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Lake Winifred

Page history last edited by lmckeega@... 10 years, 11 months ago

July 22, 2005, Lake Winifred

Greetings from the


Red Leader,


The main reason we didn't get much response to the RSVP for our first backpack trip was that only two people showed up. Donn, Inge, Susan and I were joined by '05er Travis Swafford and Sherrie Keenan (04). Gigi Henderson had planned to go and had offered her van to carpool. Unfortunately Gigi had to opt out at the last minute.

Our rendezvous was at McDonald's in Cordelia. We scored some Golden Starches, and made a quick Starbuck stop before heading off to Sherrie's, in Vacaville. Travis had offered to drive and Sherrie left her truck at home. Then it was off to West Sacramento and our first potty stop.

The Sacramento traffic wasn't too bad and air-conditioning made the 105° outside temperature a non-issue. By the time we got to Cameron Park traffic was beginning thicken and I envisioned being stuck in a three mile long backup at the traffic lights through Placerville. I thought I'd out flank them and took Cameron Park Drive north to Green Valley Road. We were soon on our way east on Green Valley Road only to run into a paving project just east of Rescue. After working our way through Placerville we continued east on Hwy 50, past Pollock Pines and on to the El Dorado National Forest Visitor Center near Fresh Pond. In keeping with the "War on Terror" the Visitor Center now closes at 4:30 instead of 6:00 pm. I thought I'd spied a fire engine just as we'd exited the highway and we backtracked to the fire station. The fireman was very helpful. He couldn't find the book of Campfire permits and had to go find the key to the Visitor Center and get a fresh pad. Soon we were on our way back up the hill to Pollock Pines to meet Donn and Inge for a fine Mexican dinner.

After dinner we headed east on Hwy 50 towards Crystal Basin Road, and our bivouac at Camp Armageddon. We were about a mile down the road when Susan asked if we were going to stop at Safeway. We were riding drag and made a quick U turn and returned to Pollock Pines. We finished our shopping and were almost to C.A. when Donn's Beemer came along. Inge had been worried we were lost and Donn was in Search and Rescue mode. We spoke of Safeway and drove on to the "All New" Camp Armageddon. The old one had become overgrown with noxious weeds and Donn had discovered a new place to make our temporary camp. It is on the left, about a tenth of a mile beyond the old barn. There's an open space that's dirt and gravel and surrounded with twenty foot tall trees planted in the old burn area. We slathered on the Deet and set up tents. As the sky darkened we watched Night Hawks zooming about catching bugs. Off to the north we heard the occasional bear. In the morning we ate, packed up and drove to the trail head at Loon Lake. We were on the trail by 9:30.

As you are well aware the weather has been warm. It was warm at Loon Lake. By the time we got to the Pleasant Camp Trail it was bordering on hot. It was another two miles to Lake Winifred and uphill and no shade. Shady Pleasant Camp, and swimming in cool Loon Lake, were discussed. Travis said he had been looking forward to something more remote than Pleasant Camp, so off we went. We got to Lake Winifred in good time and I was surprised to find it in better condition than I'd remembered. There hardly and foot prints and only a few ducks. I did see a few "Sierra Daisies" blooming in the bushes, but fewer than I remember from my last visit in '99. One sad thing though. The "Bear Tree" has fallen in the lake. There'll be no more bear bagging at Lake Winifred. We set up tents and pumped water. Whooping and splashing were heard, as swimmers played in the lake. I took a nap. And then it was time for dinner.

We gathered at the cooking rock and were entertained by Sherrie and her exploding stove. It happened that the fuel hose somehow developed a leak and caught fire, melting a hole in the hose. Sherrie maintained her cool and was able to turn off the fuel before we had a true disaster. Stove safety is a serious matter. 

While watching Sherrie deal with her flaming stove I realized the importance of the stove-fuel tank-wind direction relationship. We already know that one should never lean over a lit stove; or lean over the stove to reach the controls. Sherrie's exercise demonstrated that the fuel tank/valve should always be placed up wind of the stove. That way one might not have to reach through the flames to shut off the fuel. The silver lining of the melted stove cloud is that REI gave Sherrie her money back and she's shopping for a new stove. I suggested a Whisperlite. They're cheaper; and the melted stove was very loud.

The rest of our dinner was pleasantly uneventful. Some had brought food to share. I didn't get many takers for my smoked oysters but Sherrie prepared Raspberry Crumble and it was enjoyed by one and all. It was a balmy evening and the mosquitoes were not too obnoxious but it had been a hot hike so we retired fairly early. We spent a restful night, except for the Horned Owls that kept some folks awake with their hooting.


We arose at 6:00 and, after breakfast, packed up for the hike back. The weather was still hot and we took three and a half hours to make it back to the parking lot. Then it was off to Pollock Pines, and the Burger Shack, for lunch. It was a lovely trip and we're sorry more of you couldn't join us.

Red Leader out



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