Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Floating Island and Cathedral Lakes

With a forecast of afternoon thunderstorms, we got out early this morning for our hike.  We took US 50 again over to South Lake Tahoe and up a Forest Service road to our trailhead.  If we are going east or west, US 50 is the way to get there from here.  For most of our hikes, we head west either stopping at Spooner Summit after 10 miles or driving another 10 miles down the other side of the mountain to South Lake Tahoe.  No matter how far we go on US 50, it is a beautiful drive with magnificent views of the mountains and Lake Tahoe.
Mt Tallac

Today’s hike started near the end of Fallen Leaf Lake.  There is a stretch of land maybe 5 miles wide between the south end of Lake Tahoe and the north end of Fallen Leaf.  After about a half mile into our hike we were high enough on the ridge to have great views of both lakes on our left.  Rising more than 2000 feet above us on the right was Mt. Tallac.  We always find the views spectacular, but today they were less dramatic.  The day started out with fog which kept some of the mountain from view.
Fallen Lake

Hedge mustard
This 4.2 mile round trip hike was a bit harder than the previous hikes in the area.  The trail was pretty steep in places and very rocky.  We got a good cardiovascular workout today.  Above Floating Island Lake we got into snow and a lot of snow melt runoff was taking the easy way down the mountain--right over the trail.  We also had two stream crossings without benefit of foot bridge.  It is wilderness, after all.
Floating Island Lake; no island I could see

Pop Tart man
Even though the rain was supposed to hold off until afternoon (according to our local forecast), we noticed storm clouds building while we were still at the trialhead before 9 AM.  We got sprinkles before reaching Cathedral Lake and heard the rumbling of thunder all the way down the mountain.  We got to the truck only about 15 minutes before the clouds opened up and we had some real rain for about 2 hours.
Cathedral Lake
We stopped in South Lake Tahoe for a hamburger at Snow Flake Drive In.  The Snow Flake and In and Out Burger will have their own story, so I won’t go into that experience just yet.

With a basket full of wet hiking clothes again, it looks like tomorrow will be a laundry day. I’ll probably be too stiff to get out of bed since I fell down today.

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