Walking on White: South Lake Tahoe

Just A Day, Trips

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Goal: Snowshoe day hike to Cathedral Lake in South Lake Tahoe (typically 4.4 miles roundtrip on foot)
Reality: Made it somewhere halfway (hiked about 5 miles total)
When you have a destination in mind, it’s hard to not reach it. You’re looking at the map, and you know you’re close-ish but the sun is starting to drop and you forgot a lighter to cook your hot trail meal, so you’re hangry, and you know you just have to turn around.
That’s how it went on this day hike snowshoe trip a few weeks back. In the snow, the trail takes on a new life. It’s no longer where it should be. It winds around side to side, up and down. It’s longer. It causes you to truly trust those who came before you, hoping that they knew where the hell they were going (a trust that was broken the following day in an attempt to hike to Big Meadow off Rt. 89). Plus you go snail-slow on snowshoes compared to walking. These elements made it so that we’d hiked as long as we had time for, and were still at least 45 minutes from our lake goal.
But the frustration of missing out on your idealized trip quickly fades as the views and beauty come back into focus. You’re romping through pillows of white, and as your beaver-tale-of-a-foot plunges into the white powder, you find yourself floating, with few, if any, people nearby, and the glistening blue waters all around. We didn’t need our destination; we had already gotten what we came for.

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All photos in this post taken on a Canon Rebel SL-1.

Alpine Lake Weekend

Trips, Weekends



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Tahoe Rim Trail – Weekend in the Tahoe Basin from Big Meadow to Showers Lake
16 miles Total
Friday Night – 3 miles in to Round Lake
Saturday – 10 miles to Showers Lake and Back to base at Round Lake
Sunday – 3 miles out and a dip in Lake Tahoe just 20 minutes down 89


About halfway to Showers Lake we came across a rustic cabin and barn; this is the original home and barn of the Meiss family, pioneers that came to the area in 1878 and in time used the property only during the summer for grazing cattle.  Eventually, through a land exchange in 1965, the Meiss family property was turned over to the Forest Service.
Evelyn Meiss Richards said of the family property,
“My father…drove his herd of cattle by horseback, taking five days, through Plymouth, Silver Lake, and Caples Lake…to our range for the summer… My three sisters and I had many a lovely summer fishing and riding horseback. Once a week some of us would ride our horses to Meyers to pick up our mail. It took us most of the day for the trip. My mother, in the meantime, would either make ice cream to be frozen in the snow bank, or bread and biscuits in the wood stove.”
The cabin and barn are still there to see in the midst of a vibrant green meadow full of wildlife just before climbing to the refreshing waters of Showers Lake.  It’s quite an experience while hiking through Meiss Meadow to reflect on a “simpler” life of subsistence vs. our hectic daily grind; are we better off with our iphones and desk jobs or are we just longing for a return to a life based on need.  To imagine what it would be like to make life in the meadow for the summer, only leaving for supplies and waking daily to the sounds of chipmunks, birds, and the strong Sierra wind blowing through the tall grasses of your very own meadow.