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A Tour of Jackson Meadows, Bowman Lake and Faucherie Falls

Updated: Mar 23

On this lovely summer Saturday that's insanely busy in Tahoe, I wanted to hike and go swimming, so we decide to venture out and take the Land Cruiser on a (bumpy) expedition and hopefully find a nice place for a refreshing swim.

First, we headed to Jackson Meadows Reservoir, which was pretty busy with campers, fishers, boaters, and the like.

Then we (somehow) successfully navigated an incredibly rustic "road" to Bowman Reservoir, where we witnessed a Subaru Forester literally pop a tire on a rock. It was that rough.

A dirty windshield and rocky rustic road along Bowman Reservoir. This was the easy part. The road got substantially more rustic after this point.

I stopped to take some photos at a vista, where I also discovered these cute succulents. (Okay. I really stopped because I had to pee, but then I saw the succulents and decided to take some photos of them, too. Pro Tip: Riding on a supremely bumpy road when you have a full bladder is not recommended.)

We briefly stopped at an open campsite with a picnic table that we found and made ourselves lunch on our camp stove. When we discovered we forgot to bring a can opener for the beans, I was impressed that my husband got the can open using a knife he carries in the Land Cruiser.

After our quick lunch, we continued on to Faucherie Reservoir, where we'd planned to hike a little and swim at the falls. Well.... it turns out the falls were pretty dry already, so that was kind of a bust.

But doesn't this little swimming hole look pristine, idyllic, and inviting? We were both removing our shoes and socks, preparing to wade into the water...

And then... just as I was going to get in, we spotted a snake(!) swimming in the water.

Um, no.

I will not share a pool with a snake. I watched the snake swim over to the opposite rock wall edge and slither along the border, away from us. Doesn't he look vicious, though? What kind of snake is it? Who cares. One that I don't swim with.

Shaken, I frantically returned my socks and shoes to my feet and we headed back out onto the "trail". A little farther up, we found what was left of the falls, which was trickling into another small pool.

We thought, well, maybe we'll try to swim in this one. Before I even got my shoes off this time...

Um, no.

At this point, I was giving up on trying to swim today. So, we aborted the mission and made our way back towards the car.

Then. We crossed paths with a rubber boa slithering across the trail in front of us. That makes 3 for the day.

Um, no.

My husband says, "We need to get you back up into alpine country."

Yes, please.

Listen up. There's a reason they call them "nope ropes" and "danger noodles."

First. Let me tell you that I have a completely irrational fear of snakes. To the point where when I see one, no matter how small and "harmless," I almost immediately progress to a full-on panic attack and nearly faint. I know. It's completely irrational, but it's like this physical response that I don't seem to have control over. My husband has seen this side of me, so when we are out hiking, he's usually on the lookout so that he can spot a snake before I do and prevent it from taking me by surprise.

The funny thing is, we do a fair amount of hiking in the area every year and we rarely ever cross paths with snakes. In the lower elevations and desert areas, I hear that rattlesnakes are common, but thankfully, we don't do a lot of hiking in those areas. The only other time I saw one was when we were hiking in lower elevation down by Auburn, CA, and the Foresthill high bridge: A medium-sized snake slithered across the trail a few feet in front of us. My husband spotted it a split-second before I did and warned me not to look until it had completed its route across the trail.

(Oh, and an honorable mention: We were waterfall hiking on an Oregon road trip near Multnomah Falls, and while heading back to the car, a young woman was approaching us on the trail, arms fully outstretched into a T with a GIANT (seemingly pet) snake riding along from fingertip to fingertip. My husband actually didn't even notice it right away, but I did, and as soon as I saw it, I doubled-over at the waist and tried to catch my breath as she walked past, her airy bohemian skirt flowing behind her. Even though that will probably never happen again and it wasn't like a snake in the wild, it was a traumatic experience, nonetheless. No thanks. I'll stick to cats.)

On our way out, we were exploring a little around Jackson Reservoir, trying to find a bridge that I wanted to photo (we never did find the right road to the bridge) and we came upon this crazy "explosion of water" that you could see from the road above. So we parked and walked down to see it up close.

This "water feature" was such a foreign sight to us, but super cool to photograph.

Overall, a pretty intense day that ended up with no swimming. But it definitely felt good to get out of the house today.

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