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TR: Desolation 6/2014

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TR: Desolation 6/2014

Postby mediauras » Mon Jun 09, 2014 10:41 pm

This past weekend a friend and I each got a get-away-from-family-and-young-kids pass so we headed to Desolation for a nice little backpack. I have no pics to share unfortunately (not in the habit of ever taking any) but there's some beautiful country out there right now. A bit of snow, everything is spring green, and its not too hot and dusty yet. There's bugs, but its not the worst it could be.

We headed in at Eagle Falls TH about 5:30 or so Friday afternoon and hoofed it to Middle Velma lake for the night. We found a decent enough spot considering we rolled in close to dusk. The mosquitoes were there, but not terrible. Annoying enough to warrant repellant though. The coyotes gave us some night time excitement as they killed a rabbit or something -- best wildlife moment of the trip.

Next morning we decided to hike up to Fontanillas lake for the view and scramble down the outlet back to Velma (and then on with trip). It was awesome. Tons of flowing water, and really, quite a bit of snow up there. Lakes are unfrozen though. The peaks are still pretty white, enough so that we heard a report by a guy we met of a snowboarder he passed on the way in. The guy was hoofing it in with his board to get a run or two off one of the peaks. After making our way down the outlet, and having to find a crossing at the bottom, we headed up towards Phipps Pass and ultimately to Stony Ridge for the night. It was a nice hike, with intermittent patches of snow and some bugs here and there. Wanted to check out Phipps Lake but didn't get a chance. At Stony RIdge we found a decent campsite up above the trail on a nice little table and proceeded to drink the two beers I lugged in while relaxing next to a waterfall. Its all in the little moments. Which also made the skeeters that greeted us later toward sundown more tolerable. They were pretty bad that evening, why did the wind have to die down!?

Next morning was cool and windy and the bugs were nowhere to be found. After packing up, we headed toward Meeks Bay TH, enjoying the down down down of the trail. I hate losing elevation, always such a hard fought win, but it was nice to just cruise that morning. Until the almost never-ending flat sandy last mile or so before getting to the TH. I thought I was on a treadmill for a while. But it ended, and we hitched a ride almost immediately and got back to our car at Eagle Falls.

Fun trip, a good early starter to work out the kinks and blow the lungs up. :)



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Re: TR: Desolation 6/2014

Postby skyehawk » Tue Jun 10, 2014 8:45 am

Thanks for this awesome report - wish you had photos but this on its own is fine. I will be heading up to echo lakes/southern deso in a few days - what great fun!
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Re: TR: Desolation 6/2014

Postby Tom_H » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:33 am

One of my favorite places! The climb from Eagle Lake is steep. Following the Fontinillis outlet as it cascades down that pluton is magnificant. That's a nice very short XC for anyone who has never done XC. You just follow the stream until you reach the trail. Like you, I've always eyeballed Phipps Lake, but never made it down there. We usually set up camp just down stream from the top of the pass.

Skyehawk, if you start at Echo and go to Meeks Bay, you pass something like 28 lakes. That's a nice route. I have a map already drawn if you desire. In fact, I have many maps of Deso routes.
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Re: TR: Desolation 6/2014

Postby skyehawk » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:46 am

Quite the nice offer, Tom. I probably won't have time to go all the way to meeks as I won't be camping, just day hiking. There are plenty of lakes that are far closer, including some that I have never been to, such as Jabu and Cup (a lake I've been trying to get to for several years now). Aloha, Tamarack and Ralston, LOW, all great places. I never have actually explored the other side of the crystals or the other side of mosquito pass, something I would love to do some time when I'm with someone who's willing to wake up early - I have a cabin at Echo lake so that's usually our starting place.

Once again, thanks for the offer!
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Re: TR: Desolation 6/2014

Postby Tom_H » Tue Jun 10, 2014 9:58 am

skyehawk wrote:- I have a cabin at Echo lake...!


OOwwwww. I'm drooling with envy! :thumbsup:
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Re: TR: Desolation 6/2014

Postby maiathebee » Tue Jun 10, 2014 10:04 am

Great TR! Love that area :)
oh hey! you're reading my signature.
that's nice. want to check out my blog?
here it is: plutoniclove.com
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Re: TR: Desolation 6/2014

Postby FeetFirst » Tue Jun 10, 2014 1:41 pm

Great report - thanks for posting.

I just got back from a 3 day/2 night out of Loon Lake and had a similar experience with the mosquitoes and wind. Why can it be 20+ mph during the day and completely die for that one hour around sunset when mosquitoes hunt? :\
I'm still rather convinced that you can achieve more than you've ever dreamed of if you just lower your standards.
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