Velma Lakes trip

This past weekend we headed out for a tune-up backpacking trip to Desolation Wilderness.  The destination was Middle Velma lake.  The purpose was (other than the obvious R&R) to test out the new tent and pack for the pending Mt. Whitney trip.  I selected the route to be a fitness-check on a semi-representative Whitney elevation gain and distance.
Thursday   Left town mid-afternoon for South Lake Tahoe.  Starting about Sacramento the smoke from the 100’s of California wildfires was unbelievable.  It was like driving through a thick fog with limited visibility.   Once in South Lake I was pretty bummed – one of the reasons to visit Desolation Wilderness is the gorgeous views and it looked like that was shot.  Stayed at the Inn by the Lake.  Not the best, not the worst.  Would stay there again when looking for something cheaper than the Casinos.  Had a quick dinner and walked around a bit.   Nephew enjoyed the idea of standing on the California/Nevada state line.
Friday   Woke up and almost all the smoke was gone.  Whoo-hooo!  Big breakfast at the Red Hut Cafe and off to the Eagle Falls Trailhead.  Hit the trail about 10am.  This hike starts with about 2000 ft of elevation gain in just over 2 miles.  Everyone did great – especially my nephew who was a real trooper for the entire hike.  Arrived at Middle Velma mid-afternoon tired and hungry.  Mosquitoes arrived promptly at dusk and required full bug-hats and liberal applications of Deet.
Saturday  Fishing in the morning.  No luck.  LLW and I did a day hike in the afternoon to Fontanillis lake and on towards Dicks Pass.  Very pretty and a fun stream crossing that had Laura a bit nervous.  Back to camp to relax, eat, play "I spy" with the nephew, and battle mosquitoes.  A good day.
Sunday  A relaxing breakfast and packed up camp.  We made good time since there was only about 500 ft of elevation gain going back.  It helped that the nephew had his heart set on lunch at Red Hut again.  They close at 2pm, so there was motivation to make it back to the car in time.  Everyone did well, but certainly tired.  Two days of climbing and hiking took it out of my legs.  Made it to Red Hut in time and then an uneventful drive home – back in time for dinner.
A good trip and I think LLW will be willing to do more backpacking as long we do plenty of motorhome time as well.