Desolation Wilderness (aka Cam's Visit to California Part 1)
I am still alive folks. I've just been running around like a chicken with my head cut off. I'll start from the beginning - May 1st. I had been counting down the days and hours until Cam's flight would land at SFO. Of course, there were flights cancelled, rescheduled and all sorts of travel mayhem, but he finally arrived. The following day I took him on a three day backpacking excursion in Desolation Wilderness (payback for that 12 hour hiking and canyoning trip I did jet-lagged!).
Out of all the places I have hiked and explored in California, including parks such as Yosemite, Big Sur and Muir Woods, Desolation Wilderness is my current favourite. The hike we did was not for the faint of heart though, be prepared for bear tracks, getting lost and knee-deep snow.
Getting off track the first time. (above)
Eagle lake is the first lake we encountered, still expect a handful of people around here as its the beginning of the hike, but can you blame them? Its gorgeous! (Note: the rest of the trip we saw a total of 10 people or less!)
My dad swore up and down there would be no snow. Thankfully we brought our boots just in case.
Getting off track again (above) and looking for cairns (below).
We chose a camping spot right below Dicks Pass and adjacent to a stream. No set campsites here, just pick a place that suits you. The first night we feasted on our favourite camping meal - cous cous and veggies.
Dinner was followed by a nature's fabulous light show. It doesn't get much better than watching that golden light hit the peaks.
We fuelled up on bacon and eggs the next morning and then searched for some indication of a trail in the snow. We found one and Cam led, this way he fell in all the snow pits first. Such a gentleman :)
Sometimes when hiking you'll hit a point when your feet are wet and the snow is reflecting the sunlight blindingly into your eyes and you'll wonder why you left your bed at home and embarked on this journey. When you get to that point, you just have to take a good look around. Yup, totally worth it.
We came to several partially frozen lakes after Dicks Pass, making for some neat photo opportunities and (possibly dangerous) fun. (below)
Then we came to what we thought was Dicks Lake. Which we cleverly refer to as not-dicks-lake from here on out.
When the exploring was done for the day we cozied up in the hammock.
...and drank whiskey. Here's Cam after the first taste:
Here I am after the first taste:
The third day came too quickly and we packed up and hiked down.
When we got to the car we shoved our backpacks and dirty clothes in the trunk and pulled out the rope and harnesses. Time to climb!
I wouldn't trust anyone else to set up the anchor and belay me outdoors. Thanks for putting up with my climbing fears and neurotics, Cam!
The wall, appropriately named the 90-foot wall, was much harder than it looked. I am still convinced Cam pulled me up part of the way.
The trip was a huge success and one of my favourite spots to daydream about from my office desk. Of course, it was made so special by my guest from overseas! Never a dull moment with this guy around...
Keywords: California, backpacking, climbing, desolation wilderness, dicks peak, el dorado, explore, hiking, lake tahoe, outdoors
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