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I woke up tired today, my body not recovered from the previous day's outing. It was supposed to get warm today too, reaching into the 80's in the Lake Tahoe region. The combination would have me calling it a day early. I had spent the night on the Nevada side of the lake, at the end of a Forest Road that r$aches nearly to White Hill. It was a pretty spectacular spot overlooking the lake and a good deal of intervening forest.
The road is mostly flat for the first mile, passing along the east side of picturesque meadows and through aspen forests along North Canyon Creek. There are various informational plaques along the road, pointing out various old structures from days of yore when logging and ranching occupied were the preferred land use. Where the road begins to ascend the canyon shortly before the first mile, I turned onto the Marlette Lake Trail, not open to bikes. This nice trail follows up the west bank of North Canyon while the road stays on the east side. The trail climbs at a steady, pleasant gradient all the way to Marlette Lake in about 3mi. After the first mile, the trail crosses a creek descending to the west, a bit of a surprise. The topo map shows a creek descending North Canyon that splits into two forks, one going west to Secret Harbor, the other descending south through the lower part of North Canyon. This is highly unusual topology. Generally one fork will cut a deeper channel, cutting the other off, but that has not yet happened here, it would seem.
I continued to a trail junction at the saddle at the north end of N Canyon. Peak 8,738ft lies above this saddle to the southwest less than a quarter mile away. I could have started directly up from the saddle, but instead followed the trail/road forking left that goes over another saddle on the north side of the peak. Just before reaching this second saddle, I started cross-country up the north side of the peak. The slope was moderately steep but had almost no brush, and the cross-country portion took but 15min. The summit rocks are easy class 3 and provide nice views overlooking Lake Tahoe to the west, Marlette Lake to the north, and the much higher Snow Valley Peak to the east. It was almost 9a, having taken just over two hours for the ascent. It had been in the low 50s when I started out, but was now close to 70F and continuing to warm. I was feeling unusually tired and was happy to sit at the summit, texting family and friends, taking photos and generally prolonging my stay longer than usual.
The second summit was located back the way I'd come, about half a mile west of the trail. It would require more cross-country travel than the first summit. When it was time to leave, I descended off the east side of the peak, a brush-free route that drops steeply back to the trail. I then followed the trail downhill to the bridge at the creek crossing. Here there is an old trail/logging road on the south side of the creek descending to the west. There are logs over the road in places, but it is very serviceable and heads towards Peak 7,820ft about as nicely as one could hope. Where it turns to the southwest the old road becomes hard to follow, but the cross-country is open and very easy. I climbed up to the summit on its east side, staying north of the saddle with Pt. 7,766ft. It was almost 10:45a when I reached the flattish summit with a few squat summit rocks scattered about and views mostly blocked by trees. I took another break here to recharge, playing again on the phone and looking for reasons to linger.
The descent off Peak 7,820ft went remarkably well, steeply down the southeast side, to the south of the aforementioned saddle and taking less than 15min. Once on the trail I had little more than a mile to return, but somehow managed to screw this up. I landed on an old road on the west side of the creek and didn't realize my error immediately. I then tried to continue on the road, expecting I could cross back to the east side when needed. This was not a simple matter, however, as the creek becomes a marshy meadow and crossing would be impossible without soaking my boots. I became frustrated and swore at the creek, but with a cooler head I had little choice but to backtrack and undo my mistake. I got on the correct route and eventually found my way back to the TH by 11:45a. The parking lot was quite full now, and folks were buzzing about looking for parking spots. Someone would be happy to snatch the prime one I left on my way out.
Upon my return to the Jeep, I repositioned it to give me some privacy from the nearby homes and road while I took a jug shower. It wasn't yet 1p, but I was done for the day. I would spend the rest of the day taking it easy, hoping I would feel better for another 10mi hike I had planned for the following day...
For more information see these SummitPost pages: Peak 8,738ft
This page last updated: Mon Jun 27 15:34:01 2022
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