Emigrants Pass on Covered Wagon Peak






The History of Caples Lake Resort The Washoe Indian Tribe from Carson Valley would hunt, fish and forage in the summer around Caples Lake which was originally known as Twin Lakes because the original meadows had two shallow lakes, approximately six feet deep. The emigrants passed through here in 1849 to the gold fields on the Western slopes of the Sierras on their trail over Emigrant Pass to the right of where the weather station is now located. This was the last and highest pass, 9550 ft. traversed by the emigrants on their journey to the Gold country. Doc Caples, an early emigrant, passed though the area and settled with his family in the Sacramento Valley in 1849. He came back to graze cattle in the summer and established a trading post on the north side of the meadow and Caples lake. The dam on the Northwest side and the spillway on the West side of the lake were constructed in 1922 and raised in 1952. A mule pulled Fresno used in the original damn construction sits in front of the lodge full of wildflowers. We kayaked across Caples Lake in a much deeper lake than the original lake. Since the dam construction the lake is some 80 feet deep. Giant boulders line the lake shore and protrude from the lake near the shores. These giant granite rocks were carried by glaciers and dropped randomly after the ice age thaw. The trip across the lake was some two miles and we landed at the outflow of Emigrant creek which originates from Emigrant Lake some 1000 feet above Caples Lake. We donned our hiking boots and found the trail to Emigrant Lake. We hiked 1000 vertical feet in two miles to reach Emigrant Lake. The hike ascended through beautiful pine and hemlock forest and past a couple of gorgeous meadows now exhibiting the early paintbrush of Jack Frost. We also ascended several boulder fields. At the gorgeous blue lake we gazed across upon the sheer granite walls 9565 foot Covered Wagon Peak where in the mid 1800's Conestogas lumbered across the towering ridge above carrying forth our ancestors who had a distant dream of a new life among the gold fields of California. I swore I could see the shadows of those wagons today. This was the highest point reached on the emigrants journey west. How they ever accomplished such a feat remains a gigantic mystery to me. We covered some 8 miles total-4 miles by Kayak and 4 miles hiking. The day was gorgeous! Our day ended with panic when our Vixen cat Cleopatra escaped through the open door of our RV as we entered! We spent the next half hour trying to retrieve her from beneath the bus. She wrenched herself free from capture once and then our hero Nancy was able to coax her into her arms. We then had a great dinner of salmon,calamari and capellini with feta cheese and artichokes at Passeretti's Restaurant. We downed a jug of wine to settle our nerves! All's well that ends well!

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