Shealor Lake a beautiful place
August 21, 2008
Go COL 0822
BY Sam Bauman
For the Appeal
Mountain lakes are around us on all sides, from Lake Tahoe on down to Washoe Lake on our doorstep.
Many are quite popular and often well visited, like Round Lake and Winnemucca. One nicely off the well-tread path is Shealor Lake, off Highway 88 from Minden. I’ve been there several times and always found it to be a true gem of the Sierra Nevada ” nestled up aginst a wall of sheer granite with several rocky places to enter the water from (no mud and weeds). There are six other lakes in the same area, but smaller. Camping is pretty much wherever you care to drive a peg.
I was there last week along with Robin and David Rittenhouse of South Tahoe. Veteran campers, they planned to spend the night there. Because of the slowly mending knee, I decided I’d hike to the top of the ridge which overlooks the lake, a vertical supposedly of 600 feet but actually less, and 3/4 of a mile up and 3/4 again down.
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The trailhead starts just after a resort on the left for Silver Lake; no advanced warning along the road but if you cruise you’ll easily spot the small sign. Plenty of parking spaces, a big sign showing the trails with the beginning of the trail on the right looking uphill. (Don’t go to the left; it looks like it might be a trail but isn’t. A couple of years ago I took it right after the trailhead had been moved to the right and wound up bushwacking across some steep inclines. Scratches galore)!
The trial starts out plain dirt but soon you start running into rocky lifts, hard on a weak knee, but I was using two hiking poles and it all went fine. When we emerged on the top of the bowl surrounding the lake, I wanted to get far enough to be able to see the lake down below, so we hiked on to where a tree offered shade and the view. Lunch there was the pleasure it always is in the Sierra Nevada.
Robin and David struggled into their backcountry packs and headed down the rest of the way, while I turned back. Downhill was actually trickier than uphill as I had to use the poles with caution because of worries about the healing knee. It took me about 20 minutes over the uphill trek, but the knee never quivered.
Here’s some of what Robin wrote about Shealor:
“Wonderful trip to Shealor Lake. Moderate hike up to top of hill, strenuous hike down to lake, a bit scrambly, but much better marked than a few years ago when we went. A fairly short trek, mainly over glaciated rock.
“The lake is very clear and cool — perfect for swimming this time of year. Cools you off without freezing you. We found a lovely camp spot ” sandy and flat, near a good swimming entree, rocks slanting into the water and then very deep so you could slide right into the water easily — no wading thru muck, or difficulty getting back out. Refreshing after the hot hike in.
“Warm night with a near-full moon. Next day hot again, hiked to two nearby ‘ponds ” one just behind Shealor, easily reached, but surrounded by plants, marshy and shallow, the other was down the hill toward the east following a rocky stream bed from the lake outlet. Some cairns along the way, and eventually we could see the ‘pond’ but didn’t try to go to it because it was surrounded by marshy growth. On our return we swam again to cool off, then lunch and a nice rest in the shade.
“Then packed up and faced the trek out with our packs, not quite so heavy after eating our food.
“Took it easy and stopped to enjoy the view and the breeze frequently.
“One thing we were impressed by was the silence; also there were only few other hikers and campers. “
NICE DEMANDING HIKE
Here’s the trek: Hike Description: Ophir Creek Trail-Davis Creek Park to Tahoe Meadows. Ophir Creek climbs from Washoe Valley at Davis Creek Park to the Tahoe Rim Trail at Tahoe Meadows trailhead. The 3,600-foot elevation gain in 6.5 miles is not for the faint of heart, but provides a close-up view of the geology of Slide Mountain, learning about the Carson Range “plumbing system,” and a tremendous sense of accomplishment. Strenuous. Total of 6.5 miles.
Meeting Place/Time: Tahoe Meadows Trailhead, south side at 7 a.m. Sunday, Aug. 24. Will then carpool and drive to Davis Creek trailhead to start hike. Contact (775) 298-0012 or firstname.lastname@example.org.