Page Type Page Type: Trip Report
Location Lat/Lon: 39.20286°N / 120.22013°W
Date Date Climbed/Hiked: Jun 14, 2012
Activities Activities: Hiking, Scrambling

New SP friends meet in the Northern Sierra

Misty sunrise Squaw ValleyMisty sunrise from Squaw Valley

Last year was an off year for the high country. Only 2 short trips and hardly any hiking.
Tahoecedar and I had been appreciating each others contributions to SP and after a few PMs she invited me to come up to the north Lake Tahoe area for some hiking. Usually drawn to Sonora, Yosemite and the Eastern Sierra I hadn't set foot in that part of the "Range of Light" since '97 when I last climbed a few peaks in the Desolation Wilderness.
A long time resident of the area Cedar knew plenty of great places to go. I was still nursing an injured knee so she planned a few easy hikes for us the week of the 14th of June. I hadn't ever done anything around north Tahoe and was stoked to meet up and explore some new terrain.

Lou hits the wall

Lou drinking while he couldn t walkLou drinking when he couldn't walk
We had planned to get together in a week. On June 8th I took my cat Lou to the vet for a check-up. He was slowing down, not eating well and losing weight. After a blood test he was evaluated with kidney failure. The vet gave me fluids to administer via needle. This wasn't new since I had another cat years ago with the same condition who responded readily to the solution and recovered dramatically for the better part of a year.
In Lou's case even though it was small doses and maybe because he was also diagnosed with a heart murmer the fluids seemed to backfire. The night of June 9 his back legs started giving out and he could hardly walk even a few steps. At 18 years old I was resigned to the fact that this could be it for him. He's been my best friend and like my son ever since he barged in and decided to live with me when I moved in to this place 11 years ago. He belonged to the landlady above but she gave him over when it was obvious we had this connection.
I told Cedar I might have to take a rain check and hang with my buddy during this crucial period. I was taking it from day to day and see how he progressed. The mountains might just have to wait, a quality they have no problem exhibiting.

Up to Squaw Valley and the north shore of Lake Tahoe

Sunset over Lake TahoeSunset over Lake Tahoe

Well, in a few days Lou started walking, eating and responding much better. The landlady agreed to feed and check on him while I was gone.
Thursday morning the 14th, I drove up over Donner Pass to Truckee then down to Squaw Valley (6,200') where Cedar was staying at her son's place. This rustic old home with stables in the heart of the valley had a feeling of a lot of history in the wood. It was a hot sunny afternoon with the surrounding meadows lush in tall green grass when I got there which made it hard to believe that in winter the snow could cover the house!
Cedar greeted me, we exchanged hugs and she showed me around. It was too late for Granite Chief, the peak up behind the valley so we took a small hike up to Shirley Falls with LE her sons big dog.
Hiking with Cedar was giving me a new perspective on the little delicate things along the trail that a bonehead peakbagger like myself usually misses in the quest to tag another summit.
Shirley falls was exhilarating. LE frolicked in the pools as Cedar set up tripod shots.
Later we went down to Tahoe City, had some killer waffle fries and visited the north shore for some sunset shots across the lake. The clouds were dramatic but the mosquitos were swarming (but not biting) so bad it was hard to keep them out of the frame!

Granite Chief

Flowers at Immigrant Pass Flowers at the pass, photo by Cedar
South from  Emigrant Crag South from "Squaw Crag"
Cedar and Granite ChiefCedar below Granite Chief
Friday morning we planned to do Granite Chief (9,006') a popular peak in the area. Cedar suggested we take the tram up to the high meadow above Squaw Valley to save several miles and a few thousand ft. making it easier on my knee. We walked over to the big resorts village for a bagel and coffee while waiting for the first tram departure at 10:40. Arriving at the meadow the hiking was easy up to the pass a short distance away. Granite Chief was an inviting vision about a mile to the northwest. The weather was awesomely clear and warm with almost no wind. Cedar said it was usually nasty windy up here on the Chief. We lingered for an hour on the summit taking in the great views south to the peaks of the Crystal Range, Lake Tahoe and north to Mt. Lola and the Sierra Buttes. It was a perfect day!.
With plenty of time to catch the last tram down at 5pm we stopped at the pass and I went to bag a small crag nearby while Cedar honed her lense in on some rare flowers. It was a fun little class 3 scramble to a knife edge jumble of blocks for a summit.
Back at the village after the tram ride down we had super tastey smoked chicken pizza at Fireside, highly recommended! Later we drove down to Barker Pass a few miles in from the northwest shore to camp for the night before doing Ellis Peak on Saturday.

Ellis Peak

North Lake Tahoe from Ellis PeakNorth Lake Tahoe from Ellis Peak
Ellis Peak from the 4th of July BowlEllis Peak from the 4th of July Bowl
Wallflowers and the Crystal RangeWallflowers and the Crystal Range from the trail to Ellis Peak
For breakfast Cedar made us almond french toast before heading up the trail for the 6 mile roundtrip hike over the Fourth of July Bowl (8,517') to Ellis Peak (8,740') and back. Apon cresting the bowl the Crystal Range and other Desolation Wilderness peaks announced their grand presence to the south. Taking our time we meandered around on this loosely forested high plateau with interesting old trees full of character and fine views before descending into the mosquito infested forest that lead to Ellis Peak.
Cedar promised the expanse of Lake Tahoe from Ellis was one of the best and the peak made good on it. What a view! After a short while on the summit she thought she saw a fire down by Barker Pass. It was a low snow year and the ground was already dry. Taking no chances we decided to head back a little early. Sweating and huffing back down through the mosquitos with dirtbikers loudly snarling around on their machines a short distance away. We were glad to get back up onto the beautiful plateau for a snack break before the last part of the hike.

Lou won't shut up!

Desolation peaks from Granite ChiefDesolation Peaks from Granite Chief
Finally on the way back we stopped at The Tahoe House in Tahoe City for tuna salad. Cedar had some of her fine photography on display in the form of postcards for sale. I was impressed!
We hung out looking at photos and Summitposting on her laptop for a bit, planning to getting together in the near future for more adventures before I headed back to the Bay Area.
I was really glad to see Lou after the 4 hour drive back saturday night and he was no less than rambunctiuously demanding food and attention apon my arrival.
Monday afternoon and Lou was rummaging around the place howling for more attention between naps before gobbling up a quarter pound of raw jumbo shrimp for dinner. He appears to have found a new lease on life.
Cirrus cloud over 4th of July BowlCirrus cloud over 4th of July Bowl
Cedar and LE on the trail to Shirley FallsCedar and LE on the Shirley Falls trail


Post a Comment
Viewing: 1-9 of 9

PAROFES - Jun 19, 2012 6:58 am - Voted 10/10

Happy and hungry Lou!

Well, glad to read at the end Lou got better...
You guys enjoyed pretty much every minute! Waffles, pizza, tuna salad, man all that food talk make me hungry and here it is still 7:55am ahahahah
I think I'm going for my breakfast already hehe
Lovely photos my friend, love the TR. Fast, smooth and fun read.
Hope your knee gets fixed up soon.
Cheers to Cedar and you from brazilian lands


Noondueler - Jun 19, 2012 12:19 pm - Hasn't voted

Re: Happy and hungry Lou!

Thanks a bunch Paulo! Really glad you liked the report. Cedar and I talked of you on the trip. How are you doing?


PAROFES - Jun 20, 2012 6:29 am - Voted 10/10

Re: Happy and hungry Lou!

I am great! :O)
Still waiting for the doctors with their minds.


lcarreau - Jun 20, 2012 1:37 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Happy and hungry Lou!

We are thinking about you, Man!


PAROFES - Jun 20, 2012 3:51 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Happy and hungry Lou!

Keep on thinking, good vibes man, good vibes! :)
I know the Doctors are ike this right now


lcarreau - Jun 20, 2012 6:27 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Happy and hungry Lou!

Ahahahaha ha ha ...

Heard that House is facing retirement. Wish all doctors could
be so cool, super witty and so darn idealistic.

Best Wishes on this side of the tongue depressor and knee hammer ... what ... somebody say HAMMER ???


lcarreau - Jun 19, 2012 11:57 pm - Voted 10/10

Excellent Report ...

We all need a new lease on Life.

Lou could possibly be a symbolic metaphor for healthy living.

Living healthy means spending time outdoors with the birds and
the buzzing bees, especially for Old Buzzards looking for fun.

I like Arizona living, which includes frying eggs on the sidewalk
and long walks amidst a chorus of coyotes chasing Roadrunners.

All of us need to take a long break next to a body of water.
Water is very soothing to the palette, and quenches the majority of our spiritual needs.


Noondueler - Jun 20, 2012 1:23 am - Hasn't voted

Re: Excellent Report ...

Thanks Larry!
A line from The Firesign Theatre just came to mind:
"Well, I don't eat, but it hasn't affected my appetite any." -"Don't crush that dwarf hand me the pliers".
Lou went blind a year or so ago but he knows his way around quite well and it hasn't affected his appetite especially for jumbo shrimp.
And yes we all need a nature break from all the stuff that crowds the world of scientific materialism.


lcarreau - Jun 20, 2012 1:23 pm - Voted 10/10

Re: Excellent Report ...

Agreed for the most part ... greed is the killer of most.

Sorry, but can't help but add a few more poetic musings ..

"If I were a FISH, I'd be swimming quietly in Lake Tahoe.
If I were a Seabird, I'd be soaring lazily over the San Francisco Bay.

And ... If I were a miller,
at a mill wheel grinding ..
would you miss your color box,

and your soft shoe SHINING ...?"

May the bright soft Spirits be with you, Windsor and Cedar!

Viewing: 1-9 of 9



Parents refers to a larger category under which an object falls. For example, theAconcagua mountain page has the 'Aconcagua Group' and the 'Seven Summits' asparents and is a parent itself to many routes, photos, and Trip Reports.

Lake Tahoe BasinTrip Reports
Ellis PeakTrip Reports