Desolation Wilderness, September 2009

Back to other trips

Bonus Trip!  Mark had some time off and wanted to fly out from Atlanta for a weekend trip.  We managed to get Bill to join us, but not Alex or Eric.

We only had two nights, so we wanted something close by.  Mark also requested that both nights be at the same place, and not over 8000'.  We chose Desolation Wilderness, out of Meeks Bay.

Make sure to check out the slide show.

Day 1:  Meeks Bay to Crag Lake

We started out from the Meeks Bay Trailhead at about 12:30, after a debilitating lunch at Subway. The trail starts out as a flat dirt road, but soon veers off and up a small hill.  We meandered through forests and meadows, up another hill, and reached the bridge over Meeks Creek.  We paused here for a snack, and then tackled the final hill up to Lake Genevieve.

Soon after, we came upon Crag Lake and began looking around for a campsite.  We circled to the South end of the lake, dropped our packs, and then continued around to the West side, where we found the perfect camp site:  sand-filled depressions on a beautiful granite promontory into the lake.  Bill and Mark decided to try continuing around the lake the long way to get their packs, while I went back the way we'd come.

While carrying my pack back to our campsite, I tripped over a log and hit the ground hard.  My right arm and left knee scraped the rocks pretty badly, my right calf cramped up, and -- just to add insult -- my hiking pole pivoted on a rock and smacked me like a hammer right between the eyes.  I lay on the ground for a few minutes, but eventually concluded that none of the damage was serious.  My knee and forehead were bleeding and my calf had a giant knot, but nothing was broken, including my sunglasses.  I got up and continued on to camp.

Day 2:  Day Hike to Phipps Peak

We began the day by hiking up a short drainage to Hidden Lake, then joining the main trail and continuing on past Shadow Lake and Stony Ridge Lake.  There was a bit of a climb to reach Rubicon Lake, but the trail provided some excellent views back down the canyon.

The trail continued up, and we began to have views to the South and East, including glimpses of South Lake Tahoe.  Eventually, we reached a trail marker for Phipps Pass, the least passy pass you shall ever pass:  it was just the side of a hill, as far as we could tell.  At this point, we broke off trail and started up the ridge towards Phipps Peak.  The climbing was steep at times, but never hard to navigate.  The ridge flattens out for a while before the final, rocky knob at the top.

The view from Phipps Peak is very nice.  It includes the far North and South shores of Lake Tahoe (but not the middle!), the Velma Lakes, Dicks Peak, and the entire Rockbound Valley.  Rain clouds were all around, though, so we ate a quick lunch under a minor pattering of rain.

The hike down was a retrace of the way up and proved uneventful -- merely beautiful!  We arrived back at camp to clearing skies and enjoyed a refreshing swim and a delicious dinner.

Day 3:  Crag Lake to Meeks Bay

Our hike out was also uneventful and beautiful.  Bill commented that he didn't mind retracing the route since it all looked new to him anyway.  This led us to wonder if we could do a 1-mile loop over and over again and have just as nice a time.  We'll have to try that some year.

Last Modified: