Emerald Pools Hike

On Pi day, 3/14/15 Kate and I hiked to the Emerald Pools on the Yuba River, off the Bowman Lake Rd, with Janelle and Stephen.  The weather was high 60s, but because of the drought the river was much lower than normally would be at this time.  Plus there normally would have been snow at this level.  We bushwacked it first to the canyon then to the pools and big waterfall.  I was so glad to get back into the mountains.  Everyone loved it including Ben and Biggs.

Jackson Meadows October 2014

October is probably the best month for camping and fishing.  Empty campgrounds, hungry fish, nice cool weather, fall leaves and low lakes providing lots of shoreline exploring.  East Meadows campground was in its final week with only one other camper sharing the whole place.  The camphost had long gone, dogs could run free and it was so quiet and peaceful.  Until it started raining around 2am Wednesday morning and didn’t let up till the afternoon.  Lots of wind too.  So much, so that I had to take up the awning for fear it would rip.   Temperatures dropped to high 30’s or low 40’s.   For that rainy Wednesday we stayed in the RV and I finished two books and started a third.  I loved it.

Kayak fishing was the best ever.  I started fishing Tuesday morning and within 60 seconds of tossing out my trolling rig with a worm on the end, I had a fish on.  The strikes were constant.  I fished two hours on Tuesday, three on Thursday and just one on Friday, the day I left.  I caught 16 trout and took home 13.  Sizes ranging from 15″ – 12″.  No monsters but a whole lot of action.  I use a SEPS dodger with a worm about 18″ behind.  I have a specific area of the lake where the fishing is consistently awesome.

The East Meadows campground on Jackson Meadows Reservoir is now closed for the season, but the adjacent campground, Passe Creek CG is left open all year, so weather permitting (until it snows) I hope to make at least one more trip up there.  As seen in the photos the lake was down the most I have ever seen, but still beautiful.

Loon Lake #4 September

This was going to be my last trip to Loon Lake this year and I was so looking forward to kayaking, fishing and beach combing while the lake was down.  I love the boulders and granite formations that become exposed once the water recedes.  Meanwhile the King Fire had started near Pollack Pines but I figured it was far enough away to not affect me.  Well, not really.  Even though the lake air was clear, they had closed the main campground.  However, I found I could go to the other side of the lake where the North Loon campground was located and it was open.  It was good enough for the evening but I was concerned about getting my kayak down to the lake.  It was a pretty good distance encumbered by boulders of all sizes.  And once I got it down, imagine the struggle getting it back up.  Also around 2pm the wind had shifted and the air became rather polluted with smoke.

Well the next day I strapped on my wheels to the kayak and slowly but surely made my way down.  I marked the route so I could use it going back up.  The morning was gorgeous and the dogs and I went for a kayak ride.  Ben swims alongside while Biggs rides in the bow.  The idea is to give them plenty of exercise so that when I leave them in the RV the next morning while I fish they will be more relaxed.

The next morning I woke up to a gorgeous sunrise, the likes I had never seen before.  It happened at exactly 6:30 a.m. and only lasted a few minutes.  Luckily I got some great photos of it.  I kayaked over to the south shore, where the regular campground is, and then west shore, then back.  Trolling all the way.  I only caught one trout, a bit disappointing, but I had  caught two the other morning from the shore.   Now on this day, Wednesday, the afternoon was clear, although I could see the billowing smoke in the west.  I planned on staying till Friday.  However, around 4ish the only other camper on the lake came over and told me that Wentworth Springs road was closed and they were closing Icehouse road to incoming traffic due to the fire.  Stumpy Meadows reservoir had been overtaken by the fire, which is on my normal route home.   The smoke clouds were exceptionally massive and scary looking so I figured if I had to evacuate quickly, getting that kayak up from the lake would really slow me down.  So I got right on that task.  Actually, dragging it up  was slow going but not too bad.  The wheels on the kayak worked great, especially having them strapped on really tight, but this time gravity was not my friend.  Once I got the kayak up I figured I just better leave all together.  Then on my way driving out  on Icehouse I met up with a couple fire fighters who were on their way to evacuate any campers on Loon Lake (stupid enough to still be there), and I was the only one, so I would have gotten shagged anyway.  I didn’t get home till after sundown but was glad to be safe at home with my sweet Kate.

Subsequently I put up an interactive map of the fire here.  Check it out.

Jackson Meadows #4 September 2014

Jackson Meadows, site #34 with just me and the dogs 9/2-9/5.  However, this time I was able to bring my kayak, on my new trailer.  It worked out great!  Tried trolling with a flasher (dodger) by SEP’s.  With a worm on the end, it was awesome.  Silky smooth lake in the mornings.  So much fun to glide along, looking at the scenery and waiting for the strikes.  On Friday, last day, I went out at 7:30am, back at 9:30 and had caught 8 trout.  Three of them I released since I only want to keep those over 12″, plus the limit is five per day.  Total caught whole trip 12, kept six.  Dogs stayed in the RV while fishing.  Then we went for a boat ride, with Boggz on board and Ben swimming alongside, which he loved.  He could easily swim across the lake no problem.  Also got a lot of reading in and hammock time.  A very good trip.  One more time for East Meadows campground (10/13-10/17) then it closes and i will be going to Pass Creek, which they leave open during the winter.

Jackson Meadows #3 August 2014

This third visit to Jackson Meadows we took the grandkids, Olallie and Atticus.  They only stayed over one night but we got in swimming, fishing, hanging (in hammock), dominoes, campfire and an all around great time.  I missed them all when kate took them home on Tuesday.  I stayed for a couple more nights.  Got some fishing in, caught 3 rainbows, took home two.  And started some new books.  Also enjoyed my new hammock.  Very quiet campground, with hardly anyone there the first part of the week.  Always the benefit of going during the week and after school has started.  Temperature got down to 49 in the mornings. Here are some pics, Kate took the vertical ones.

Loon Lake #3 – 8/14

Our third trip up to Loon Lake this year was met with two cloudy drizzly days.  But we had a ball anyway.  The weather formations are always awesome in the mountains.  Got in some fishing (caught a nice rainbow from the kayak), hiking, kayaking, a little swimming and paddleboard for the first time.  We met up with our friends Debi King (who brought her paddleboard) and Maggie Lane with her pup Coco. Debi’s class C RV was camped right next to ours.  Learned a new game called Qwerkle ???  which was great except I got killed every game.  The sunset on the last nite was so awesome .. I had to include more than one picture of it below.  I will be back here in September.  Fall camping is the best.  So is the fishing.

Loon Lake Campout 7/20/14

This five day campout at Loon Lake was probably one of the best.  We camped next to our friends Gary Goldsmith and his wife Cheryl and their new pup Benetar.  Benetar is only 7 months old and it was his first time in the wilderness.  Kate came up with the kayaks for the last 3 days.  We hiked  10 miles plus on the Rubicon Trail into Desolation wilderness.  Kayaked all over the lake.  Swimming was glorious, even tho a little chilly upon entry.  And I did kayak fishing and caught 4 nice rainbows on a glassy, early morning still lake.  Got a nice rain shower on Thursday nite.  All in all a terrific time.

Loon Lake Campout 6/20/14

I spent four nights up at Loon Lake.  First visit this year.  Kate joined me for two of the nights.  It was gorgeous!  Lake was full to the brim, right up to the tree line.  I have never seen it this full.   Shore fishing, other than right off our campsite, required a hike up the Rubicon trail about a mile or so.  And well worth it.  Butt Rock was totally submerged, not seen at all.  I only caught one fish but got quite a few nibbles.  Seems I experienced the same thing last year with the nibblers.  Only could swim the first day, and that was even quite chilly.  Great trip overall, especially having my Kate along this time.

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.