The boys titled this day, "Thank goodness Thursday," as in...thank goodness this is our LAST hike of the trip! It isn't that they don't like hiking; it is just that I like it a wee bit more than they do. We try to strike a balance on our trips to Tahoe-doing enough so I don't feel cheated and not doing so much that the boys get burned out and lose heart. So, while the boys were saying thank goodness it is our last hike, I'm saying thank goodness for my boys (and Mario!) who generously share their time with me pursuing something I enjoy so much.
We decided to head back to the Carson Range and hike to Round Top and Winmemuca Lake. This is one of the few hikes that I take that is not all about the destination lakes. Although the lakes are interesting, and even dramatic, there are other reasons I love this hike. First, I LOVE the approach to Round Top Lake. This is a loop trial and you can choose to travel either clockwise to Winnemucca and then onto Round Top or counter-clockwise to Round Top and then onto Winnemucca. The first choice is the easier route as you end up going downhill for the steeper part of the trail. But I like the more difficul route going to Round Top first for reasons I will explain as we go along. The second reason I love this hike is because of the flowers. I think this is the most flower-filled hike in all of the Tahoe basin, at least as far as I have experinced.
The trail starts at Woods Lake Campground. You quickly begin to climb through a mix of hemlocks, white pines and granite erratics. It is a moderately, winding hike.
Soon you are above the campground with views of Wood Lake below and a filtered view of Round Top peek ahead.
For part of the hike you follow along Woods Creek.
This is a high elevation hike starting at 8,200 feet and ending at over 10,000 feet elevation. Because of that high elevation snow lingers in sheltered hollows and the peaks of the "The Sisters" well into July.
Ryan had to check out the snow and make a few snowballs.
Anthony and Austin joined him.
And here is the reason I love the approach to Round Top Lake. The lake is surrounded on its far side by volcanic summits called, "The Sisters." There is something about climbing up the hill with those snow capped peaks ever before me that moves me deeply. I tried to explain it to Anthony.... It is as if deep inside my inmost being there is a place where all the challenges of living in a fallen world are locked away; the secret hurts that I'm not even aware that I still carry around with me, the knowledge of my own sin, the faithless worry that can sneak up without warning whispering the lie that Christ isn't good enough to secure my salvation. I'm so used to carrying this "stuff" locked up in my heart that I'm not even aware of it most of the time. But for some reason when I hike this mountain I get to the point where I can see those summits and it is as if I hear a little "click' inside myself. All that "stuff" is released. I see the beauty of God's creation and I'm struck with the certainty of Christ's holy, sufficient faithfulness and I feel...FREE. It has happened to me everytime I have taken this hike and everytime I get to Round Top I end up with tears in my eyes. Perhaps, in God's kindness, He uses this place to give me a sweet glimpse of heaven? Or....maybe it is just that the altitude gets to me! HA! In any case, I do love this special place!
The boys waited paitently at the top for Mario and I to join them.
Looking back the way we came
And here is Round Top Lake. It is not the most scenic of lakes but the drama of those peaks and the undeniable starkness of the surroundings that speak of the brutally harsh winters here give this place a solemn, almost reverant feel.
The hike up and over the crest toward Winnemucca Lake reveal how harsh the winters must be up here. Even in summer when the wind comes whipping up it can steal your breath.
Winnemucca Lake is not much to look at when you are standing above it but once you get down to the shoreline there are many pretty spots.
Mario tried his hand at a little fishing
And then we headed back to the car. The Winnemucca Trail side of the loop has a long, slopping hillside that is covered in wild flowers. We missed the peak bloom time but it was still pretty, with lots of flowers along the way.
We ended the day with our last trip to Sno-flake for our favorite shakes, soft-served ice cream and beer-battered onion rings.
Tomorrow we are taking the boys para-sailing and perhaps another kayak trip down the Truckee. Until then...be well!