Grover Hot Springs State Park

We went to Lake Tahoe, hoping to camp at Sugar Pine Point, because it’s open all winter, except it was closed.  The reason given was that there had been too much snow fall.  To be fair, the snow snow covered the permanent bear boxes.  It would have been a lot of work to keep the site serviceable, but still, they could have simply stipulated that guests have to clear out their own bear bags.

We ended up snow-shoeing instead.  It was fun, leisurely, and passed the time.  When it came time to find somewhere to sleep, we got in the car and kept calling places until we found Grover Hot Springs State Park.

This place was a serious find.  It’s an hour from Sugar Pine Point, but absolutely worth it.  The snow cover there was a foot or less, but that was ok.  We just set up the tent on the snow and went to sleep.  It had a clean bathroom, so that was good.  The nice part of the site was that it wasn’t far from a perfect sized river.

The real find came when we realized we were five minutes away from a hot spring you could get into.  It was a huge pool steaming hot surrounded by snow.  Next to the hot spring pool was a regular pool heated to 85 degrees so you could cool off.

Sitting in the hot spring, surrounded by snow covered meadows and mountains is the way to go.  Absolutely come here if you have the chance.

Winter Camping Trip II

Went back to Lake Tahoe area for another winter camping trip, this time by myself.  All I can say it it was an experience.

First, it took 20 hours to get there.  Google Maps apparently doesn’t notify you of slowdown in excess of three hours.  Next time I’ll just turn around, this the purpose of this trip was to test out sleeping the bed of the truck, under the tonneau cover.

Verdict: Only sleep under a tonneau cover if you have no other options.

Yes, it provides you 100% wind protection and a good deal of physical security, but it is largely unpleasant.  You have less than a foot clearance over your face.  Getting dressed to step out into the cold is difficult as well.

The weather was 25F during the day and 15 at night.

I realized when I woke up that while I could open the locking mechanism to the DiamondBack HD tonneau cover I have from the inside easily, if the outside lock were to freeze, I would be stuck.  That would be bad.

Since there are several places you must sleep in your truck, such as California Sno-Parks, I’m researching my next best options.

Mountain Hardwear Phantom Down Hooded Jacket

Super warm down jacket.

Update: This thing is crazy hot.  I put it on to go for a walk in 50F weather and within five minutes I was sweating.  There is absolutely no reason to wear this above 40F, maybe even 30F.

In retrospect, I would have been better off with the lighter version of this to wear over my Nano-Air, but oh well.  Now I just have to swap them as I get warmer or colder.