maude lake

This weekend I went backpacking with some old friends from my previous job at CalPERS. We went to the Desolation Wilderness, specifically to Maude Lake with a day trip out to Rockbound Pass. When we arrived at the trailhead we met a ranger, and asked him what he thought of Maude Lake. He said it’s not a great place to camp, kind of muddy, not very nice. So from the start I was readying myself for disappointment.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe trail starts on the southwestern side of the Desolation Wilderness near Wright’s Lake. It starts out in a pretty thickly forested area.

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But it quickly climbs into the rocky near barrenness that I remember from previous trips into the Desolation Wilderness.

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Our first glimpse of Maude Lake. We made it there pretty quickly. It does look a bit muddy, but not nearly as bad as the ranger had described it.

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We dropped off our gear and then headed up towards Rockbound Pass.

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Rockbound pass. It was quite rocky. I’d say rockbound is an apt description.

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Rockbound pass is at 8560′ of elevation. I think it’s the highest I’ve hiked so far this year. Yeah, I’ve been kinda lazy this year…

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Near the top of the pass there’s a couple of small lakes where we rested for a bit, cooled off our feet, and filtered some water before heading back to our home for the night at Maude Lake.

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I had brought a hammock to sleep in, but decided to just sleep on the rocks by the lake instead.

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The sunset reflecting off the lake was quite beautiful.

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The stars were incredibly bright at night, and I got to sleep underneath the big dipper.

The ranger we met before we started hiking made it sound like staying at Maude Lake was a bad idea. But our short weekend trip to Maude Lake was actually quite pleasant. Sure there are plenty of more beautiful places to backpack to in California, and the Desolation Wilderness alone has tons of incredible lakes to camp at, but all things considered, Maude Lake’s not a bad option too.

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