Eldorado National Forest - Velma Lake - July 19, 1998 - Member Trip Report

Hike Name: Eldorado National Forest - Velma Lake
Country: United States
State: California
Trip Rating: 4 stars
Trip Date: July 19, 1998
Duration: 2 days
Trail Conditions: Fair to Good
Trail Traffic: Moderate
Trip Weather: Sunny
Trip Winds: Light
Trip Precipitation: None
Trip Temperature: High: 51-60, Low: 81-90 degrees Fahrenheit
Trip Report: 7/19/98: The Ox and I got a wilderness permit for $10 at the Lake Tahoe visitors center by 9am. Then we cruised back to town to get a fishing license since we heard that a ranger was on patrol in the area. Made it to a very busy trailhead by 10:30am. It was tourist central, largely because it was the weekend (Sunday). To find a parking spot, we had to leave the car on CA 89 and parallel park. I unearthed my Walkman for the hike to Upper Velma Lake since so many day hikers were on the trail (and I also needed the boost to climb from 6500’ to 8200’ feet today. The tunes worked like a charm.) Passed day hikers the entire way – and there were many. Made it to Upper Velma Lake by about 2pm and dropped my pack. The Ox and I had Upper Velma to ourselves despite the crowds on the trail. Only a handful made it this far.

Took a quick dip in the lake as it was 80 degrees during the hike and we were hot. The water temps were chilly – 51 degrees – so we did not stay in long. (The Ox took the water temp again on Monday morning, and it was down to 44 degrees then so not ideal for trout fishing.)

The Ox went fishing while I followed a waterfall/stream up a mostly barren hillside to Fontaillis Lake and the PCT. It still had ice on it in small patches. Snow also surrounded the lake. Decided to loop back to the campsite via Middle Velma along the PCT after a father and son gave me a look at their map. They had camped the previous night in the snow near the lake. Patchy snow made it difficult to find the trail and my way to Middle Velma. Made it back to the camp by late afternoon and The Ox and I pitched the tent and fished until sunset. Had one trout hooked, but lost it. Cooked up dinner with many moseys hovering around us until 9pm Then they all disappeared. I guess the temperature got too cool for them. There were many stars in the sky tonight, so we slept with the fly off the tent.

7/20/98: Woke up in a pool of water this morning. Both my Thermarest and Sleeping Bag were soaked on the bottom from snow run-off that settled in our campsite. We got up at 8:30am and hiked out within an hour. The trail climbed to Fontaillis Lake, then Dicks Lake. Dicks was still mostly iced over and the snow made the trail difficult to find again today. Made it back to the Eagle Falls trailhead by noon with many day hikers at the lower elevations of the trail.


The Ox

5,750 points



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