You Bet Your Aspen!

October 12, 2020

It started with the realization that it’s aspen-turning season and I’ve missed going up to Tahoe to see it for years and years in a row. I chatted with a Mishka’s friend the other day who’d been up to Luther Pass/Hope Valley area the day before and said it was its usual spectacular. I came home and pitched the idea to Jim. He said, ok. So we went up today.

We decided to add a hike in because… you know… it’s the Sierra, and we don’t get up there enough, certainly not this year. So Jim picked a hike in the Carson Pass area… two birds, one seed. Win win.

First, the aspen. They did not disappoint:

And yeah, it was an insanely gorgeous day: brilliant sunshine, no clouds, no smoke, 70 degrees.

This was definitely a fall hike…. shrubs were dry, brittle, browning. Leaves were yellowing. Flowers were shriveled. Water was low. Air was dry.

Here are shots:

Started at Carson Pass trailhead (8974′). This is early in the hike, on the way up, just beyond the point at which you emerge from the first mile of shaded forest and start to get into some clearing. Frog Lake and Elephants Back will come into view to the east (left) soon.

Lake Winnemuca (8980′). About 2.5 miles from the trailhead. Lovely.

Still in Lake Winnemucca area, but soon we’ll start to gain elevation. Until Winnemucca, the trail’s very gentle…. 400′ gain to this point.

After a pretty steady climb out of Lake Winnemucca–another 400′ of gain–we reach Round Top Lake (9,364′) which is emerald green. We’re going to turn left and head UP.

In a little over half a mile, we’ll climb 800′. That’s steep. This is climbing just below the saddle between Round Top and The Sisters.

This is looking down on the saddle between the top of the East Sister (10, 153) and Round Top (10,381). Jim and I climbed Round Top about 25 years ago. I stopped for some exposure reason, I believe, just shy of the peak!). Round Top Lake is off to the left in this picture.

Here’s a view of Round Top Lake from the top of the East Sister, with Caples Lake in the distance. This is looking North, and that is Lake Tahoe in the far distance in right of shot. Carson Pass — where we started — is on the far edge of that forested area, on right edge of photo, about 4 miles away.

Here is a view of the West Sister, and a guy on top. He came upon us as we ate lunch on top of East Sister, and we watched him drop down and then ascend. He’s about 150′ in elevation below us.

Here’s Jim at the top, eating lunch,

Here’s me, with Round Top in background.

Here’s the register and what I wrote:

And a few shots of the descent back to the trailhead. We left the top at 4:00.. so got some lovely late afternoon sun and long shadows:

Here’s a map that was at the trailhead….

And that was that. Started at 12:30, got back to car at 5:45. Great day. As we drove south on 88, past Caple’s Lake, I got a view of Round Top and the Sisters.. a bit blurry…