was our last day on the trail. We packed up and hit the trail by 8:30 that morning to give ourselves plenty of time to meet the shuttle. We didn't really have a good plan b should the private shuttle not work out so we decided to not miss it. The trail from this side of Stony Ridge Lake to Meeks Bay Trailhead is about 6 miles. The trail is all downhill. This photo was shot backwards into the morning sun to show our decent down. See map below for route .
You pass Shadow Lake first. To me it looks like Shadow Lake it trying to turn into a meadow. Shortly after Shadow Lake you cross its outlet. Here is Eric surveying the best crossing spot. The water levels are typically low this time of season making for less bugs (not even a single mosquito on our trip) and much easier water crossings.
Crag Lake is next. Here is a shot of this nice lake. We saw a group of 5 or 6 around this lake packing up. If you are trying to lessen the mileage on this trip you could camp around this lake. It is pretty darn close to Stony Ridge though but you could stay here one night then then use Rubicon the next night.
Besides a faint trail to HIdden Lake this is the only other junction today. This will take you towards General Creek and back to the PCT. We stayed right/straight to get to Meeks Bay.
The bulk of this section is covered and the decent is not too steep. Here is Eric motoring along.
We were making good time and
were really ahead of schedule. Here is the Meeks Creek crossing. The bridge
was split in two but the water was low enough it didn't matter. I imagine
this crossing could be difficult in the Spring until this bridge is repaired.
It appears a large stump either washed into this bridge or fell onto it.
from Jedediah that this bridge has still not been repaired (check with
ranger on current conditions before counting on it being there) **6/30/18**
We ran into a ranger (before this sign) and we chatted some. He told us there was some evidence of bear further down the trail and that Lake Genevieve had a small fire on Monday. He asked us how it looked. You may have noticed that I didn't post a picture of Lake Genevieve... well we were focused on heading down the trail and I forgot to take a picture, sorry. It sounds like the fire was on the far side of the lake as we saw no evidence on the trail side. The ranger did check our permit and reminded us the rules in Desolation. He was very nice about it and was glad to hear that our trip went well.
The decent stopped and we got to the dirt road section. The very flat dirt road section. I was able to get a call to Shuttle It and Tahoe Joe said he would meet us at noon. We hustled down the trail to meet him. We stopped and chatted with some English hikers for a while as they were looking for some backpacking route suggestions. Eric gave them a rundown on the neighboring lakes/routes. We made it to the trailhead about noon and within a couple minutes Tahoe Joe rolled up and had us back to our car in no time. He was very nice and chatted with us about how he started his business and about the support he has provided to backpackers. It sounds like he will do whatever you need him to do: ride to town for showers, drop off supplies, shuttle you to/from trailheads, etc. He told us he even delivered a pizza and champagne celebration to a group of PCT hikers. If you are in need of a shuttle or more call him (530-318-9294). Tell him I sent you and maybe I can get a free ride sometime. Image shows the road to trailhead. If you want a better route description of this section of trail see this trip from 2006. If you are looking to get 20 miles of Desolation Wilderness under your belt this route is hard to top. You visit all the highlights and could do it in less time if you are willing to do more miles, or forgo the layover day. If you have more time you could extend this trip to Echo Lakes as well. Definitely add this section of trail to your possible trip list. It is popular for good reasons.