Friday, July 27, 2012

Granite and Eagle Lake Loop Desolation Wilderness July 18, 2012

                                       Looking toward Emerld Bay and Lake Tahoe from the trail
For my last hike in the Lake Tahoe Basin I chose a 6 mile loop connecting Granite Lake and Eagle Lake. The hike starts at Bayview Campground and ends at the Eagle Falls parking area. It is advisable to start at Bayview or take a shuttle because the Eagle Falls parking area is busy with tourists. Shuttles operate every 30 minutes. The Bayview Trailhead is a nice place to start a backpacking trip into the Desolation Wilderness because it is a less popular starting spot. 

The hike starts at an elevation of 6820 feet and tops out at 8220 feet. It is rocky in places so be careful with your footing. After  2.8 miles hikers reach a junction giving hikers an option to go further in the wilderness toward the Velma Lakes or down to Eagle Lake. The trail from the junction to Eagle Lake is the steepest and rockiest. Watch your footing.

                      Nevada with Emerald Bay in the background
                  Beautiful Emerald Bay from above
                                    Nevada and I at Granite Lake

                             The blue of Lake Tahoe with the Carson Range in the background
                                     Cool tree with the wilderness in the background
                                          Eagle Lake
                 Below looking inside the rugged Desolation Wilderness

Cascade Falls July 17, 2012

                                               One of the smaller cascades at the falls

Location: Today's hike starts at Bayview Campground on the western side of Lake Tahoe. The trail to Cascade Falls starts at the back of the campground. A trolley from South Tahoe stops at the Emerald Bay Overlook. It is only three dollars for a trip and a great way to keep from fighting the tourist traffic at the lake.

 I chose an easier hike today because Nevada was sore from yesterday's hike to Aloha Lake. The hike to Cascade Falls is a 1.4 miles roundtrip with minimal elevation gain. It is perfect for families with small children who want to introduce their kids to hiking. The hike is beautiful with great views of Cascade Lake and Lake Tahoe. Be advised the last 0.4 to the falls is rocky.

                               Cascade Lake with Lake Tahoe in the background
                                          Scenery around Cascade Lake

Aloha Lake Desolation Wilderness Juy 16, 2012

                                                           Along the shores of lower Echo Lake
Location: The location for today's hike is at Echo Summit approximately 11 miles south of South Lake Tahoe on Highway 50. There are two trailheads one at Benwood Meadow and the other at Echo Lake. Benwood Meadow is a popular trailhead for accessing country on the Pacific Crest Trail south of Lake Tahoe. If you want to hike into the Desolation Wilderness it is advisable to park at Echo Lake because it cuts over four miles of hiking. For ten dollars a hiker can take a taxi to the end of Upper Echo Lake. Be advised that the Desolation Wilderness is the most popular wilderness in the lower 48. Expect to see other hikers. A day hiker is required to fill out a day use permit which cost no money. Backpackers need to register at local Ranger Stations. 

The Hike: Today I deposited my car at Benwood Meadow with the intention of hiking to Aloha Lake in the Desolation Wilderness. From Benwood Meadow the hike is about 15 miles on the Pacific Crest Trail (as stated previous a visitor can cut of over four miles by starting at Echo Lake). I chose this hike to see beautiful Aloha Lake but also the Echo Lakes, Tamarack Lake, Margery Lake and Lake of the Woods. The hike also required 600 feet of elevation gain; a rarity in the Tahoe Basin. Today I saw many backpackers including a few thru hikers on the PCT. I saw high elevation conifers including ponderosa pine and some impressive stands of whitebark pine. Nevada did well on the hike but, by the end of the day he was really tired.

Impressive striations on the rock

                                           Aloha Lake in the wilderness

                                                            Nevada in the wilderness

                                       Desolation high country at Aloha Lake

                             Looking back toward Echo Lakes

                                            Tamarack Lake
                                               Pyramid, Agassiz and Price near Aloha Lake

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Virginia City, Nevada Chollar Mine July 14, 2012

                              Stamp used in a mill
Tara and I returned to Virginia City, Nevada, to tour the Chollar Mine. The Chollar Mine, later Chollar-Potosi mine, was one of the best producing mines in Virginia City. While operational miners blasted over $17 million in gold and silver. Today the mine is a popular tour in Virginia City. For seven dollars (two for children) visitors are taken 400 feet into the main tunnel.  Information provided on the tour consisted of the history of Virginia City, the concept of square-set timbering, and what mining was like in the 1800s. Visitors see an impressive array of old mining equipment including drills, headframes, and ore carts. I would recommend this tour to anyone visiting Virginia City. Other posts on Virginia City include Queen of the Comstock Lode and the Silver Terrace Cemetery.(Information from and

                               Headframe on the grounds
                                Ore chute
                                Mine walkway with yellow ventilation
                Tara and I outside mine
                                  Ore cart with surrounding desert
Below; Tara next to stamp used at one of the local mines

To the Summit of Mount Rose July 12, 2012

                                      Me at Galena Falls

I returned to the Mt. Rose Summit without Nevada to hike to the top of Mt. Rose. The hike is strenuous: 10.8 miles round trip and over 2,000 feet of elevation gain. During the first two and a half miles the trail takes you by Galena Falls and a small creek which was a nice place to cool off. Vibrant blue lupine were prevalent along the creek bed. After two and a half miles the trail to the summit of Mt. Rose branches off the Tahoe Rim Trail. From this saddle, the trail switchbacks gaining altitude quickly. Make sure to wear a hat and sunscreen as the sun is intense at this elevation. High winds picked up near the summit. If you attempt to hike Mt. Rose in the spring or fall winds and cold temperatures are a major problem.

While on the  summit I talked to two very interesting guys: Harold and Kenny who lived in Carson, City. They were very interesting; having lived and worked in the Tahoe region throughout their lives. We had a spirited conversation about hiking in the west and conservation in the Tahoe Basin.
                         Lupine in wilderness
                                 More lupine pics
                     Looking toward Lake Tahoe near the summit
                      Looking north along the spine of the Carson Range
                     Me on top with Reno in the background

               Lake Tahoe with rocks in the foreground

                           Interesting clouds on top

                                Different colors of lichen on the summit

National Automobile Museum Reno, Nevada July 10, 2012

On this blog I highlight museums throughout Nevada which are worth visiting. One of these local gems is the National Automobile Museum in Reno, Nevada. The museum has a collection of 200 vintage cars from Bill Harrah. At the time of his death, Bill Harrah, owner of Harrah's Casinos, owned over 2,000 vintage automobiles. Holiday Corporation, which purchased Harrah's after Bill's death, donated over 175 cars and a research library in 1989.  Admission is $10 to enter. The museum has an impressive amount of information about each car on display as well as the history of the automobile in America. 

                                The Thomas Flyer; competed in a race from New York to Paris

Mt. Rose Wilderness Loop hike July 9, 2012

                                                Looking toward Relay Peak and Snow Pond

General Information: The Carson Range of Western Nevada offers many recreation opportunities including hiking, snowshoeing and off-road driving. Prominent peaks in the range include Mt. Rose and Jobs and Freel Peaks. Elevations range from 6,400 to a high of 10,776 on Mt Rose. The most popular part of the range is the Mt. Rose wilderness. The wilderness is located southwest of Reno, Nevada. One of the  access points is Mt. Rose Summit on Highway 431 approximately 35 minutes from Reno. Here you can access the Tahoe Rim Trail as well as the trail up Mt. Rose. Major tree species of the Carson Range include jeffrey pine, lodgepole pine, mountain mohagany, whitebark pine and limber pine. Animal species include deer, black bear, mountain lion and raptors.

The hike: Today I left my car at Mt. Rose Summit. The hike today was a seven mile round trip along the Mt. Rose Summit trail and back along the Tahoe Rim Trail. The hike took me by Galena Falls and Snow Pond. Along the way I saw nice views of Relay Peak, Mt. Rose, and Lake Tahoe. The route itself is easy to follow and elevation gain is approximately 400 feet. The only downside of the loop is that the last 2.5 miles from Snow Pond to the trailhead is not in the wilderness and along Forest Service road 051. Temperatures became hot on this section and shade was hard to come find.

                             Looking west toward Lake Tahoe and the Crystal Range
Lake tahoe from the trail
                  Lake Tahoe and Route 431 descending to Incline Village