Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Desolation Wilderness

Memorial Day weekend my adventurous friend and I wanted to go camping, but did not plan far enough ahead of time.  This is a problem I've run into a few times in CA -- campsites are very hard to come by.  But, if you are willing to do some back country camping, then you can travel to the beautiful world of Desolation Wilderness and get a permit.  You have to sleep in your permit area, which if you arrive late and it is randomly snowing, can be a problem.

So we stayed in Strawberry, at the historic Strawberry Lodge, our first night.  The freak snow storm was a bad sign, but we also had to hike about 10 miles and it was already late afternoon, and the ranger didn't like our odds of reaching our area. It was a little irritating because the permits for the closer areas were sold out (so the Ranger wouldn't let us just stay in a different area), but the next day when we finally started hiking, everyone said they bailed Saturday night.  That said, I'm sort of happy we bailed, because snow + a full backpack + and freezing night temperatures do not all equal a very happy me.  Don't get me wrong, I think the snow is pretty, but since I don't live in snowy areas, I am not talented at walking on it.

Strawberry Lodge was ideal as a last minute hotel. The main building had a fireplace and board games (we played Life and Battleship and in the evening we helped a couple play a very sexist game whose name escapes me). The snow kept going into the evening, but we were nice and cozy by the fireplace. Even the dead grizzly didn't bother me much.

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Desolation Wilderness is a National Recreational Area near South Lake Tahoe. I define our national lands designations here.  It is insanely beautiful. 

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Where we hiked was the Pacific Coast Trail:

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Just because it stopped snowing, doesn't mean I didn't have to hike on snow (and fall if I'm totally honest -- I lost count for how many times I fell).

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