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Family Deso TR

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Family Deso TR

Postby TahoeJeff » Fri Jul 03, 2015 2:35 pm

My family wanted to go on a backpacking trip before the madness that is the 4th of July in South Lake Tahoe set in. So we planned for a close 3 night trip in Deso starting Sunday, June 28, one night each at Aloha, Dick’s then Lower Velma. We did not get as early a start as I had hoped, heading up to the Bayview TH, barely finding a place to leave our exit vehicle. Of course Echo Lake is a zoo on a Summer Sunday morning, and again, I just managed to squeeze in the last parking spot in the dirt lot. By the time we jumped in the water taxi, I was a thoroughly frazzled.

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But once we got underway, I quickly chilled out.

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The nice thing about going in on a Sunday is that most people are coming out. We must have passed 30-40 people on the way to Aloha. The back bowl below Mosquito Pass is my favorite place on the lake, and we were happy to find it deserted. After setting up camp, my son started throwing lures for no love.

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We had an early dinner of NY steak, gazpacho and rice in a darn nice dining room.

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The bugs were minimal and we enjoyed a mellow evening. There was a storm over in Tahoe and we caught a nice rainbow.

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My son and I declined to fish that evening, instead vowing to hit it the next morning before we bailed. We got up early and he used a 3/8 oz. silver Kastmaster with red flash tape to nail this chunky 14” Brookie. Not wanting to hassle with cleaning and cooking it, we released it.

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Before we left Aloha, I got a shot showing how little snow there is on the Crystal Range.

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On the way out of the back of Aloha we stopped at the junction down to Heather for a water break. At this point my son realized he left his watch on a rock back at the campsite when he was putting on sun screen. He left his pack and jogged the ¼ mile back and got his watch. If we would have made it to Heather before his discovery, I would have said “forget it”.

There are a ton of wildflowers out in that vicinity, with the Mariposa being my favorite.

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The plan was to make it all the way to Dick’s that day, but we got a late start and it was getting hot. And after my son’s unexpected morning “run”, we all agreed we would call it at Gilmore for the night. The wildflowers were going off there too. The south shore of Gilmore is covered in Lupine, and there is a good variety all over.

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The bugs were bad, though. If it was warm enough, the biting flies were out. And when cool enough, the mosquitoes came in. My son and I headed to the West shore to see if the rat Macs were out. We had no luck, but he retrieved an old florescent red ZRay (paging Markskor) from the bottom of the lake.

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The logo is not like I’ve seen before, with the “Z” being large and having a barbed wire look.

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To escape the bugs at Gilmore, we went over to the windy ridge looking back to the West at the Crystal range. My wife couldn’t resist a cute selfie.

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Between the slow fishing and bad bugs, we decided to get an early start the next morning over Dick’s pass. On the way up we got a warm and fuzzy smiley.

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At the saddle before the actual pass we were stoked to find a small snowfield left. The dogs got to cool their feet, and we got to fill up our water bottles with cold snow.

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Given the bug situation at Gilmore, we decided to stay on the rocky peninsula on the Northeast shore of Dick’s, hoping to take advantage of the typical West/SW wind to keep the bugs at bay.

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I hadn’t been to this lake in 20 years and wondered how the Brookies were doing. While going for a swim, my son said he spooked a 14”er. That got him pumped up, so he started fishing and nailed one in the 10”-12” range, which we fried it up.

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The fish was delicious. We caught and released some more in the same size range. We also saw a few 8”-10” fish rising as well. I think the Brookie population here is doing well and not in danger of becoming stunted due to over spawning.
Dick’s is right on the PCT and not that far from a TH really. I’m pretty certain we were the only party there that night, and were thankful for the solitude. My wife tried for another selfie with Dick’s Peak in the background, but my son was having none of it.

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I was pretty proud of my son on this trip. He carried all his own gear, with his pack weighing in at just under 20 pounds. He can catch and clean his own fish and is getting pretty darn adept at wilderness living.
The takeaways from this trip were plentiful. Go to upper Deso now to see wildflowers, but expect bugs. The Brookies in some lakes are doing very well years after stocking stopped. The youth will keep the backpacking spirt alive!



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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby maverick » Fri Jul 03, 2015 3:23 pm

Great family TR Jeff, nice fish, and the wildflowers look outstanding, can hardly wait to get out.
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby giantbrookie » Fri Jul 03, 2015 4:53 pm

Nice trip, nice report, and photos. I'm impressed at the fish size in Dicks. On my lone visit (8/22/98) there I caught fish in the 9-10" range in a very brief session and my notes said the fish were medium bodies, not stunted so I noted "..suggesting that the maximum size is larger". Regarding the Z-Ray logo I think some of the specialty glow patterns ("experimental patterns") had the barb wire "Z" look. I'm glad your family had a good time. That's a nice shuttle trip.

(late edit). The wildflower photos from Gilmore are really nice. That reminded me that the area around Gilmore is really underrated as a wildflower spot, for it is indeed one of the nicest flower displays in the Sierra.

I was hoping your story would include tying into some of those rat macks in Gilmore or better. I miss Desolation, having not visited since July 2005 (ie once I moved to Fresno, I've focused on things in the south more). I plan to drop into Gilmore for a day late this month on my way back from doing some geology stuff in the north Sierra.
Since my fishing (etc.) website is still down, you can be distracted by geology stuff at: http://www.fresnostate.edu/csm/ees/facu ... ayshi.html
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby markskor » Fri Jul 03, 2015 5:48 pm

TahoeJeff,
Great Sunday timing dad, and a nice fishing/family type report...warm fuzzies! A lucky man.

Yes, have donated a few of those red Z-Rays to Gilmore over the years...I do believe the different "Z" logo shown was part of a florescent 6-pack...
While glad you found my favorite color lure, unless it had single Siwash hook/no treble, probably not mine...but, if a single hook, could very well be -
Would you be willing to trade the found red Z-Ray for some of my art?
Mark
Mountainman who swims with trout
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby Tom_H » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:23 pm

Great TR and pics Jeff. It's a nice surprise to find there was actually still some snow. The flowers are pretty. I know the feeling of skeeters at Gilmore. I had heard Lower Echo was so low that the taxi was only going to the upper end of it and couldn't get into Upper Echo. Can you give us accurate info on that?

Thanks :)
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby TahoeJeff » Fri Jul 03, 2015 6:34 pm

There is enough water now for the taxi to make it to the dock with the old school phone booth on shore at Upper Echo. That condition won't last too long...
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby cefire » Sat Jul 04, 2015 2:58 pm

Awesome TR - so happy to see families out enjoying the wilderness experience :)
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby riverwalker » Sun Jul 05, 2015 9:33 am

Great TR. I am looking forward to getting out myself and in a few weeks getting my family into the high country. I love seeing family reports and getting kids out there. Thanks!
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby Crossdrew » Sun Jul 05, 2015 10:43 am

Great trail report! It brought back memories of backing for a week in the same area in the mid 1970s. The wildflowers were unforgettable and your excellent photos reminded me of that trip with my son, who will be 50 this year! I have backpacked repeatedly in Desolation since it is the closest wilderness to where I live and it is always wonderful. Thanks for sharing, Llamalady :thumbsup:
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby TahoeJeff » Sun Jul 05, 2015 11:23 am

Thanks guys for the kind words!
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Re: Family Deso TR

Postby rlown » Sun Jul 05, 2015 7:12 pm

I loved your face in the first pic! I Loved the dogs! Family is good. Thanks for the good read.
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