Shealor Lake with Sierra Granite and Forest

Shealor Lake embedded in a Sierra Nevada
granite and canyon landscape,
interspersed with conifer stands

Shealor Lake and its basin in the Eldorado National Forest has been featured as a landscape of botanical interest, detailed on a web page by the California Native Plant Society (CNPS) [1]. It is a great place to bring kids to explore nature and have fun along scenic cliffs and lakeshores. Visitors typically take the short hike up and down to the lake from the Highway-88 trailhead parking area. An elevation of 7200 feet is given for Shealor Lake.

The shown dragongfly, a bluet, is one out of hundreds that where flying over the near-shore water surface and perching on plants and rocks on an early summer day in 2012. This damselfly is resting on a granite rock, holding its clear wings alongside its abdomen. Judging by its black and blue body color, it should be a male; since females are duller looking with greenish-brown color patterns. There are two very similar looking bluet species: Northern Bluet (Enallagma cyathigerum) and Boreal Bluet (Enallagma boreale) [2]. Which one do we see here?

Wildflowers of Golden Brodiaea, commonly known as pretty face, bloom along sand-and-gravel sections of Shealor Lake Trail. This lily species with its boldly veined perianth of yellow petals and sepals cannot be missed by anybody watchfully scanning the ground [3].

A second, smaller lake can be viewed by climbing to the top of the granite rim (upper section in the left picture below). Another lake—about the size of Shealor Lake—exists further north along Tragedy Creek. There is no marked trail to get to that one. Also, I couldn't find any particlar names for those more remote lakes, but together the lakes of the basin are referred to as Shealor Lakes: their toal number is four [4].

The Shealor Lake Basin is located southwest of Thunder Mountain, which can be seen from vista points along the first part of Shealor Lake Trail. Its trailhead is on the westside of Highway 88. Trailhead parking is availabe just off Highway 88, half-way between Silver Lake and Shealor Lake [4,5].

You want to avoid days with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms while hiking over the westwind-facing, exposed granite sections downhill into the wilderness of the Shealor Lakes.
Shealor Lake

North part of Shealor Lake with a
small beach and granite hillsides
across the lake

Damselfly on rock of Shealor Lake shore

Bluet damselfly perching on granite
rock with its lower body lifted up,
showing black stripes and bands

Pretty face along Shealor Lake Trail

Pretty face (Golden Brodiaea) found
in early July, growing in gravel along
granite-lined Shealor Lake Trail

References and more to explore

[1] California Native Plant Society (CNPS): Shealor Lakes, Alpine County [].
[2] Enallagma cyathigenum, Northern Bluet & Enallagma boreale, Boreal Bluet [].
[3] California Wildfloers: Golden Brodiaea [].
[4] Mike White: Afoot & Afield, Reno-Tahoe, A comprehensive hiking guide. Wilderness Press, Berkeley, California, 1st Edition August 2006, 2nd printing 2008, pp. 317-318.
[5] Karen & Terry Whitehill: Best Short Hikes in California's North Sierra. The Mountaineers Books, Seattle, Washington, 2nd Edition 2002, pp. 191-193.

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