A Report from the Snowy Sierra

posted Jun 26, 2011, 8:56 PM by Paul Wagner
Oh yeah.  That's the Crystal Range in Desolation Wilderness, as seen from the meadow in front of Van Vleck Bunkhouse...
So here's the story.
We were committed to getting up into the mountains this weekend, and so we did.  But we were car camping, not backpacking, at Union Valley Reservoir, along Ice House Road off Highway 50.  (Of course Tom Stienstra in the SF Chronicle singled this lake out the very day we arrived...so expect that it will get a lot more traffic now.  Sigh.)
The large, spacious campsites at Wench Creek made us feel very much at home, and the hiking in this area has a lot to offer, particularly when the rest of the Sierra is still under a lot of snow.  We managed to go on three or four nice hikes, none of which got above 7,000, and all of which had us tromping through a bit of snow.
And water.  Water, water everywhere, as that snow turned back into a liquid and filled every possible low-lying stretch of trail.  That's a photo of part of our trail below right.  You can see the snowbank leading directly into the stream of water running down the trail.
If you don't like wet feet, stay out of the mountains this time of year!
But that same water made the rivers and cascades truly memorable.  Check out the cascades below...one of many such scenes we saw.
And there were scenes of great beauty...like the forest above...We got back to camp every night feeling tired but quite please with ourselves.
We've posted a few photos here....the rest can be accessed by clicking on any photo and viewing the whole lot on Picasa. 
(Warning!---this was part of a large group camping trip, so there are photos of very cute children as well.  And a few less cute grownups.  When was the last time you took a group of people camping?)