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Dardanelles Lake

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

Dardanelles Lake, Friday, July 21, 2006

Greetings from the Red Leader,

First Backpack Trip - Friday, July 21, 2006

A wise man (Murphy) once said "If something can go wrong, it will." I had planned to take Friday the 21st off and get my food ready for our first backpack trip. Thursday evening I got a call from my only client. Our submittal date was moved from Monday the 24th to Friday the 21st. Instead of getting to bed early I stayed up and assembled my food. On Friday I was in the office by 5:30 and pounding away on my computer to get everything done by 10:00, when I would have leave to pick up Susan and get to McD's in Cordelia.


Then, Friday morning, I got a call from Gigi Henderson. She had Alexander, Ellen Chang and Clara Xue in her van, and was on the way to pick up David Skov, when the van died. She didn't have David's phone number and asked me to alert him. Meantime she had called AAA, using Ellen's card, and was waiting for a tow. She was going to get back to her house where they would all pile into her Prius. I called David's house but his wife was already driving him to his designated meeting place. David doesn't have a cell phone and his answering machine was turned off. I thought I might drive over and get him myself but Lupe Perez and Carlos, with Jenine Wilson, were cellphonelessly on their way to Cordelia with no way of knowing our predicament. I flipped the proverbial coin and Susan and I headed to Cordelia.


Lupe and I caravanned through Sacramento, Placerville, and Pollock Pines, arriving in time to get our Campfire Permits and continued on to South Lake Tahoe. We had agreed to meet Gigi at a shopping center at the "Y" and the girls headed off to shop while we waited. Gigi and company finally arrived and we headed to Harvey's Casino for dinner. We stuffed ourselves at the seafood buffet, stopped for ice and headed south on Highway 89 to the Big Meadow trailhead parking lot where we were to bivouac for the night. Dave was not there and we wondered if Murphy had struck again.
We had just missed a thunder storm on the way up the mountain and another had passed through while we were at dinner. The rain had left everything soggy and we set up camp in the damp dusk while the mosquitoes entertained us with their antics. The temperatures were mild and we spent a humid night.  


Saturday morning dawned clear and bright. We slapped on Deet and gathered in the parking lot to eat our breakfasts, before packing up and heading south up the Big Meadow Trail on our way to Dardanelles Lake. The trail begins at an elevation of 7200' and climbs 320' to Big Meadow. Then it continues up another 560', to crest the ridge at 8080'. There the trail switchbacks down 280', to the Meiss Meadow trail. We turned north on the Meiss Meadow Trail, to the Dardanelles Lake Trail, then headed west 1.2 miles to the lake. The climb was warm and we stopped often to huff-n-puff. On the Dardanelles trail we had to ford 3 streams and observed the various crossing styles: Rock Hopping, Tip Toeing, or slogging on through.

We had been passed by many backpackers on their way to the Lake and decided to take an easy spot near the east side of the lake. We were perched on a granite bench with great views of the lake and the snow fields on the Pacific Crest ridge looming above us to the west. There was a nice breeze blowing and we cooled down as we set up camp. Soon people were swimming in the surprisingly warm lake, lazing in the shade or napping. I took a nap and then pumped water before dinner. Later, as the sun was getting low, we gathered to prepare our evening meal. As the sun set the mosquitoes appeared and we slathered on the Deet. The sunset was spectacular with towering clouds in the west. We cleaned up our dinner dishes and, at dusk, retired for the night.


The sky was clear for most of the night but Sunday dawned to overcast skies and, with the possibility of rain, we hurried through breakfast. We were on the trail by 8:30 and, re-crossing the Dardanelles Lake Trail streams, we were soon on our way north, down the Meiss Meadow Trail, to my car and cold drinks from the cooler. Gigi and Lupe piled into my car and I drove them back to the Big Meadow Trailhead parking lot to pick up their cars before we packed up and headed down Highway 50 for lunch at the Strawberry Inn. Our server there had flunked the Southwest Airline School of Comedy but the food was delicious. After lunch most everyone moved to the ice-cream parlor, on the front porch, for dessert. Then we piled into our various cars and headed for home.


Susan drove while I slept until we stopped at the Folsom REI to pick up a cleaning kit for my new water bladder. It was 112°. Back on the road, Susan noted that the temperature was 116° in West Sacramento. When I got back to Petaluma the temperature was down to the mid 80's. It was only 97° in my house.


Dave never did catch up with us. I talked to him after we got back. It seems that he got to Cordelia after we had left and he decided to stop for a bite. When returning to his car, he noticed a puddle of oil under his car and made the wise choice to return home.

Red Leader out

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