Forums Trip Reports Kids TR: Desolation Wilderness, CA (NFDU)
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    4149 Posts

    Date: July 6-9, 2006

    Location: Desolation Wilderness, CA

    Weather: 80degree days, 40degree nights, sunny in the mornings, clouds and thunderstorms in the afternoon.

    Participants: skyler, dad (bcrider)

    Gameplan: father/son bonding, backpacking in new terrain (for sky), swimming and cliff jumping, photography

    Duration: 4 days, 3 nights

    Vertical: 2000ft or so

    Distance: 10-12miles roundtrip

    Beta: take more than 3oz of pancake syrup

    Pics: dad, skyler

    As much as I enjoy the winter months for the white stuff we all know and love, there is something a really look forward to during the summer months as well….backpacking with my family. It’s such a fun to stay active, see the mountains, and build family memories.

    I like going backpacking in the same areas I backcountry ski in too because it really helps you become intimate with the terrain.

    My son Skyler has been backpacking since he was 4 and has done some pretty impressive trips for a little guy. He’s bagged Horsetail Falls at age 5, Half Moon Lake at 6, Dicks Peak when he was 8, etc. The last couple of years though we’ve been doing smaller trips so mom and little sister could come along too. These trips were awesome and we wouldn’t trade them for the world but we both wanted to get back to covering more ground. With mom and sis going out of town for the weekend, Skyler and I knew what we needed to do.

    He must have heard me talk about Lake Aloha in the past because he had his mind made up where he wanted to go. We’d start at our normal starting point at Echo Lakes and camp at a different spot each night finishing at Lake Aloha.

    I had some vacation time to burn at work so we decided to take an extra couple days as well. We left on Thursday afternoon and returned on Sunday.


    Day One

    I love being a tourist and taking pics of the taxi drivers. They never believe me when I say I’m going to post it on the internet. 😉

    The dogs always enjoy the boat ride.

    Sky does too.

    Dad and son on the upper boat dock ready to hit the trail, just after 6pm.

    Sky makes his way up the Pacific Crest Trail. Our ski tracks from 10 days ago could still be seen on the upper left skyline.

    Looking back towards Echo Lakes.

    And over to Mt. Ralston.

    A similar view in winter.

    Monkey-boy getting ready to enter Desolation Wilderness.

    Gotta love the wild flowers this time of year. 🙂

    Tamarack Lake is the first lake you come to on the trail and is where we’ve been going the last couple of years with mom and sis. It’s a sweet little lake with some nice sites, good swimming, and some cliff jumping but we wanted to stay somewhere new. We’ve day hiked to nearby Ralston Lake and I ski the same mountain in the winter so it seemed like a perfect spot.

    Skyler almost there thanks to his creek crossing steeze.

    Camp Ralston.

    Bad Moon Rising.

    Obligatory water filter shot and a little toooo much green and red. I also need to remember to pick up a gravity filter before our next trip.

    After some dinner we called in a night.

    4149 Posts

    Day Two

    The next morning we awoke to a great sunrise on Mt. Ralston.

    Dad went big too and made pancakes instead of the normal oatmeal. They were super-easy (just add water) and the non-stick pot was cheap and light. Now I gotta just remember to bring enough syrup.


    After breakfast we circumnavigated Ralston Lake.

    Looking back towards camp from the SE shore.

    Skyler made a new friend along the way.

    We hit a patch of snow and “like father like sonâ€Â

    4149 Posts

    Day Three

    The next morning slept in and woke up at 9:30am :shock:.

    Lazy dogs.

    We finally motivated for a day hike and decided to walk up to Aloha. We planned to move camp again but the thought of light packs persuaded us to leave it be.

    Soon we were on the still frozen SE shores of Lake Aloha.

    And on the splillway.

    Skyler is a waterdog and just had to get wet. So did Sierra and Coda.

    More testosterone.

    Just to the south of Lake Aloha we stumbled across an unnamed lake with a well established camp. This place had a wind block, a lazy boy with ataman, and a full kitchen set. It’s tucked away from the popular (and sometimes crowed) spots along the shores of Aloha too.

    We continued cross-country south towards Desolation Lake before completing our loop back to Lake of the Woods.

    More views of the Crystal Range (Pyramid Peak, Aarons Peak, Mt Agazzis, and Mt Price). Someday son, someday.

    Sky found a little snow cave.

    And some fun rock hopping.

    On to the next.

    We found another snow patch too.

    Future tele skier?

    Or guerilla AT skier.

    Back at Lake of the Woods we headed to the west shore for some cliff jumping.

    Skyler goes big on the middle jump. :mrgreen:

    Dad’s turn off the top on the Sierra’s version of the water ramps…the admission is free and its always open. 🙂

    Setting up for the Method Air.

    There’s the grab.

    Not a bad landing for an old fat guy either.

    Thunderstorms were approaching and we changed our minds about staying at Lake of the Woods after being up around Lake Aloha. We headed back to camp to have a snack and break it down.

    Sky found a cave along the way.

    4149 Posts

    Some nice folks from SLT came by just as we leaving and decided to take over our spot. They took our picture for us before we left. (nice chest strap, gaper)

    Back over the snowfield.

    And to our cozy and beautiful private lake. Its unnamed on the map so we dubbed it Dog Lake.

    Camp Dog Lake.

    We had an early dinner so we could do some more hiking and exploring during the magical hour.

    Back towards the south along the outlet of Aloha, American, and Channel Lakes.

    Desolation Lake.

    Sky thought it would be a good idea to soak his feet…then he remembered the temperature of the water.

    The main stream was moving pretty good in this area.

    There were also smaller little streams that made for safer play zones. Sky sent stick boats down this for at least an hour.

    Then we scrambled to higher ground again to watch the light show.

    A wise old tree.

    A great spot (just large enough for a two person tent) 40 feet above the lake. I called it the Eagle’s Nest suite.

    What looked like a great bouldering spot too. Check out all those “chicken headsâ€Â

    2068 Posts

    Awesome. Sky’s stoked!!! Setting up a couple base camps and doing light weight trips is the way to go. I’ve got a huge grin thinking about doing overnighters with my girls. Thanks for sharing.

    570 Posts

    Incredible. Life just doesn’t get better.

    54 Posts

    Nice pics of my winter skiing and summer fishing wonderland, Chris. That patch of snow Skyler is pointing to on Pyramid was the same patch my buddy Mike and I skied on august 21, 1996. Didnt know about the boat taxi then and hiked it all the way from the boat launch. Spent a couple of nights and knocked down about 150 yards of turns on Pyramid. The trout sure tasted good though. Dont count out the fly to Lassen trip just yet. According to the automated snow measuring station there is still 80 inches on the ground at 8500ft. I am working on Bob. I will let you know what transpires…jim

    15 Posts

    Great pics. Must have been a blast. Noticed that you are still filtering water. Might want to pick up some Aqua Mira drops and leave that hassle behind. I switched over a few years ago and it’s great – way less weight and bulk and no pumping.

    affix snow
    521 Posts

    One sweet trip. And a Cool ass Dad!!!!!

    Reminds me of all the hiking and skiing i did with my dad. Oh wait, i just got back from 9 days doing that with him. 😀

    Sky is lucky.

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