PSA: All Lake Tahoe State Parks are closed as of February 27 until further notice due to winter storms.

The Team was back in the snow again! Beating the storm closure by about a week, team members donned the floppy shoes and headed out to perform some snowshoe and navigation training while enjoying the sun and sightseeing around Spooner Lake.

“Navigation training” for this practical included: Global Positioning System (GPS) work, waypoints, performing Position Format changes, recording tracks, and exporting tracks to other devices. Recording and exporting individual tracks is relied upon during missions. The exported and forwarded tracks are imported into an electronic mission map allowing the Incident Commander and planners to “see” where teams have searched. The go-to electronic GPS device is a cell phone using the GAIA app with the stand alone GPS unit as a back-up. As you would expect, members must know how to readily perform these functions in all equipment they carry. Compasses and maps are also used.

Other training included winter survival, building snow caves, and a discussion on the versatile pinecone. “Ever eat a pine tree? Many parts are edible”. Euell Theophilus Gibbons.

Admittedly there are times when one might not want to advertise a favorite spot. Since we are a public service organization we kind of have to let the word out; a snowy trek on the Spooner Loop Trail really is gorgeous and a terrific outing for one who is just starting out with those “floppy shoes”. There are a number of additional trail routes available so that one can not only adjust the length of the trek to accommodate their skillset and stamina, but can also avoid or add elevation changes as desired.

“Nestled in the Lake Tahoe Basin, the Spooner Backcountry is a widespread recreational and natural oasis, with a lake surrounded by aspens and more than 12,000 acres of forested, open space. The park features 50 miles of hiking, equestrian and mountain biking trails and primitive roads. A few of the more popular trails are the Marlette, Red House, Flume and Tahoe Rim Trails.” Spooner State Park link:

Full map link:

Trekking around Spooner Lake is an outstanding way to begin the prep for the longer and more arduous hikes mentioned above as the “more popular trails”. No doubt those are popular trails but not what one would want to begin their snowshoeing experience with. That said, I think our Team believes the Spooner Loop Trail should be in the running as one of the “more popular trails”. The Team had a great time interacting with other snowshoers on the trail and getting a glimpse of folks ice fishing on the lake. Terrific day!