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Thirsty Thursday: Desolation Wilderness Trip

Rambler: Beth

Drink at Hand: Ancient Peaks Rose

Hey Welliver Photography fans! Thanks for tuning in for another Thirsty Thursday...time to pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. This week I'll give you a little recap of our recent backpacking trip to Waca Lake and Lake Aloha in the Desolation Wilderness.

Desolation Wilderness is in the Lake Tahoe area and is one of the most heavily visited wilderness areas in the country. Therefore, getting a wilderness permit for this area is a challenge. We wanted to go to Lake Aloha, but that's super easy trek destination, so the permits were sold out for that zone. I figured, hey, the Team Welliver is a hardy bunch, so the three of us could handle a little cross-country travel to a zone that still had overnight permits available. After much topo map studying, I was sure that a roughly 2-mile off-trail, cross-country over a saddle point that was only 1 contour interval on the map to a beautiful alpine lake would be easy peasy lemon squeezy for us. So on a warm Friday afternoon we left the Echo Lake parking lot for Waca Lake.

crosscountry
predawn
waca lake
redshirt
camp
tent camp
lake aloha sunrise

What's that? You've never heard of Waca Lake? Yeah, turns out most people haven't. Why is that? Because its ridiculously difficult to get there. The first 6 miles of the trail (yes, trail) were easy, straightforward, no big deal. Then we left the trail to begin our 2 miles of exhausting scrambling up and down granite boulders with our packs on. Not as easy as it looked on the topo map. But we made it and the lake was pretty and we collapsed into our tent. The next morning had a nicely colored, albeit cloudless, sky. One of these trips we'll get some clouds! We decided to pack up camp and head back toward Lake Aloha in order to cut off a little bit of distance and pain for hike back to the car on day 3. We originally planned to spend most of Day 2 exploring the numerous lakes and playing around with a little bouldering. Unfortunately, little Miss Massey and her delicate little paws had a rough time on the abrasive granite on Day 1, so once we made it back to Lake Aloha for Day 2, we took it easy. Terry didn't seem to mind either. The final sunrise at Lake Aloha wasn't too bad either. Get out there and find your own backcountry adventure this weekend!

Thirsty Thursday: Instagrams from the Trail

Rambler: Beth
Drink at Hand: 2007 Alfaro Vineyards Pinot Noir

Thirsty Thursday here again...time to pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. Last weekend Terry and I (and Massey of course!) headed up to the Kaiser Wilderness for a couple of days in the woods. It was pretty warm for the 8500' up in the mountains, incredibly buggy, and absolutely beautiful!

insta

Its always nice to get away from the cubicle and computer and phone and just enjoy the sunlight...and maybe a dip in a refreshingly chilly alpine lake. Even though the iPhones didn't get service (yay!), the camera still worked for Instagrams! As you can see in those last few frames, Massey was wrecked on the drive home. Always a telltale sign of a pretty sweet weekend!

Get out there and get lost in something this weekend!

Thirsty Thursday: Fingers Crossed

Rambler: BethDrink at Hand: Scheid Reserve Chardonnay (Tied for 1st on my chard list)

Hey Welliver Photography fans! Welcome to another addition of Thirsty Thursday...time to pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. We are headed off to backpack this weekend, or so we hope!

snowy start
terry evaluates
trees

Over Memorial Day weekend we headed up to backpack to George Lake in the Kaiser Wilderness. The in-house meteorologist blew the weekend forecast, and long story short, without a four-season tent, we were snowed out of our first backpacking trip of the season. So much for the unofficial start of summer! So this weekend we'll try again, and hopefully the trail doesn't look like this... But we definitely can't say it wasn't beautiful, even if we didn't camp in it. Get out there and doing something this weekend...and hope you get a good weather report before you go!

Thirsty Thursday: Tahoe Exploring

Rambler: Beth
Drink at Hand: Water...boring, I know. Tough run tonight.

Thirsty Thursday here again! Time to pouring something yummy (or rehydrating in my case!) and make those weekend plans. A few weeks back I was looking at a weekend home alone while Terry was out of town, so I decided to go somewhere. My original plan was Mt. Shasta, but after a long day of work on Friday, I decided to go somewhere closer. I'd never been to Tahoe, so the dog and I jumped in the car Saturday morning and off we went.

I didn't really have a game plan. I literally woke up Saturday morning and decided that Tahoe was the destination. I usually do a little research to figure out good photo spots (and good places for grub), but this time I was flying blind. Ended up at Zephyr Cove for sunset, above Emerald Bay for sunrise, and took a little snowy stroll in Desolation Wilderness with Massey before heading back home Sunday. Tahoe was beautiful and I can't wait to get up there for a couple of backpacking routes I've picked out for the summer.

Cove
flowers
massey hug
lake tahoe
emerald bay
waterfall
cascade
monochrome cascade
mountain shoes
snowy wilderness
lake shoes

Get out there and explore a new place this weekend!

Massey Monday: Morning Patrol

Early morning walks make for lots of early morning noises, early morning smells, early morning critters out doing early morning things. Massey has to stalk, calculate, then decide which of these early morning stimulants she's going to take. And then, its game on in the form of a full-out sprint. In the moments before her eruption of energy, she's quite photogenic, despite the fact that she's always patrolling ahead of me and, therefore, never looking at me.

Thirsty Thursday: George Lake

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Ginger Ale (its my go-to airplane drink, don't know why!)

Howdy folks, time for another Thirsty Thursday, so pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. As you might have guessed from my "howdy folks" and airplane drink, I've been in Texas all week at a little weather nerd conference. Not going to lie, I am a weather nerd, so I was right at home. But just like Terry's post last week, there's something about being cooped up inside that makes you want to be way-the-heck outside. So this week, we'll review my little backpacking trip way out into the Kaiser Wilderness.

As you might remember from this post, Massey and I went for a little backpacking trip in the Kaiser Wilderness, with George Lake as our planned final destination. I picked Kaiser because it was on the west side of the Sierra Crest (hence a short drive) and I wanted a short-ish hike since we were going in Saturday and coming out Sunday. We picked up our wilderness permit in Huntington Lake at 8 am when the ranger station opened and headed straight to the trailhead...where it promptly started spitting rain. Grrr. I kept getting the backpack cinched up and ready to go while passing showers scooted overhead. A dilema...do I go or do I bail? I really didn't want to hike 5 miles in the rain with a 45-lb pack on my back, but I also didn't want to give up potentially the last backpacking weekend of the year. Plus I had a brand new backpack that I was dying to use. So we went.

Massey loved the trail and her little backpack, too. We strolled along, dark clouds shadowing behind us, but bright blue skies ahead. My fingers were crossed. Massey chased pikas and I sucked in the scents of juniper and sun-warmed pine. Heaven. We topped out at Potter Pass and thunder started cracking as the wind picked up. I was nervous. But fortunately we dropped down the other side of the pass while the storm headed a different direction. On to the beautiful Lower Twin Lake, where I was surprised to see wildflowers still blooming. We quickly passed Upper Twin Lake and I noticed dark clouds coming again. The trail scrambles up a granite boulder field...one mile to go to George Lake. It was a tough mile--lots of elevation gain--further stressed by the approaching storm. I found the first suitable camping site near the lake and tore into the backpack to dig out the tent pieces. I've never pitched a tent so fast! I threw the dog and my pack in the door and zipped the rainfly just as the first huge drops hit. All five of them. Maybe it was six. We sat out a pretty wicked lightning storm but we dodged the rain.

The rest of the weekend we had beautiful weather to enjoy the beauty of the place. The upper alpine lakes of the Sierra are so beautiful. Rocky, clear, pristine. Massey also enjoyed the water, jumping in every time possible. She didn't seem to mind that she was ruining the perfect mirrored reflections by rippling the surface of the water, so I had to act fast. We had a great time and can't wait to get back out into the woods again. Hopefully with Terry next time. Enjoy a few images from the weekend.

Its getting a little late in the season for backpacking, but if you want to head out to the Kaiser Wilderness next summer (or with a very warm sleeping bag), head east from Fresno toward Shaver Lake. Keeping going up the climbing mountain road to Huntington Lake. Here you'll find the ranger station where you can pick up a wilderness pass for the outing. Make sure you have your bear can...I didn't see any bears, but I saw signs of them.

Massey Monday: Spotted Mountain Goat

Massey loved her little trip to the Sierra backcountry. She was such a rockstar in the woods...chasing birds and pikas but never strayed to far and always came back. She loved scaling these granite rock formations, too. She would bound and scramble up them like a little spotted mountain goat! It's true, my dog is more athletic than me.

Thirsty Thursday: Eastern Sierra

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: Marilyn Remark 2009 Rose de Saignee...if you haven't had a Marilyn Remark wine yet, you owe it to yourself to try one if you can find it. Joel and Marilyn make some fantastic wines...and if you can splurge for the Grenache, do it! Or come visit us and we'll take you to the tasting room just around the corner from us.

Now that I got the free plug for the local winery out of the way, its time to get down to business. Another Thursday here, another night to pour something yummy and make those weekend plans. I haven't gotten to write a TT for a couple of weeks, but now that all my bike racing is out of the way for awhile, I have a little more time to write bloggies and a lot more time for weekend adventures of the non-pedal-powered variety.

This weekend Welliver Photography is headed to the Eastern Sierra! I've been there a few times but Terry's only been there for a few hours...miserable and expensive hours at that. The plan for the weekend is "there is no plan!" We got a cabana for the Honda Element so we can throw down the therm-a-rests and sleeping bags and cuddle up with Massey in the back of the car to sleep. We'll drive around searching for good stuff during the day. Should be fun.

I remember my first time in the Sierra. I headed out of Tuolumne Meadows in Yosemite for 4 days of solo backpacking. Having grown up with family vacations to Colorado followed by 5 years of living in Colorado Springs, I've always had a thing for the Rockies. But that first time I went to the Sierra blew me away. After those 4 days, I was hooked. The mountains are gorgeous, the alpenglow and twilight colors are phenomenal, the clouds are fantastic. I fully embrace any opportunity I can to get there, and I can't wait to share some sights with T.

Like I said, there is no plan. I pulled a few of my favorites from my visit there last fall. So many things we could check out this weekend...Bodie, Mono Lake, the June Lake Loop, Buttermilk Valley, Bristlecone Pines, Owens Valley, Alabama Hills, countless sub-alpine lakes, canyons, aspen stands...the choices are endless. I think we'll be tired on Monday evening!

 

 

 

 

Thirsty Thursday: Snow Yosemite

Rambler: Beth Drink at Hand: 2008 Yosemite View Chardonnay...well that worked out rather fortuitously!

The last 2 weeks have been anything but "springlike" around California. Here on the coast we've had some serious rain and a some wind to go along with it, while the Sierra is getting pounded with storm after storm, each dumping feet of snow up there. This week has been so bad in the high country that all the roads to Yosemite are closed from snow, ice, flooding, rockslides, downed trees/power lines, or a combination there of (though I just heard that the main highways will be open again tomorrow). All this talk of a snowy Yosemite Valley made us think back to our own snow-venture we had up there back in 2008. Terry's parents came out to visit for Christmas, and on Christmas day we headed up to the national park, dragging a lovely winter storm along with us that dumped roughly 18" of snow over the course of 2 days.

The great thing about visiting Yosemite in a snow storm on Christmas is that you pretty much have the place to yourself. Unfortunately all the snow made a lot of spots inaccessible, but we were still treated to some fantastic scenery. We all wished we had snowshoes to get off the roads and out of the parking lots for a bit, but it was still beautiful. The snow stuck on the trees for the duration of the three days we were there, which accordingly to locals, is a rarity...it normally falls off or blows off as soon as the sun comes out. Blue skies and snowy trees...doesn't get much better. Enjoy this mix of photos from both of us.

Our first hike shortly after arrival (and chaining up!)

See how hard its snowing?!

Trees and snow...made for black and white.

This is one of my favorite shots ever. Deer butts!!!

It was so cold that Bridal Veil Falls was just barely flowing.

But the Merced River still had plenty of water running.

The next day the sun came out and made everything spectacular. Terry was on fire capturing some dramatic light throughout the Valley.

Two photographers = two perspectives on the same subject.

Clearing storm.

Unfortunately we won't be making it to Yosemite any time soon. I can only imagine how incredible the park must look with all that fresh snow. Perhaps next winter. And next time we are taking snow shoes!!