Desolation Wilderness

2002 June

Desolation Wilderness

It's hard to see on the map, but at the bottom, just above the Highway 50 icon, Horsetail Falls is called out and was the "trail" for our short 1-day in, 1-day out trip.

Driving to Lake Tahoe on Highway 50, somewhere near the summit before descending into the valley, you see a giant waterfall on the north side of the road on an inside corner. It was here that Henrik, Anne, Nathan, Paz (Nathan’s dog), David and myself started our trip. We followed trails until they gave out and then climbed up the remainder of the falls. With full packs it was no small feat but a piece of cake compared to coming back down the following day. At some point during the climb we left David since he was on a day hike only.

Eventually we made it to the top and continued on until arriving at an area predetermined by Henrik. Our campsite was nice but I found a spectacular spot, flat and next to rocks that dropped vertically into the lake, but alas, it was occupied. We swam and threw sticks for Paz until his paws were raw from scrambling on the granite. That night I shared a tent with Nathan and to my surprise, Paz as well. From the campsite, we went on a short day hike the following morning before heading back down the waterfall. Much of the ground was still covered in snow.

This is a great trip, given how accessible the trailhead is and how dramatic and beautiful the terrain is. If I could only remember how to get back to that perfect campsite…

Going up the falls are Casey, Nathan, and Anne from left to right. We didn’t hide any rocks in Nathan’s pack this time but he did bring fresh eggs of his own accord.

Anne, the falls, and a deep blue sky.

Casey and Paz going up the falls. Note the "Golite Breeze" backpack, so small and light that hip straps are not required.

How about another picture of me, after all, this is my website. Note the super cheap and light water bottle I have, it came with Coke in it.

Anne and Casey walk on a log in the flat area beyond the falls. There wasn't much of a trail to follow up here, which was actually a pretty neat experience.

Every dog has his day, but Paz doesn’t really seem to appreciate the scenery.

Anne and I explore a possible campsite while Henrik and Nathan watch from above. I think that the amazing campsite I found was down there, but since someone was already set up we didn’t want to intrude.

On the second day we went on a short hike, mostly in the snow. As you can tell by Anne’s lack of sleeves though, it was fabulous weather.

This was the destination of our hike on the second day, Lake Aloha. After relaxing here for a while we got our packs from the campsite, hiked back down the waterfall and went home. Let’s go back!