Jackson Meadows Reservoir Campout May 2014

Opening day for camping at East Meadows Campground at Jackson Meadows, 5/23/14.  When I booked it six months ago, I didn’t realize it was Memorial Day weekend.  The shoreline got a little crowded but all good people.  Lots of families, lots of kids and dogs.  Amazing how many dogs were off leash.  It didn’t bother me but it did seem the new camp host didn’t really have it under control.  But no mishaps.  I caught two nice size trout, which Kate really appreciated.  Both real fighters too.  Water was out again, so the bathroom situation was porta pottys and the faucets were dry.  Lake was down as you can see from the pics but Pass Creek was running quite strong.  Amazing how much snow was still on the mountains.  Weather was in the 70’s.

Lake Davis Campout May 2014

May 16th we had our first RV campout of the season going to Lake Davis, near the town of Portola, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada Mtns.   It was the first time camping there and the sites were terrific.  We brought kayaks this time but found it quite windy which limited the amount of kayaking we could do, comfortably.  My experience of fishing was lousy.  Lots of weeds in the water.  I understand Mallard Bay is a good fishing spot.  I did try it when I was leaving but also had no luck there either.  A couple days after we got back I went up to Lake Valley Reservoir for the morning  and redeemed myself as a fisherman by catching  two nice sized trout.  It was interesting to see so many pelicans at this freshwater lake.


Jackson Meadows November 2013

My last campout at Jackson Meadows 11/4 – 11/7/13.   The forest service left open Pass Creek campground but there was no one there.  I had the whole lake to myself for three whole days.  It was amazing.  Actually when I got there on Monday, there was a solo fisherman camped just below me in the overload CG.  He left early the next morning after catching four trout Monday nite, one huge one.

The Hennesey Pass road out there, had some icy spots which made me a little nervous if I was to meet up with a logging truck going the opposite direction.  That could have put me out of the dry ruts and onto some slippery stuff, however, it didn’t happen.  Weather was gorgeous in the low 30s at nite and 50s during the day.

As far as fishing, they didn’t seem to want what I had to offer for the first 2 days.  I was using power bait then I tried every lure in my tackle box.  Finally I decided to add more weight to  my sliders and use the red powerbait.  This allowed me to cast out further and into deeper water.  Bingo!  It resulted in a beauty.  A 19″ rainbow trout who was a real fighter getting him in.  This was Wednesday nite, then the next morning, I caught another smaller one, around 12″ but I let him go.  I figured that big boy was enough for me.

Fall fishingFall fishing at jackson meadows

Kate and I had it for dinner when I got back, and between the two of us we could only eat half of it.  The rest will be another meal.  We cooked it on the bbq and tried a new method of slicing it down the sides and back, and stuffing it with garlic, butter, rosemary and lemon.   Then Kate made a butter, wine and capers sauce to put over it.  So tender and tasty.

trout cookingBBQ Trout

With no one around, I only heard the sounds of the geese, ducks, birds, lapping of water on the lake and wind in the pines.  It was such a heartwarming feeling.  A really sweet connection with this place.  I also find it interesting and fun to walk thru the empty campgrounds, the absolute stillness as a contrast to the summertime hustle and bustle of campers which ended only a month earlier.  And walking along the shoreline as the water level keeps dropping, displaying new things to see and places to explore, all previously hidden under the water.

Wrights Beach for Halloween

On October 31st, Kate, I and the dogs went to Wrights Beach for her birthday weekend.  We lucked out with the weather, being nice and sunny, no wind and mild temperatures.  Brought our bikes and road the Kartum trail along the cliffs.  It was gorgeous.  We saw no whales this time but did see a seal checking us out in Duncan Cove.  We stayed in site #1 which was pretty  nice, good for handling the dogs and easy access to the beach, right outside our door.

Jackson Meadows Reservoir 10/13

Due to the government shutdown most campgrounds were closed.  Many prematurely since they were due to close later on in October.  However, the Pass Creek overload campground, by the boat launch was still open as it is every year.  No facilities like water and bathrooms but a nice place to camp right on the lake.  So for the five days 10/14 to 10/18 I stayed there with Ben and Biggs, fishing.  I caught a couple nice rainbows however I didnt do as well as others, especially the boat fisherman.  Weather was delightful but cold at night, waking in the morning to 35 in the camper.  Lucky I had two dogs to keep me warm.  The lake was down the most so far this year, as you can see from the photos which provided some real interesting beach combing.  I think I have found about 4 or 5 rampela fishing lures this year once the water started receding.  Found one huge one  on this trip.

The sunset Wednesday nite was truly amazing.  I am having such a tough time selecting which sunset photos to put up since it just kept getting better and better.  I am showing the top two but there are 3 others that are definitely worthy of showing also.

Although, I can go up to this Pass Creek CG again this year (since they don’t close it) it will not be accessible once it snows.  Hopefully I can fit in one more trip before that happens.

Loon Lake Campout

Due to the ridiculous government shutdown, my plans to go to Wrights lake were aborted.  However, since Loon Lake is run for the govt. by a concessionaire it was still open.  Loon is also right next to desolation wilderness, the beautiful granite laden high country of the Sierra.  I hadn’t been to Loon in 5 years, I believe, and it was a great reminder of how beautiful it is.  I think its now my favorite lake to camp at.  It’s about 1.75 hours from the house with all smooth road and no traffic.

Fishing was terrific with one day getting strikes or nibbles on practically every cast of rainbow colored powerbait.  I ended up with 5 nice rainbow trout.  It was cold and windy at night with huge winds on Friday morning easily bringing the temperatures into the 30’s considering wind chill factor.  A couple fishing boats left out on the lake overnight were swamped with water from the waves splashing over the stern.  Bad luck had my heater deciding not to work in the rv, but I was able to use the oven and it heated the place up just fine.

With the lake down considerably, hiking along the shore was perfect.  Loon has amazing boulders combined with beautiful sandy beaches,  reminiscent of Sand Harbor in Lake Tahoe.   The ferns and grassy areas all had a yellow autumn color to them however the Aspen trees were just beginning to change. When the shoreline got a little rough for hiking with the dogs I was able to use my Garmin  and bushwack over to the Rubicon trail running parallel to my hike and came back that way.

My campsite, #17, was right next to the lakeshore, protected from the wind by plenty of trees and  with a little path directly to the lake.  A really sweet spot.

Fall Creek Mountain Hike 2013

After a couple delays we finally did our annual Fall Creek Mountain hike on 9/22.  It was just Stephen Bannister and Janelle and me this time.  We added to the normal route by going north after the climb toward Culbertson lake and then dropped down to the Crooked Lakes Trail and back to Island Lake.

fall creek mtn hike route

Here are photos of the trip.  You can go right thru them by beginning with first one and clicking the arrows to move fwd or back.

Azelea Lake and Flora Lake on the Pacific Crest Trail

Last Sunday Kate and I tried a new hike.  We went to Boreal Ski Ranch to pick up the Pacific Crest Trail head but instead of going north toward Castle Peak, we instead went south planning to see the three lakes … Azelea Lake, Flora Lake and Lake Angela.  The PCT is well worn so its a great trail, easy rolling at around the 7200 foot level.

PCT google earth map
Click to enlarge

In about a mile we found a trail off to our right and looking at my Garmin Dakota GPS it had to be the trail to the first lake, Azelea.  Sure enough a real beauty. (click images for full size)

Azelea Lake, PCT

Azelea LakeThe next lake, Flora Lake was not far away at all according to the GPS and sure enough the lakes side trail led us right to it.  However, the trail seemed to end at Flora Lake and we resorted to bushwacking climbing over nice granite but also plowing thru manzanita.

Kate and Biggs along the PCT

Ben on ganite


View to Donner Lake
Donner Lake
Biggs, the braveheart

Biggs, being so low to the ground, had a rough time so Kate or I carried him thru some but then decided to just put him in my pack.

Geoff Panek and Biggs hiking

We finally got to some relatively flat granite where the big watt power lines were going overhead.  I kinda thought if we followed them we would get to Lake Angela but it was getting a little late, and I forgot that I had Google Earth on my phone and I was getting reception.  That would have showed me what you see here on this map I pulled up at home.

Kate Stewart and Ben and Biggs
Stopping for water at the power lines
Google Earth map of flora lake
If we had followed the power lines to our right we would have eventually met up with a trail to Angela

If you look carefully and blow up this map you will see the power lines. Lake Angela is off the map to the left.

Instead we chose to go left and  try and get back down to PCT which we could just make out below the cliffs we were on.

Pacific Crest Trail near Donner
You can see our track where we tried to get down several places but either too steep with the dogs or way too much manzanita to get thru.

Here is what we were dealing with:
lake flora hike

Biggs went right after me
Kate Stewart Mountain climber
Kate, not too happy about the descent

kate stewart hiking

Pacific Crest Trail
Our view looking down, and all the brush. PCT was down there.

Garmin at PCT

We finally gave up on going to PCT and just retraced back to Flora lake and everyone but me had a nice swim.

Flora Lake

Flora Lake
The trail around Flora Lake

Next time we will go all the way to Lake Angela, probably following PCT till it meets up with side trail to that lake.

Flora Lake loop on Google earth

Jackson Meadows Sunset

I  attempted to camp at Gold Lakes last week however, the terrain was a bit rough for my old RV, so I ended up back at my favorite campground, Jackson Meadows Reservoir.  Lousy fishing again due to the warm water but had a nice time with the dogs swimming and kayaking.  We had some thunderstorms over the Sierra so the cloud formations at sunset were pretty amazing.  Here are some shots.

Jackson meadows sunset Jackson meadows sunset Jackson Meadows sunset Jackson Meadows sunset