|The Before Photo at the Bayview Campground Trail Head. From Left Eric, Ken, Eric, T, Phil, John, Rob, Scott and Karl|
|Eric preps for the hike|
The Hike In - Bayview to Upper Velma:
Trail head: Bayview Campground
Destination: Upper Velma Lake
Distance: 4.2 miles
Starting Elevation: 6800 ft.
Highest Point: Maggie's Saddle at ~8400 ft.
Ending Elevation: 8000 ft.
Heaviest Item in Pack: Either the sack of apples or the bottle of whiskey
|View of Lake Tahoe from the Bayview Trail|
|Phil takes in the view of Eagle Lake from Maggie's Saddle|
|After Maggies Saddle the trail flattens out as it follows the contours past Azure and Snow Lakes|
The Hike in to Upper Velma
|River Crossing at Upper Velma|
|Panorama of our campsite at Upper Velma|
On Saturday we decided to follow the cascade at the southwest end of the lake up to Fontanillis Lake (8360 ft.). The north side of the cascade was almost completely free of snow, whereas the south side was almost complete buried. Fontanillis Lake was still very much snowed in. About a third of the lake was still iced over. We toured a camping spot from previous versions of this trip and decided that the leaping from the old jumping rock was not such a good idea this year. Although, Eric did manage to make his way across the ice and go for a very fast and furious swim.
Crossing the Cascade above Upper Velma
The View from Fontanillis Lake
From Fontanillis Lake we followed the trail southeast to Dick's Lake. No one swam in Dick's Lake. By this time half the group had returned to camp for more whiskey. A few of us in Team Over Achiever (Phil, Scott, Ken, Eric & I) had our eyes set on Dicks Peak, but... because of the amount of snow and the time of day, we decided to revise our ambitions and just head up to the relatively snow free ridge to the east to see what we could see and re-evaluate. We ended up climbing up to a rocky pinnacle on the ridge at an elevation of about 9200 feet. We dubbed it Phlegm Nubbin after the copious amount of mucus coming out of Phil's head. Despite the name it was quite a wonderful place to be, offering great views of Dick's Lake, Dick's Peak, Mt. Tallac, Azure Lake, Snow Lake, Lake Tahoe, all three Velmas, Fontanillis Lake and pretty much everything else we saw on this trip.
|The View from Phlegm Nubbin. From left: Dick's Lake, Fontanillis Lake, Upper Velma Lake, Middle Velma Lake|
Ken and Scott Glissading
Day Hike #2 - Lower Velma & Middle Velma
On Sunday we followed the river down the hill to the northeast to Lower Velma Lake (Elevation 7700 ft.) The high granite cliffs at the south end of the lake offer great views of what I consider the most appealing of the three Velmas. We made our way around the west side of the lake to a prominent, granite peninsula for lunch and a little leaping into the lake.
Lower Velma Lake
Ken Dries out after a swim / Deciding where to go next
After lunch we made our way up between a few cliffs at the west side of the lake. A little further east of the steeps we arrived at Middle Velma Lake. This lake had no steep sides and looked pretty shallow. There were lots of camping sites around it, but the whole place way quite buggy. The mosquitoes we going nuts. Strange especially since the mosquitoes at the other two Velmas weren't bad at all. We made our way counter clockwise around the lake, then aimed back for camp at Upper Velma.
|Middle Velma Lake|
The Hike Out - Upper Velma to Eagle Falls
On Monday it was time to head out. We basically followed the same trail out until we reached the Eagle Lake junction. From there we decided to exit the wilderness via the Eagle Falls Trail. From the saddle/junction the trail drops pretty consistently for about 600 vertical feet, taking you past Eagle Lake and Eagle Falls and finally to the Eagle Falls trail head off Hwy 89.
From the Eagle Falls trail head John and I had planned to hitch hike back to the Bayview Campground to fetch the cars. However, I guess we might have looked a bit too scruffy to warrant a ride. Although there was a constant stream of traffic heading up the hill, we ended up walking the whole thing. Luckily it was only another half mile to a mile up Hwy 89.
Hiking out Via the Eagle Falls Trail
After loading the cars we quickly made our way to Cantina Bar and Grill, (one of the first eating joint on the way back to town) for lunch and brews.
And that pretty much sums up our Desolation Weekend. Although we did spend one more night at the Mont Bleu Casino at State Line and a few of the guys did quite well at the craps table.
Thanks to John for coming all the way from Germany to put all this together. Eric, Rob, Ken, John, & Phil, it was great to see you guys again! Eric, T, & Scott, very cool to meet you guys. I hope I'm invited back next year.
|Backpacking in the Desolation Wilderness, CA|