by Dave Spencer

Taking advantage of the recent crystallized additions to our winter wonderland, CCSSAR changed February’s practical training from Nighttime 4-wheel Ops to Snowshoe Spooner. Getting a mid-week heads-up on parking conditions at the State Park (more on that later), SAR members rolled into the parking lot at 0930 Saturday to find only three other vehicles there.

After getting shoed up, we headed east to hike counterclockwise around Spooner Lake to Spencer’s Cabin (no relation to CCSSAR’s current Commander), which is actually located in Carson City. Temps were in the 20s to low 30s for the trek, with the sun peeking from behind the clouds every once in a while.

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A number of us had gone with gaiters over rain pants thinking we might get into deeper snow, but gaiters alone did fine even off trail. A couple light layers were all that were required for the trekking, with a fleece on standby if we had to stop for very long. Naturally, it was gorgeous throughout the day, and the slight warming allowed the occasional tree branch to give up its snow, sending additional crystals into the air.

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Spooner Lake Cabin

Spencer’s Cabin is a wood framed building located in the backcountry of Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park in the lower North Canyon area and very near Spooner Lake. It is named after the caretaker that watched over the cattle grazing operations during the early part of the 20th century. The building is currently in a state of arrested decay with its condition tracked and improved upon occasionally by the State of Nevada Public Works Division.

After visiting Spencer’s Cabin, we completed the activity by heading south on the west side of the lake to the parking lot.

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Spencer’s Cabin

Arriving back at the parking area we found bumper to bumper traffic as folks waited for the 12-15 cleared parking spots to open up. We also had requests from two vehicle owners for assistance, as they had gotten stuck in the snow attempting to go around the loop. With some muscle and finesse, we were able to free the two vehicles without breaking out the tow straps and winch cables.

Still wondering how many other vehicles got stuck throughout the rest of the afternoon after we left…

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