Saturday, July 7, 2012

Day 77: Tamarack Lake to Ridge Above Lake Tahoe

Following the trail through the woods, we soon reached Lake Aloha (8,140 ft). The still waters of the huge lake reflected the snowy granite peaks behind it. Circled with granite slabs, broken granite, and small pine trees, the lake has small granite islands dotting its waters. A popular destination, the peaceful looking lake was anything but. Many colorful tents encircled the lake, and the sound of voices and barking dogs filled my ears. Later hikers reported hearing loud boom boxes as they hiked past.

Desolation Wilderness is America's most popular wilderness, with more user per square mile than any other wilderness area in America.  The July 4th weekend is probably one of the busiest weekends in the Desolation Wilderness. By the end of the day we had seen more people than on all the other sections of our hike combined.

We passed several more beautiful lakes before climbing up to Dick's Pass (9,380 ft). From the pass we could see back to the white granite peaks near Lake Aloha, and the reddish tan volcanic hills and peaks that surrounded Lake Susie and some of the other lakes in the basin.

The pass still held a large snowfield, and I stopped to scoop up a large handful. "Is the snow good?" asked Sierra hopefully, wanting to make another slushy. "Sure!" I replied, hurling the snowball. Moments layer I felt a cool, wet explosion on the back of my neck, and rivulets of water from Sierra's snowball trickled down my back.

We descended past several lakes, dropping into a dark, shaded forest. Crossing several dry, seasonal streambeds, I began to worry about water. The seasonal Phipps Creek was a mere trickle, but I was able to scoop enough water from it before hiking on to escape the swarms of mosquitoes there.

Climbing up to the ridge we found a camp overlooking Lake Tahoe. Although we hoped gentle breezes across the ridge would keep the mosquitoes at bay, the night was calm and the mosquitoes were plentiful. We ate wearing headnets, then escaped into the tent for the night.

1 comment:

  1. Hi, you two! It was good hiking with you near Sierra City. We mentioned you in our latest blog entry, and linked to your blog. Hopefully we'll run into you again soon. Happy hiking!

    -- Shutterbug and North Star