the procedure to be erased from memory next time I need to replace a bulb.

The Sunday after our return from Montana was slated for chores. The truck and camper needed a good wash and clean up. The tires needed to be rotated and the oil and filter changed. We were done at noon. "Can we go for a little hike?" the Lady asked. "It would be good to get out."

I suggested Round Top Lake in the Mokelumne Wilderness. I believe the last time I saw it not ice covered was around 15 years ago. We ski in this area frequently in the winter and spring. The Lady was enjoying this because she brings girlfriends here on hiking adventures often on weekdays during her summer break; "Women in the Woods" I've named the outings.

After parking at Woods Lake we took the trail up past Lost Cabin Mine. I am so familiar with the area on skis that we laughed because I had never hiked this trail. We were soon up at Round Top Lake nestled below the Sisters - sub peaks to the east of Round Top Peak.

We circled the lake and looked for trout. Ralph Cutter in his Sierra Trout Guide says there are golden trout here. 

From here we climbed over a small saddle and dropped down to Lake Winnemucca - we refer to it as "Windy Mucka." The weather and afternoon light were wonderful.

After four years of extreme drought, it should not have been a shock at how dry it was. 

The highpoint, Round Top Peak soars above to the south.

This is the view I am use to, from February 2012.

The Lady enjoyed leading and showing me the summer trails.

The Mountain Hemlocks in this area are always a treat to see, one of my favorite conifers.

The trail descends a gully as it drops to Lake Winnemucca.

Here is a February 2013 photo. The Lady is chatting with a woman on snowshoes. Frozen Lake Winnemucca is below with Elephants Back to the left.

After a stop at Lake Winnemucca, the trail follows Woods Creek down, back to the parking at Woods Lake. This made a nice little loop trip. The Lady was right. It was "good to get out."

Last Sunday was slated for maintenance chores on the Lady's Subaru - oil and filter change and rotate the tires. The Lady is getting to be darn good helper in the garage. We finished early. The Lady suggested a hike. I suggested tearing apart the passenger door on the truck and fixing that annoying switch that turns on the interior light when the door is opened - or doesn't turn the light on - or will never turn the light off when the door is closed. Unfortunately, I won this coin toss. Pulling trim pieces and reaching into impossibly tight places to remove a door latch is about as much fun as lying on your back and reaching up under the dash and working on wiring while holding a mini flashlight in your mouth. We were done at noon. "Can we go for a little hike?" the Lady asked. "It would be good to get out."

I suggested heading north from Carson Pass on the Pacific Crest Trail.

The views to the south and west were obscured by smoke filtering in from countless fires.

You should notice Round Top Peak and The Sisters.

The Pacific Crest Trail tops out on a low saddle and then drops into the Lake Tahoe Basin (also the Great Basin).

Once again, this was a rare event to pass this way during the summer time and following a trail.

Meiss Meadow is the beginnings of the Upper Truckee River. It is the historic home of the Lahontan Cutthroat Trout. It was displaced from its historic range here by the introduction of non-native brook trout (char). Several years ago the brook trout were removed and the Lahontan Cutthroat reestablished. The area is now open for a short limited season, catch & release only.

Dropping into the Great Basin.

Meiss Meadows below.

There were only remnant pools of water in this section of the Upper Truckee River. The willows are already turning yellow. In many places the leaves on the aspen are dying and drying up. The effects of our extreme drought are evident most everywhere.

The historic Meiss Cabin is tucked away on the banks of the Upper Truckee.

A friend had an outfitter guide permit that included winter use of this cabin and the barn. I was pleased to see the old combination had been changed and that both buildings showed signs of recent upkeep. The interior of the barn was cleaned up.

We had a snack and water here and laughed, because usually when we visit the Lady sits on the peak of the barn's roof to have lunch. 

These photos are from March 2011, our last normal snowpack winter.

We continued north on the Pacific Crest Trail, signed with the "pregnant triangle".

Meiss Meadows is also the southern loop of the Tahoe Rim Trail.

We headed cross country across the dry meadows to Meiss Lake.

In has been around a dozen years since cattle grazing ended up here. The change has been remarkable. Now there is high lush grasses.

Meiss Lake is shallow and probably suffers from winter kill.

This was a wonderful afternoon to be up here.

After a snack at the lake, we turned around and headed back.

Climbing back over the saddle, we caught up with a young woman from Virginia. She was backpacking. The research project she was working on in Pennsylvania had ended so instead of immediately looking for another job, she decided to go for a walk. She was doing the Pacific Crest Trail in a southerly direction from Donner Pass to Kennedy Meadows in the southern Sierra. She had started from Echo Lakes this morning and asked about reaching her planned destination for spending the night. At the top of the saddle, we got her oriented to the area and told her she had plenty of daylight left to reach her goal.

We shared history and stories about the area and the Pacific Crest Trail further to the south as she walked with us down to Carson Pass. We wished her well and we headed for home.  Once again the Lady was right.  It was "good to get out."

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