This trip report comes from Robyn Embry, a local pro downhill racer living in Kings Beach, California, for the past seven years. She can be found climbing rocks and skiing powder when not enjoying life on two wheels; Fine more from Robyn at http://therobynator.blogspot.com.
Faucherie Lake had been spoken of highly by several friends who spend time there yearly, and we had always thought it would be fun to check it out. It’s hard to get far away from crowds by car on a busy summer weekend, but we took a gamble figuring it was a bit out of the way and the road is quite rough. Looking for a paddle-in campsite is also a good way to avoid the masses, and gave us an advantage over the car campers.
Getting to the lake required 2 ½ hours of bouncing up rock-studded dirt roads. After nearly losing the canoe off the top and fearing the destruction of other key items, we finally reached the lake, intact. Off came the canoe and we began stuffing gear into waterproof dry bags. Though sleeping under the stars is nice, a tent seemed ideal for this trip if we intended to keep mosquitoes away. Inflatable sleeping pads went in as well, which had not been used in at least a few summers since I’ve been too busy with bike racing.
For food and kitchen we went for luxury, packing a cooler full of good eats and hauling along the old 3-burner camp stove. The canoe should still stay afloat, and it would be worth carrying the weight since the paddle to camp is short. It might be ideal to pack lighter for a longer trip on a river or larger lake, bringing a backpacking stove and maybe some dehydrated camp meals, though the advantage of a canoe is being able to carry a fair amount more than would comfortably fit in a backpack. We did, however, pack a water filter instead of lugging in a full jug. After all, we were camping near a pretty decent water source.
Upon launching the canoe, we first headed toward the islands straight ahead of us so we could inspect them for camping potential, but we reached them in only a few minutes and deemed them too close to the parking area to really feel secluded. Beyond the islands there was a beautiful inlet surrounded by granite outcroppings, but the most ideal site was already occupied and we did not want to impose. Instead, we contoured along the shoreline looking for an ideal location across the lake.
After paddling to the other end of the lake and away from others, we found ourselves in a quiet little cove with several flat areas to pitch a tent. In all, it took perhaps 15 minutes to paddle there, but it was hidden behind a rocky point and out of sight (and sound) from the rest of the lake and campers. We only saw a few kayakers at our end of the lake the whole three-day-weekend, plus one small fishing boat, even though the car camping spots looked full and the opposite end of the lake swarmed with kayaks and inflatable rafts.
Though we saw fish jumping, we didn’t get one nibble, despite having tried for hours both from shore and in the canoe, with all different types of bait and lures. We heard from someone afterward that the lake had likely not been stocked in the past few years. Aside from the disappointment of no fresh fish for dinner, the lake’s temperature was just right for swimming and the campsite had perfectly spaced trees to hang my ENO hammock. So, I made sure to take regular dips in the water to cool off and found time to snooze a bit each day.
The weekend was a lazy one, with most energy expended through explorational swimming or paddling up and down the lake. The inlet had a nice waterfall which one could hike above, then on toward yet another lake, but we didn’t explore that route on this trip. The handful of islands were interesting to swim out to, and around, with underwater formations similar to some areas of Lake Tahoe. There looked to be many more opportunities for hiking and scrambling around the lake as well, and we even noticed climbing anchors atop one particularly menacing, overhanging cliff.
It was a refreshing, relaxing trip and surprisingly easy to get away from everyone out there, even though a road leads all the way to the lakeshore. Although not the grandest wilderness experience, Faucherie Lake can be a fun intro to boat or SUP camping and fairly easy to find peace and quiet with a little creativity.
Sea to Summit Big River Dry Bag – 3L
Goal Zero Lighthouse 250 Lantern & USB Power Hub
Joshua Tree Organic Sunscreen SPF 30 – 4 oz.