Author Topic: DESOLATION WILDERNESS  (Read 10983 times)

Chris W.

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DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« on: June 16, 2012, 08:07:15 PM »

Hello, everyone.
This trip to the Desolation Wilderness actually took place about two weeks ago but I was too busy to post it until today.
So, I need to refresh some of my memories to get this report done accurately.

OK, I think it was May 31st, Thursday, that three of us left LA and headed straight up to South Lake Tahoe.
It took us almost 9 hours to get there but it is always fun when you are headed to the mountains.

Friday, June 1
We left our hotel around 4:30 am and drove about 30 minutes to the trailhead parking lot.
This trailhead is located at the end of Fallen Leaf Lake and we were going to hike up to Gilmore Lake.
The regular route for this hiking trail is about 4.5 miles with 1800' gain, but there is a short cut to get to this lake.
Sounds good?  Well, I don't know.  This short cut makes the hiking about 3.5 miles but you need to gain 1800' in the first
2 miles.  That is tough.  And there are some sections that are not recommended for leisure hikers.

We, of course, elected to take the short cut.  That is us !!
Here are some photos of us hiking up the trail and getting really beaten.















It took us over 2 hours to get to the lake but when we did, it was rewarding.
There were still some portions of ice left on the lake and that means we had a fresh lake
for 2012 making us perhaps the very few people to fish at this lake first.
We did not see anyone else for the entire day while we were there.

We took our boat and floating tube to enjoy the mobility.
Here are two photos of Mackinaw.  Somehow they look meaner than our average trout. IMO.











When Macks hit the lure, the feeling is a bit different from other trout species.
( Actually Mackinaw is a char )  Instead of that hard pull or head shaking movement,
it almost feels like you snagged your line at the bottom of the lake.
And then, it starts moving telling you that it is no snag but a fish.  My fishing advisor whom I respect, has once
landed a 32" Mack out of this lake.  Monster !!

We did not land anything in that size but I was able to pull up a 20" Mack which happened to be the largest fish for the day.
Here are more pictures of Macks and the beautiful lake.

















It was like fishing on the opener day, as many fish were willing to take our lures.
Both of my friends caught more than 10 fish but I caught only 4......

But all in all we were very happy to have an excellent fishing day.
Weather was perfect and the fish were biting.  What else can you ask?
On the way back, we took the conventional route of hiking got back to the trailhead around 7:30 pm.
Exhausted pretty much as we hiked something like 8 ~ 9 miles with severe elevation changes.




Saturday, June 2
We camped at this campground called Loon Lake CG on the night before.
( after we came down from Gilmore )
Got up about 4:30 again and headed to Buck Island Lake.
This hike does not involve steep hills but I believe the total gain is like 1000' or so.
Instead, it is very long.  It is almost 7 miles to the lake  ( it says 6.2 or 6.5 miles on some books but I disagree )
and another 0.5 mile to get to a decent fishing spot.

To jump to the conclusion, we all struck out.
There is no fish there!!  Whose idea was it to go there?  ( of course, mine )
So we just had a nice hiking day of 15 miles with our boat and floating tube and spent
many hours on the trail.  They say the worst day of your fishing is still better than your best day
at work.  Well, I say the worst day at work is still better than your best day on the trail.

So there is no photo of fish but the lake and trail.  PLEASE ENJOY.
That is pretty much it for this trip and we are leaving to Alaska next Wednesday.












Chris W.




The creek is waiting but let me stay dry....

oakboy

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2012, 09:07:55 PM »
Love your reports!  Now you got me interested in the Mackinaw Trout. Sounds like a fun/grueling weekend.

<><

KP

Fredb

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #2 on: June 16, 2012, 09:19:46 PM »
Man Chris I found myself gasping for air just looking at the second picture, thanks for sharing-Fred

saudust

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #3 on: June 17, 2012, 05:59:18 AM »
Chris, as always, I appreciate your post.  You and your friends are the most adventurous group!

I agree with Fred, that hike looks like a butt kicker.  Is the "short cut" a well marked one, or is it over broken terrain?  It looks like the pictures show a decent definition of a path, but it's jagged, especially where your friend is hanging on to the side.

Thanks!  Enjoy Alaska and we'll wait for another post.
Let me wake laughing from a nap in the afternoon under the aspens in the fall.

beldingi

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #4 on: June 17, 2012, 07:41:56 AM »
I first looked at Chris' TR on my phone. And even there my reaction was 'holy Hannah!'. Looking forward to the Alaska TR!
 :hiking2:

SN

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #5 on: June 17, 2012, 10:07:40 AM »
Awesome trip and fish
You guys definitely worked hard for those fish.
What a great hike

Topwater Terry

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #6 on: June 17, 2012, 02:35:19 PM »
Nice report as always Chris!!
Once I arrive at Tom's Place...well,  you know...nothing else matters...

bstolton

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #7 on: June 17, 2012, 07:51:49 PM »
WOW!  love your reports, that trail looks like its for bighorn sheep only. Mackinaw trout never even heard of them, very cool! You and wshawkins have the best reports, I just want to tag along some time.
gone fishn, hope to be catchn soon !

Mcgee Dude

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #8 on: June 18, 2012, 12:28:22 AM »
Way to go Chris! Awesome Fish!

Another Lake added to my wish list!

Thanks for the Report!


 :clap: :clap: :clap: :clap:
Still waiting on my RCL Club Patch!

2dtrails

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #9 on: June 18, 2012, 11:24:17 AM »
Great report Chris!

Little Hardrock

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #10 on: June 18, 2012, 12:39:12 PM »
GO Chris GO!     

great report... i love buck island lake!

thinking of you guys in alaska makes me smile.. have a blast!!     (is alsaka ready for you? :)
 
Hardrock, may his spirit live on in all of us.....

Mcgee Dude

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #11 on: June 18, 2012, 04:33:55 PM »
I leave for Alaska soon too!! wahoo!
Still waiting on my RCL Club Patch!

Chris W.

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #12 on: June 18, 2012, 07:20:53 PM »


Saudust,

The short cut trail can be a bit tricky as it becomes thin at some spots.
But if you decide to go to Gilmore, just PM me so I can give you full details about the
trail and the lake.


And thank you for all of your comments everyone.


Mcgee Dude, have a great trip!!



Chris W.
The creek is waiting but let me stay dry....

wshawkins

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #13 on: June 21, 2012, 06:56:10 PM »
Great report and nice fish Chris W.  Desolation Basin has taken a big hit with the Frog problem, just glad Gilmore Lake still has fish!  Mackinaw trout is a beauty!  I remember somebody catching a big Mack of 32" long in 2000.  Still 20" is still a prize.  Thanks for sharing.
"It isn't the mountains ahead that wear you out, it's the grain of sand in your shoe."

Todd Johnson

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Re: DESOLATION WILDERNESS
« Reply #14 on: July 17, 2012, 11:58:13 AM »
Chris, it never ceases to amaze me of you trip reports.  Always big fish and great scenery.  I always have enjoyed ready your reports.  Thanks again.
"The Creek is Waiting" - Hardrock - May he forever live on this board.