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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
Day 1: Meeks
Bay to Crag Lake
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
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
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.