Desolation Wilderness near Kyburz, CA
Check this one off the list..............and done. This was Charene's third trek up Pyramid and my first. For the last year I've been hearing horror stories about this peak and Charene was not too excited about running up those shifty, shaky rocks once again............ but she accompanied me and we bagged it. It wasn't as bad as I was led to believe. Maybe it was the company that made it better than I've heard. Or maybe it was finding the actual trail right off of 50 and making a direct run up to the peak. Either way, it was a great day.
At about .9 miles East of the Strawberry Lodge, you come to the Chain on Area on Hwy 50. This is the parking area to access the trailhead.
Grab your gear and head down Hwy 50 until you pass the little tombstone mile marker and get to the Hwy marker 59
Directly across from this marker, is the trail. You can almost see it coming up from Highway 50. Check both ways, cars are moving fast here and dash across the Hwy.
Coordinates to the trailhead.
It doesn't look like much, but this is it...
After you climb up the side of the Highway, the trail starts to appear.
Then you can quickly see that this is it!
Up we go. Let the calf burn begin!
And up we go and go and go...
The first mile is a burner.
Watch out for spiders...
The lower section of this hike is one of the prettiest we've been on.
Our record breaking drought the last few years followed by record breaking snowfall this winter brought down a lot of trees. There were quite a few of them across the trail. I always find it interesting the amount of huge rocks that are stuck in the roots. "Rock on!"
Ferns and Aspen. Gorgeous
I was a bit worried about the water crossing since so much water is coming down out of the mountains, but this was easily passable.
Time for a quick snack.
After the first mile grinder, the middle portion levels out and is a visual stunner.
About 3 miles up, these Cairns definitely come in handy.
Some of these areas would be hard to spot without the cairns. You can also see those clouds popping up over the ridge. Let's hope they stay away from our peak.
More fallen trees across the trail.
Time for lunch! Not a bad view to enjoy our turkey wraps, doritos and a fresh peach. YUM!
There were quite a few trees that had grown around boulders. I'm sure this is why they come crashing down still cradled around monstrous rocks.
The trail with cairns leading the way. You can see them on the large boulders.
View Ranger app showing up Pyramid Peak is up ahead...
We are headed up there!
Up ahead was the last remnants of this seasons monstrous snowpack. There was only one brief section where you hike on snow and it was only a few meters long.
About a mile from the peak the terrain begins to change.
Breaking through the trees is the peak..............looks easy peasy.
And so it begins.... The rock scramble. It covers the last 500+ feet of this climb. It's by far the hardest part of this hike. I like to have my feet planted solidly on the ground and these huge rocks are not solid. They rock and move under you.
A little perspective...
And they seem to go on and on and on and on.....
But the higher you climb, the better the views become.
You walk over large areas and try not to look down. It's a deep dark black hole down there.
Sometimes long legs come in handy when climbing over huge boulders.
All 4 points required on this one.
And then finally... the peak is in view.
That tiny cairn to the left of the peak. That's it!!! We are almost there!
The official marker. Placed here in 1940. Some peaks have the elevation stamped on them. This one only says Pyramid 1940. USGS says this peak is officially 9,984 above sea level.
Standing on the peak looking towards the North. View Ranger app.
Cache box and peak log. Chris made an entry into the log and I left an offering to the weather gods for good weather for our trip down. (Pennies from heaven that I find while running become offerings to the weather gods). Mother Nature listened and the dark, tumultuous clouds that were offering lightning strikes and playing natures orchestra (thunder) all the way down stayed to the south of us.
The box needed just one more sticker...
Nothing better than views from atop the mountain top.
It's raining off to East. Good thing I made the offering to the weather gods.
There were a total of 4 windbreaks at the peak. It was a pretty calm day for us today, but always windy at the peak. I can imagine that on a windy day, standing may become an issue. These would probably come in quite handy.
Making that peak just a tiny bit taller...
And the journey begins again....
Time to get down. It's almost as hard as the climb up... almost. It does go a little faster, but foot placement and hand holds are still a concern. It's also a killer on the knees.
Left, keep going left... We came down a different way than we went up. We need to head further east to meet back up with our trail.
No need to hike on this snow patch because you can walk paralleling it to the left...........but I wanted to slip and slide a bit.
Snowmelt is continuing to create these lovely little streams.
There were only a few little snow fields left on the mountain. We were able to skirt around this one.
And with lots of running water and sunshine, comes lots of pretty mountain flowers...
And a happy face in the snow...
The trail continues to just head straight back down towards 50. You don't really notice how incredibly steep the trail is in that first mile until you are going back down. It's steep!
Lovers leap was all aglow at this time of the afternoon.
Just over 8 miles. Straight up and straight down. Except for the little loop we made at the peak. We came down the rock field a different way than we went up... We quickly consulted our tracks and were back on-on (on trail) and heading back down.
It appears that we hiked a mountain today...
We got out of the car to have dinner and this is the state of our ankles... Can we go to dinner looking like dirty hobos? YEP!! We decided we both needed a burger and we went to Bricks on Main Street in Placerville. It was packed and we marched right in, dirt rings and all. (I then took a quick shower in the sink in the ladies room) ;-)
We each ordered burgers and fries.
Chris had the Darcy Burger
BLEU CHEESE, BACON, FRIED ONIONS, AVOCADO, HOT & SPICY SAUCE ON A BRIOCHE ROLL
and I had the Figaro -
FIG MARMALADE, GOAT CHEESE, BACON, SPRING MIX, TOMATO, ONION, SPICY MUSTARD ON A BRIOCHE ROLL
OMG. Delicious! And those sweet potato fries..... Amazing!!
Now that's a way to end a fantastic day of hiking. We would definitely do it all again. Well, maybe not Pyramid, but standing atop a big mountain and finishing with a delicious meal. YES!