Peak 8,089ft P300
Lovers Leap

Tue, Jul 12, 2022
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This was the last day of father-daughter adventuring in the Lake Tahoe area. Unfortunately, daughter decided not to play today. She was still tired when we pulled into Camp Sacramento at 6:30a, and suffering from blisters accumulated over the past three days. Though it was to be the easiest of the four days, she was done and tapped out. Today's outing was a four mile loop taking in Lover's Leap off US50 and the higher Peak 8,089ft above it to the southeast. There is a small trailhead just south of the bridge over the South Fork American River, that holds 3-4 cars. Ours was the only one when we pulled in. The Lovers Leap Trail runs west from Camp Sacramento to the top of Lovers Leap in about 1.3mi, and it was this I intended to start on when I headed out.

I walked through the camp, all quiet, and not a soul stirring about, sort of eerie because it was evident the camp was currently in use. I tried to find the start of the trail at the west end of the camp, but I somehow missed it as I started up the hill. I then decided to do the loop in the opposite direction, figuring I'd find the trail once I got to Lovers Leap later. The entire area had been part of the massive Caldor Fire the previous summer and it had burned quite intensely in these parts - outside the camp, very few trees managed to escape being consumed, and very little had started to regrow, mostly just raw earth, ash, and charred brush and trees. Still, there were tiny pine seedlings poking up through the ash, hard to see unless you looked carefully - the next generation was already underfoot, but mostly looked like a moonscape. I climbed steadily uphill to the south towards Peak 8,089ft, finding a route that minimized charred snags and rocks, preferring instead the dirt understory when possible. It would take about 50min to climb 1,700ft over the course of a mile and a quarter, bringing me to the rounded summit just after 7:30a. I wandered about the various granite boulders sprinkled about, settling on one I thought the highest. Views are non-existent due to combination of standing snags and unburned trees. It didn't help that smoke from the Yosemite fire was moving into the Tahoe region this morning. I didn't find a register and didn't leave one - seems there's no good place to leave one safe from the next fire.

I noticed there were motorcycle tracks running over the summit and I followed these on the 1.3mi descent to Lovers Leap to the northwest. I did a slow jog on the long downhill portion, finding the motorcycle track did a good job of weaving through downed trees. The track eventually connects with the Lovers Leap Trail just before reaching the formation for which the trail is named. It took 30min from Peak 8,089ft to the highpoint of Lovers Leap. From the backside, it is an unremarkable granite dome, but once at the highpoint, the dramatic cliffs on the west and north sides reveal themselves. The view west looks down into the American River gorge, while that to the north takes in Desolation Wilderness and the towering Pyramid Peak. Unfortunately, both views were heavily marred by the encroaching smoke. I spent the last 25min plying the Lovers Leap Trail to the east, back to Camp Sacramento where I arrived just before 8:30a. The camp was buzzing with activity now, mostly a large group milling outside the dining hall waiting for breakfast to be served. I managed to get the outing completed in the two hours I had told Jackie to expect me to be gone.

I found her asleep inside the Jeep, a condition she had assumed almost immediately upon my departure. With the end of the peakbagging for this trip, I changed into more comfortable shoes and clothes before piloting the Jeep back to San Jose...

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This page last updated: Wed Jul 13 14:34:20 2022
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