I decided to head to Round Lake for a one night early season trip. On the drive in I encountered more weather than I expected (wind, fog and rain). I came via higway 88 over Carson Pass. It was nice at the pass (very windy) but getting there was slow going in the weather. Once I got to the Big Meadow trailhead on Highway 89 I discovered the parking lot was closed. I parked my truck on the shoulder of the highway near across from where the trail starts. I have done this trip quite a few times so that is why I picked it for an ealy season trip. I figured I knew this area well enough that I didn't need the trail to be visible. See the this trip for a more complete trail description. This picture give you some idea of the trail conditions. The snow wasn't all that deep, but enough to cover the majority of the trail.
Once I got here I knew that I would probably not be making it to Round Lake. This is Big Meadow and the break in the snow is the stream that runs though it. I traveled up and down the stream but did not really find a spot that would have allowed me to cross it safely. It was pretty windy and cold so I really didn't want to get wet anyway. There is a bridge that crosses this stream but I was unable to locate it until I was pumping water later. (It was a good couple of feet below water and that water was moving pretty fast.)
Here is a shot of the stream close up. It doesn't look like it was moving that fast but it was, and the trouble was it was hard to tell where the banks of it really were with the snow.
Here is a little brdge further along the trail to Scotts Lake. I thought about heading over there but with the wind I knew that the ridge that Scotts Lake sits on would only be worse.
I saw a couple of these markers on trees. I guess with a map and compass you could tell where you were based on the coordinates they give. I am not sure that is their real purpose though. I will have to ask a ranger next time.
I set up camp near the edge of Big Meadow. This is my one man tent. It had never been set up on the snow before this. It did well and camping on snow always seems to clean your ground sheet rather well.
I found some solid ground to set up my gear on and a tree to lean up against out of the wind. The clouds were really zipping along and between that and the stream rambling along it was quite noisy. But it is a good kind of noisy.
The next day was beautiful. I took a few shots on the way out. Great quick get away trip. I would plan on looking sooner for a place to cross the stream than where I did (Big Meadow). I am sure ther must be a safe place somewhere.
This the "stream" near higway 89.