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Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Hiking in Desolation

I went hiking for the weekend in the Desolation Wilderness and it was COLD!

I was in Reno Friday night for a fundraiser for NOS. Unfortunatly I left my camera in the car and didn't get any pictures of Jessica and me all dressed up. Friday afternoon and night it snowed a couple inches. I knew it was going to be cold. So after watching Texas come back against OU I headed up to South Lake Tahoe.

I got to the trail head about 3pm and had about 5 miles to get to my campsite. I hurried up there to make it before dark, so I didn't take many pictures. It was all up hill and I got to the lake about 6pm. There was two inches of snow on the ground and the sun was starting to set. I was glad to get into my tent, but then found out my lighter wouldn't make a large enough flame to light my stove because of the altitude. So I ate a granola bar and laid down. Then it started to snow.

I slept on and off through the night. After it snowed probably 2 inches, the winds came at about 50 miles an hour. I was at 8400 feet and it was probably close to 0. I was wearing all the clothes I brought, and stayed pretty warm. I was thrilled when I could tell it was getting lighter outside and got up to take some pictures.

The frozen waterfalls around looked great. The little streams had standing ice and I couldn't really feel my feet in my cold boots. Once I got my stuff packed and started hiking I warmed up and feeling came back to most of my body. But still four days later, my pinky is still regaining feeling.

So I decided to change plans and not stay in the backcountry another night. I hiked to the top of Mount Tallac and the altitude kicked my ass. From the top I could see over Lake Tahoe and the Sierra Range. It was pretty amazing. Then I hiked out to my car and drove to a Forest Service campground.

The next day I went to Horse Tail Falls in the morning and it was amazing. Water pouring from pool to pool over sheets of granite. It's right off of Highway 50, but couldn't feel more remote. I was glad I made the choice to check it out instead of freezing another night in the mountains.

It was great to get in one last backpacking trip before winter really sets in.

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