(Two day trip report. First half found here.)
Not the best night of sleep I’ve had in the mountains.
Reminiscent of my black bear encounter on a section of the Wonderland Trail in October 2012. Ask me about that sometime and I’ll tell you an-edge-of-your-seat tale. Due to the howling wind and critters crunching through the snow in the valley, let’s call it a “glad that it’s finally morning” sort of day. (Post wake up animal track check: no animals in the immediate vicinity. Ursack with all smellables intact and undisturbed. Two thumbs up. Carry on with day.)
During the middle of the night I decided that with it being such a weird weathered winter with so much wildlife out and about, my tomorrow would end with me being back in my car, heading down Ice House Road. Totally great. Upon waking up, I had two options.
1. Hike out the same route I traveled in yesterday (a pinch of off trail, mainly trail day).
2. Slog up the east ridge of Tells Peak, summit, and descend the western ridge, cross country west of Brown Mountain, and connect with the trail on the far south side of Loon Lake. (mainly off trail, a pinch of trail day).
Over breakfast, I chose option 2 knowing that if i didn’t reach my car by sundown, I could easily camp (as I’m carrying supplies for a 3 day trip).
A couple miles from camp to ridge and ridge to summit. All of it, up. I love slogging. Love it. Hot sun, blue skies, hella snow. Thoughts: Definitely some rad tree skiing possibilities here in Desolation.
Oh hey, summit push!
Wha-BAM! 8872′. Peak bagged. (For the umpeenth time).
Glad to have achieved my first winter ascent of a Crystal Range peak.
A 360 degree view, Tahoe basin dry but the lake quite blue (pictured), the McConnell ridge pretty snowy to the south and the coast range to the west prominent on the horizon too.
Four and a half miles of gnarly descent later, after snowshoe-ing on and snowshoe-ing off too many times to count, I connected with the trail at the first stream crossing, right as the sun set. As if I wasn’t making enough noise crunching my way through the icy snow at dusk, for hours of the afternoon cross country slog I sang. Loudly. On repeat.
Three songs. Well, a bit of one song, most of another, and a third in entirety. (Old Zeb, Love Sponge, Acres of Clams).
Rosie get my Sunday shoes
Gertie get my walking cane
And we’ll take another walk to see old Alice sail again…
A mile out to my car and the spotlight from the moon rising, I rolled back down the hill towards Davis.