"The finest of the glacier meadow gardens lie at an elevation of about nine thousand feet, imbedded in the upper pine forests like lakes of light."
Hombres de Montana:
El Lobo Grande
“Its the road, not the inn”
Our “road trip” started at four in the morning on September 3 and ended at two in the morning September 14. The weather was warm, the journey long and scenery spectacular. The junk food was terrific.
Highlights of this trip include:
-Slamming down Pale Ales at the Brew Pub at Crystal Bay
-Four and ½ days of backpacking The Tahoe Rim Trail (80 miles, 24,000 feet of elevation gain/loss) and taking in breath taking views of ---- Genoa Valley, The Upper Truckee River, Emerald Bay and the pristine alpine lakes----Star, Round, Shadow, Echoes, Tamarack, Aloha, Heather, Susie, Gillmore, Half Moon, Dicks, Fontanillis, Velmas and Eagle.
-Taking a “water taxi” on Echo Lakes.
-A magnificent sunset accompanied by coyote howls and turkey gobbles at Gilmore Lake in the Desolation Wilderness.
-Visiting friends and relatives
- Two cases of Sierra Nevada's at Ganskas
-Listening to 30 minute “River Runs” on the 60s and 70s station
-Picon Punches and Tequila chasers at Louie's Basque Corner
-Wolfpack Football Game with the Damons---------Wolf!!!
-Jim Boys Tacos-The greasiest and best in the world
-Poker night at Ganskas--Texas Hold’em
-Slamming down Pale Ales in the Brew Pub at the El Dorado
-Bucket of Blood Saloon in Virginia City-Whiskey!!!!
-Berlin Ichthyosaur State Park-fossils and turn of the 20th century ghost town
The Endless Trail-Paradise found
Early on a Sunday morning we took a cab from the Levy's condo in Incline Village to Spooner Summit. The previous day had been spent taking care of business-checking in with my Realtor and property manager and caching some food and water at Big Meadow. Now it was time to hike.
The cab driver had trouble lifting our packs out of the trunk and was amazed that we were actually going to carry them for 80 miles. Yes, our packs were heavy, but we were eager to get on the trail so we bid him farewell and started climbing.
Four and ½ days later, half of the Tahoe Rim Trail completed, we hiked down to Emerald Bay and were picked up by Zo’s friend Ralph Ganska. This was an epoch journey –unsurpassed beauty, serenity and sore feet. The feet have recovered, the fatigue is almost gone and soul remains charged.
Day 1-Spooner to Daggett Pass-20 miles
Fantastic views of Lake Tahoe and Genoa Valley. The 3.5mile residential up and down “walk” from Kingsbury N. to Kingsbury S. should be avoided at all cost – take a taxi
Day 2-Daggett Pass to Grass Lake-19 miles
Star Lake is a refreshing swimming/bathing spot. The hike up to Armstrong Pass is up and up and up. Great views of where you've been.
Day 3-Grass Lake to Benwood Meadow-17 miles
Second most scenic section of the trip and the hardest hiking. Much of the trail is above 9,000 feet and offers amazing views of valleys and alpine meadows above treeline. Shadows Lake surrounded by these colorful alpine meadows cant be beat.
Day 4-Benwood Meadow to Gillmore Lake-15 miles
Desolation Wilderness with its (relatively) sparse tree groupings surrounded by bare rock and chains of lakes is what its all about. Lake Aloha is like an alien landscape.
Day 5-Gilmore Lake to Emerald Bay -9 miles
Standing atop Dick’s Pass and looking down at Dick’s Lake, Fontanillis and the Velmas’ is as good as it gets. All downhill to Emerald Bay from here.
Men Behaving Badly:
Robert Levy for cocktailing with the boys Friday evening, feeling no pain and getting in big trouble with his wife.
Lorenzo for constantly complaining on the trail and accusing El Lobo of enjoying his misery.
Lobo for laughing hysterically at Lorenzo’s misery and pain.
Lorenzo for carrying three pounds of rain gear and a liter of Vodka. Maybe he thought he was in Florida?
Lobo for trying to melt his stove’s aluminum base plate instead of heating the water. The flame should point up, not down Lobo.
Lorenzo for needing anger management counseling –Famous trail quotes:
“F*%K the views, get me to a camp spot”!!!!
“F&^K the birds”!!!!! (after Lobo stopped and said “listen, the birds are chirping”)
“I can’t take another day of this”!!!!
“Perhaps we should stop at Echo Lodge where you can rest, your toe may get Infected”—Lobo-“shutup, and keep hiking Lorenzo”
Hannu for letting a near lethal brown recluse spider bite and knee surgery keep him from the trip. C’mon Hannu, what kind of excuses are those?
A Bear that broke into Echo Lake Lodge.
Tim Hauserman, author of The Tahoe Rim Trail Book for his poor trail interpretation and Kingsbury trail connection. If you want to know how to effectively trek and navigate this trail, call El Lobo Grande. (guia famosa)
El Lobo at Aloha Lake for not jumping in and enjoying his own stench.
El Lobo at the end of the trip in the Vikingsholm parking lot, lying on the ground crying out “water, water, water” until a kindly Sr. citizen gave him an ice cold Crystal Geyser.
Wally Corey for asking the hostess at the Western Village to marry him.
Ralph Ganska for taking us to the Wild Orchid where El Lobo fell asleep and was abruptly awakened by a wild thing that jumped into his lap from a pole.
Lorenzo and Ganska for drinking beer and watching football for fourteen straight hours.
Good-bye Yellow Brick Road
OK that's it, the end of another great adventure and the close of the El Lobo Grande 2004 Tour of Americas. It is now time to get back to work. Thanks to Lorenzo for his companionship and road warrior driving.
Thanks to Ralph Ganska, The Levys, The Damons and The Coreys for their hospitality and the time we shared.