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Basic Wilderness Self Reliance Workshop / Caples Lake to Historic Emigrant Trail

  • Nov 16, 2013 · 9:00 AM
  • This location is shown only to members



What: A ~4.5 mile Intermediate round trip Hike from Caples Lake to and through the Historic Emigrant Trail with a focus on learning a few Basic Wilderness Self Reliance Skills.

Check out our last Basic Wilderness Self Reliance Workshop here!



Caples Lake is located 63.5 miles east of Jackson and 2 miles off Highway 88, near Carson Pass. (Eldorado National Forest). Directions to Trail Head listed below.

This Adventure is limited to 6 people who are interested in focusing on Learning/Building and Owning a few Basic Wilderness Self Reliance skills while Hiking a variety of terrain and scenery.

These Skill Set Basics are based around a 24-72 hour scenario whereby a person has found themselves "Stuck in the Woods" for one reason or another.



Duration: This will be an all day casual/exploratory hike. If you are looking for an out and back, this hike is not for you.

I would expect to be back at the Trailhead at 5pm-6pm.

Please, check your schedule before RSVP'ing for this Hike!



Please bear in Mind that we will be hiking at an elevation level starting at  7790' - 8280' in the middle of November.  Expect a cool to possible cold Fall weather environment for this elevation. Proper dress is essential!

Please be sure that your Physical Hiking skills are in check before signing up.

A list of suggested proper dress and additional items are listed below as well as a link to an up-to-date Weather report.

The only cancelation factors I can see at the moment is that if it begins to Snow heavily in the area. They do close down the Mormon Immigrant Trail pass when it snows, and possibly the Trailhead. Should Mormon Immigrant pass be closed the Trail Head can still be reached by taking 88 to Caples Lake.


Membership Required: All adult participants must be Sacramento Trail Mix members. Minors are welcome when accompanied by their parent or guardian club member. Save time for yourself and others by completing your membership form online.




Starting Point:

- All participants will meet at Trailhead at 9am.

- After a brief of the days plan we'll Hike about 3/4 of a mile along the shore of Caples Lake at a slow to moderate pace toward the Historic Emigrant Trail stopping quite a bit along the way to Observe, Discuss and take note of our surroundings.

- A slow to moderate pace is the first step toward building a Wilderness Self Reliant Mindset.

- Once we reach the Historic Emigrant Trail junction we'll head SSW to explore the Wilderness environment while practicing some Orentering and other Basic Wilderness Self Reliant skills.



The Basic Wilderness Self Reliance Skill Building set includes:

* The 10 C's of Survivability (Focusing on the first 5)

* Orienteering (maintaining a sense of direction and... we'll map out the area along the way!)

* The 60% efficiency rule  (and why it's a good idea to practice it often)

* Signaling (how best to be seen)

* How to make a "Super Shelter" (Winter Emergerncy Shelter)

* Staying Properly Hydrated (and why it's important)

* Ways to help Search and Rescue find you - (should it ever come to that)

* Thermo Regulation ( The importance of Core Temperature Control)

* Suggested items to have as your EDC (Every Day Carry) in the Bush

* A simple 3-step system to help yourself overcome Fear, Anxiety and Doubt

* The importance of always bringing along your "Chocolate Chip"

and other essentials to help keep yourself alive and well until help arrives!




Description: We'll start out by following Caple Lake's level shoreline (South) for about 3/4 of a mile until we come to a junction sign. We'll then head out in a SSW direction onto the Historic Emigrant Trail.

                                       Dress Warm!

We will spend the day hiking at a slow to moderate pace stopping often along the way to Learn/Explore and Discuss  a few Basic Wilderness Self Reliance Skills and the Mindset needed to implement them.

                                       Dress Warm!

When we come to this sign, we can all take a minute to "wonder" how they did it on the Trail 164 years ago.


Elevation:.7790' to 8580'  (+ / - 900')

Up to date Weather Report:

Distance: 4.5+ miles

Rating: Intermediate +  "Rating Chart"

Duration: All day hike incorporated within a Basic Wilderness Self Reliance Skill Building Workshop.

Special Skills Necessary: Your good common sense along with one of Adventure!

Please bring a: Willingness to hike together as a group no matter what the speed of the slowest hiker. Willingness to stay between the sweeper and the leader and a Willingness to stay the whole day!



Necessary Items to bring:

 - Backpacks only (no fanny packs!)   

- 3 liters of Water MINIMIM (there may or may not be an available water source as we will not be near either Caples or Emigrant Lake)

- Hiking boots/wool socks

- Long pants,

- Long sleeve warm shirt(s)

- Light rain jacket,

- Trekking Poles if you have them

- Wool or Polypropylene cap

 - Cold Weather Gloves

- Bandana

- Sun Glasses

- Lunch (dehydrated or Freeze dried foods such as "Mountain House" are higly suggested)

-  Snacks


Highly Suggested:

> Pants, shirts etc...Do not wear Cotton, Cotton is hydrophilic meaning it does not wick away moisture well at all. Stick with synthetics like Polypropylene, Polyester  or Wool.

> Wear good sturdy hiking boots with Wool Sox. Wool is great for wicking away moisture. Bring two extra pair of Wool Sox in a zip lock bag as well.

> A warm beanie cap (Wool or Polypropylene) is a must have item. Scarf too as this will help keep the neck warm and the Brain functioning.

> Wear a Polypropylene Base Layer both Top & Bottom as  this will keep you warmer longer and help to wick away moisture.

> Dress in "layers" as it is easier to take off a garment than to try and find one to put on.

> Gloves - Thinsulate are great. You want Cold Weather Gloves!

> Note pad and pen.

> Headlamp

> Bandana

> Personal First-Aid Kit

> Compass



Bring a good healthy lunch.

Carbohydrates provide good energy and are quickly assimilated within the body for use as Fuel ( fatty foods require more oxygen for metabolism than carbohydrates and Proteins are a bit longer to digest.

Remember, digestion takes water to facilitate - another reason to have plenty of it.

Bring along some good high Calorie snacks such as: Pro Bars, Cliff Bars, Pemmican Bars etc... Also bring along some Salty foods such as crackers, potato chips (Pringles are great) etc... This will help keep your Electrolyte balance in check.

Sugary stuff is a no-go , including Sport Drinks, Soda, Candy Bars etc... Attempt to avoid it.

Please Note: Hydration is paramount during any Hiking Adventure! - especially at the Altitude we will be climbing. We cannot stress this enough, Please bring at least 3 Liters of water and/or a way to Disinfect should we find a source. 





1. Head East on HWY 50

2. Take the Sly Park Rd exit 0.2 mi

3. Turn right onto Co Rd E16/Sly Park Rd 4.6 mi

4. Turn left onto Mormon Emigrant Trail/Silver Lake Rd Continue to follow Mormon Emigrant Trail 24.6mi, take all the way to the end. (This road may be seasonally closed)

5. Turn left onto CA-88 E/Carson Pass Hwy

6. Drive 12.7 miles to Caples lake Trailhead.

Restrooms: Available at Trailhead


Suggested Host Donation: $7




                        Questions: please contact me here:

                        Scott S. [masked]




                             Basic Wilderness Self Reliance

  ~ Developing the Mindset though the Art of Practical application~





Join or login to comment.

  • Cheryl Z

    Great information and a great setting to learn. The super shelter was interesting to learn about and so easy to do. Thanks, Scott, for providing us with some great information and ideas to head out to the wilderness with. Awesome event!

    November 18, 2013

  • Marla L

    Scott was very informative. I have lots of new ideas about equipment and techniques to survive in the wilderness. Hopefully I never need the super structure but if I do I will be able to build a "super" super structure.

    November 17, 2013

  • Gary P.

    Thanks for posting this again Scott. The last one got such great reviews. I know you invested hours and hours plus! Thanks just does not seem enough. Anyone thinking of signing up you will learn something in a fun way... guaranteed!!!

    October 29, 2013

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