Hiking Stats as of 11/11/2019
Total Trips:
Total Distance:
Total Elevation Gain:
 3,891.68 miles
 1,060,050 feet

Jul 18, 2015 - Peak 8997 / Peak 9380


Partners: Marcus "Barkus" Breen

Distance: 10.82 miles

Elevation Gain: 3,552 feet

Trip Time: 5:09

Maps and Stats:
I was spending the weekend in South Lake Tahoe again, but this time was special, as we finally got our fence finished and I was able to bring my dogs, Marcus and Sierra, with me to South Lake, now that they could enjoy the back yard while their dad was out and about. Aside from now being able to come up Friday night and stay until Sunday evening, I also was able to hike with the dogs. I walk them pretty much every day, but have never hiked with them before. Unfortunately, Sierra is a bit too old for hard core hiking, so I walked her on the local trails (its still hiking even if you aren't going to a peak, right?) before taking Marcus out on his first peakbagging adventure.

Peak 8997

I decided on Peak 8997 for the first ever hike with Marcus. This peak is largely on trail, and looked like something we could probably knock out in a few hours. It looked to be little more than 1300 feet of gain, maybe 5+ miles round trip. We arrived at the Tahoe Rim Trailhead on Highway 89, south of South Lake, maybe a 10 minute drive from the new house. We started at 8:30, with Marcus setting a pretty good pace for the most part, except when he came across more exciting things to do, like hunt for squirrels. It took us about 40 minutes to take out most of the uphill, now with only a 3/4 of a mile left, but it was cross country. Marcus looked wearily at this section, but took the lead as we went through some easy brush. Route finding was critical, as I didn't want to get into anything higher than my knees. At one point Marcus came up to a fallen tree with a trunk much larger than his height, and as I snapped a picture thinking he was about to jump it instead he displayed his displeasure at the situation via another means.

As the brush worsened Marcus was getting a bit tired, stopping to rest with some regularity. He did really well though, taking on large logs like a pro. In the end it was my fault that Marcus was not able to summit, thanks to some poor route finding. The final 1/5 of a mile is through some thicker brush and boulders, at least the way up that I decided was best. I wound up carrying Marcus above the worst of the brush, and helping him up some boulders. But he weighs over 60 pounds, and it was too risky for me to try to boulder hop carrying him and so I wound up anchoring his leash to a large boulder as I climbed the last series of rocks to the summit. From the summit I could easy see Photo Descriptionfilename=20150718_104516.jpg" target="trip_photos">Marcus, just below me, so close to the summit. He didn't seem to mind, however, so I didn't feel too bad. I hurried along though, snapping some good pics of Lake Tahoe and the Desolation Wilderness and Echo Lake. I hurried back to Marcus, and we found a better descent route (actually, he found it), which made me feel guilty for not looking out for him a little better. Soon we were back on trail, Marcus getting the last word in on one of the pesky downed logs. On the way back Marcus stopped to refresh himself in a stream, and from there it was an easy trip back to the car and back home where Sierra was waiting patiently for us...

Peak 9380

Later in the afternoon I had the hiking itch again, and decided to tackle Peak 9380, a peak next to Waterhouse Peak that I hadn't visited back then (like I should have). But rather than starting out at the Luther Pass Summit, I was once again starting on the TRT, albeit it in the opposite direction as in the morning. The first half mile is rocky, but not too steep, and dumps you out at a trail junction. I think most people head to Big Meadow, but today I was heading towards Scotts Lake. The trail section for this hike is very brief, however, as it is mostly an off trail experience. I wasn't sure where I would turn off to start the really steep climb, so I just monitored my TOPO map and the hillside and just picked out a spot that looked as good as anything else. Up the steep hillside I went, mostly avoiding brush and going up and over several rocky areas. Once I gained the ridgeline it seemed like it should be easy, but good routefinding is critical. I mostly took the best route, which seemed to involve staying on the left side of the ridge to avoid the rocky crest. It took an hour and forty five minutes to summit, longer than I had thought but then I didn't realize that the travel would be quite as tough as it turned out to be. I had good views to nearby Waterhouse, but views in other directions were largely filtered by summit trees. I briefly stopped by a competing highpoint (which was lower) where I found a large blue tarp, buried under years of pine needles and tree debris, but looking like it was set there intentionally. Maybe as a shelter from a summit storm? I took a somewhat poor descent route, finding it much more brushy than what I encountered on the way up. I wound up following a drainage, which while mostly dry had plenty of hungry mosquitoes. Ugh. I hurried along as quickly as I could, but still taking 3 hours for the round trip. It took 9 minutes to get home, something I could really get used to...

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