Desolation Wilderness, July 2012
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A short trip with Marjie
and Henry. This was Henry’s second backpacking trip ever (the
first was in Pescadero Creek County Park), and Marjie’s first in about 17
years! I wanted something not too long, high, or hard, so I chose
the Velma Lakes from the Bayview trailhead.
Day 1: Bayview Tailhead to Scooby Lake
After snagging a fortuitous
parking spot at the jam-packed Bayview trailhead
, we started up the
first hill. It was about 700’ up, with increasingly beautiful
views down onto Lake Tahoe
and Emerald Bay
. It was tough for
Marjie, though, and by the time we stopped for lunch at Granite Lake
she was wiped out. She insisted on pressing on, though, so after
lunch we continued up the second and last climb: another 700’ to
the saddle between Maggie’s Peaks
. By the time we crested, she
was beyond dead -- and we still had 3.5 miles to go! Henry was
tired but optimistic, and it was all downhill from here, so we
The rest of the
hike was uneventful, just a death march for Marjie. We had
intended to go off-trail down to Middle Velma Lake
, but that seemed
unwise in the circumstances. Instead, we stopped a half mile
short of there at the unnamed partner to Upper Velma Lake
Morey, in the Wilderness Press books, calls this Velma’s Chum, but we
thought Scooby Lake
was a much better name.
found an awesome campsite right next to the lake’s outlet, with
a beautiful cascade, rivulets flowing over cracked rocks, and places to sit
in the shade with your toes wet -- it was heaven! However, this
being Desolation, a trio of guys showed up later and set up camp 100’
away from us.
Day 2: Day Hike to Fontanillis Lake
the morning, Henry and I took a short walk to go see Upper Velma Lake
When we got back, Marjie was feeling somewhat revived, so we
decided that short, easy day hike would be good. We hiked up the
wooded ridge about a mile to Fontanillis Lake
and had lunch. It
was beautiful and relaxing, and not too tiring for Marjie.
After returning to Scooby Lake
Marjie and Henry spent the entire
afternoon around the campsite. They read for hours with their
feet soaking in the water, and Henry ran back and forth across the
in his imagination. I got antsy and took a walk around the
perimeter of the lake.
The neighbors had packed up and left in the morning, but a young couple
came late in the afternoon and set up camp -- this time 50’ away from
us! That’s about what you can expect staying close to the trails
in Desolation, I guess.
Day 3: Scooby Lake to Bayview Trailhead
We wanted to get home early, so we packed up quickly first thing in the morning and headed
out, armed with dozens of lemon drops for the 500’ climb ahead.
Marjie was nervous about it, but both she and Henry crested it
without and real problems. We were back at the car by lunchtime,
changed shirts, and drove home.