The Desolation Wilderness

Following whispers and rumors about free campsites on peninsulas way back in Eldorado National Forest, Rosa and I took off for the Sierras.  West of South Lake Tahoe, we entered the Eldorado National Forest, and wound our way back deep into the forested mountains in search of a hideaway campground called Camino Cove.  A helpful 84-year-old woman and her husband warned us off, telling us of gun-shooters and wild timers who might run us out, but then she squinted her eyes at me, and said, “How’d you hear about Camino Cove?”

Ten thousand potholes later, through ten miles of winding, crappy roads, across a dam, and down a dirt road that looked more like a river bed, we found the rumored campground.

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A choice spot on the banks of a lake with sand beaches and fun-lovers and kids who should probably be in juvenile delinquent programs–all around perfecto.  You could get away with just about anything back there, and people do.

The next day, we ventured into Desolation Wilderness after a huge, cascading waterfalls.  You need a permit in case you die.  It was a rough trail, and I probably broke my finger–a story not worth telling, but a falls and river worth seeing:

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And tree graffiti with a sign about why you shouldn’t graffiti trees:

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A good friend, Barry Horwitz, once lost a backpack in Desolation Wilderness–set it by a tree and thought he’d be able to visually identify that tree.  I told him we’d look for it.  The problem is, on those rock-flat plains with those trails that stop and seem to magically restart, everything looks kind of familiar.  And then again, everything looks kind of foreign too.

At night, Camino Cove is a perfect combination of peace and chaos, deep quiet, dark black, big stars, loud screams, laughter, music, and fire, fire, fire.

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The next day, deeper into the woods for a mountain bike ride/hike on rocky single track, through mountains, rivers, and equestrian excreta.

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You know, adventure counts.  It always pays off somehow.  I mean, what  are you going to do, not have fun?

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