Thursday, June 11, 2009

Eagle Lake

Oh my goodness, did we find us a hike for today.  This 6.5 mile loop was listed on and was spectacular as far as views go.  The hike was a little difficult with a 1500 foot elevation gain.  Backpacker gave it a rating of 5 out of 10.  I guess that is a fair rating.  Trail builders had installed rock steps for much of the first couple miles because it was so steep.  The steps certainly made it an easier climb.
Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay
The first mile was along Eagle Creek which fell as a rushing torrent due to the recent rains and snow melt.  Our trail started above the lower falls so we didn’t get a view of that, but the upper falls was pretty special all by itself.  At the end of the first mile, we were rewarded with the tranquility of Eagle Lake.  It was the perfect spot for a short break.
Eagle Lake
Water rushing out of the lake destined for the Falls
Back on the trail and the relentless uphill climb for the next hour and a half.  Before reaching the top we got into snow.  However, the trail was mostly clear.  After about 4 miles we came to our trail junction.  We stopped for lunch here before turning onto Bayview Trail and heading down the mountain.

The area around the top was relatively flat, a welcome relief from the steady climb.  It didn’t last nearly long enough; we soon came to the very steep downhill run.  But first came the snow field--one that I was too afraid to cross.  Gene is braver than I and forged on across.  I picked my way first up hill from the snow, holding onto rocks and trees then down hill from the snow.  There was only one time when I almost cried.  In the meantime, it started to sleet.  After about 30 minutes to cover maybe 100 feet, we were  clear of the snow and on dry ground again.
Upper falls of Eagle Creek
The downhill was very steep, but it offered fabulous views of Lake Tahoe and Emerald Bay.
Our lunch spot
Though more difficult than the others, we are calling this one of our favorite hikes in the area.

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