Saturday, July 26, 2014

Lake Tahoe Club Excursion - 7/20 thru 25/14

A Waterfall on the Way to Grass Lake
The Around the Bend Friends took an excursion up to Lake Tahoe for four days of hiking. Jerry Thomas sent in the photos, GPS tracks and the write up for the trip. Definitely a good one!

Crossing a Stream on Grass Lake Trail
 Five hikers drove up on Sunday, July 20th.  There was a low pressure system making its way through the Lake Tahoe area and almost exactly when we arrived a electric power substation was hit by lightening blacking out South Lake Tahoe and other areas.  We drove into town and were greeted by bedlam.  All of the traffic lights were out along with electricity to everything.  To add to the pandemonium there was to be an outdoor concert that evening and a golf tournament was also in progress.  Probably the worst timing possible for a blackout. 

Chris at Grass Lake

The author took a shower in pitch blackness and hopped into bed since there was nothing else that could be done without electricity.  Five minutes later the lights came on.

Hiking Mt. Tallac with Fallen Leaf Lake and Lake Tahoe in the Background

On the Pier at Lower Echo Lake
 Monday everything seemed like it was back to normal and the five hikers that had drove up on Sunday hiked up to Grass Lake.  It was only a 5 mile hike with a little over 800 ft of elevation gain but it was very beautiful with waterfalls and several stream crossings.  Tuesday was the big day when the most strenuous hike was to the summit of Mount Tallac.  There were three groups of about 12 hikers each.  One group went to the summit, the other two groups stopped before the very steep section just halfway to the summit.  The weather was gorgeous although one could tell that the humidity was higher than the Las Vegas area.

Upper then Lower Echo Lakes from Trail

On Wednesday hikers were in for a treat as we took a small power boat ferry from the far downstream side of Lower Echo Lake, up through Lower Echo Lake and to the far upstream side of Upper Echo Lake.  From there the three groups of twelve hikers did their own things with the most strenuous group tackling Ralston Peak.  Views of Desolation Wilderness were tremendous and the hikers were pleased to have a slightly easier hike than Mount Tallac.

Descending Ralston Peak with Aloha Lake in Background

Emerald Bay
On Thursday things were winding down and everyone took the trail around the rim of Emerald Bay.  Since this was not a wilderness area we did not have to break into smaller groups.  We were greeted early on in the hike by a juvenile black bear who was maybe one or two years old.  His mother was not nearby but a ranger was watching him closely and warned us not to get too close.  He seemed indifferent at the sight of humans perhaps seeing too many of us already.  We hiked on up the trail never again seeing the young bear or his mother.  It was another terrific outing of Around the Bend Friends with great weather (except for Sunday) and beautiful scenery. ~ Jerry Thomas

Juvenile Black Bear on Emerald Bay Trail

Grass Lake
6 miles; 800 feet elevation gain; 3.5 hours

Mt. Tallac
10 miles; 3400 feet elevation gain; 6 hours

Ralston Peak
11 miles; 2500 feet elevation gain; 5.75 hours

Emerald Bay
5.5 miles; 700 feet elevation gain; 2.75 hours

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