Z and I went to Desolation Wilderness this weekend in preparation for our thru hike of the Te Araroa trail in November. It was a great trip, and photos are here. If you need permission to see them, let me know.
Our route brought us to Wrights Lake at about 10pm on Friday night. From there, we hiked up to Twin Lakes and found a spot by the south western edge. This was pretty lucky. Getting across the lake’s outlet at midnight when we got there was a pain, especially for me, since I lacked a flashlight.
On Saturday, we hiked halfway to Island Lakes, then south to a east-west ridge that forms one of the edge of Mt. Price. This ridge was stupidly dangerous, hoping from bounder to boulder with no safety net and a giant fall below. In wet or snowy conditions, it’d be impossible, but with some patience we were able to do it without too much trouble. Once traversed the ridge to the east, walking up the southern side of Mt. Price was a cake walk.
After spending some time at the top, where we observed some friendly (but skinny) marmots, we headed east towards Mosquito Pass. Getting down from the top was a hairy mess, with lots of rocky cliffs we had to very carefully pick our way down. Eventually, we made it off the cliffs and into the snow fields, which happily were soft enough to glissade down. We didn’t have ice axes, so if we couldn’t glissade, we would have had to wait for the sun to get higher and melt more snow. The snow here was full of medium-sized sun cups, which Z naturally (and quite properly, given her running shoes) slid around on and hated. I hated them too, but my shoes at least afforded me some traction on them. The snow went down almost to the top of the ridge between Clyd and Aloha lakes, but not quite, and once we got there, we clamored over the rocks for a while until arriving back on trail at Mosquito Pass. From here, we walked along Lake Aloha, to camp at the southern edge. Mozzies were pretty bad here, but bearable.
On Sunday, we woke up, hiked back over Mosquito Pass, and beyond it through a long valley, up and over Rockbound Pass. From there we hiked down, back into the Mosquito zone, and beyond to our the car.
- I forgot to put new batteries in my flashlight, and the old ones were all but dead.
- The deet that we brought was old and didn’t seem to work too well.
- Z needs real shoes.
- Ice axes would have been safer.
- Lake Aloha is amazing but crowded.
- The snow was just right, despite it being WAY too early for a trip to the High Sierras.
- My legs again were abused: Scratches from the night hike with no flashlight, and sunburns from poor sunscreen application.
- The itinerary pushed our muscles without injury (unlike last time).
- Z is a natural backpacker and a great hiking partner.
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