Middle Velma Lake

June 3, 2016 · Desolation Wilderness


9.1 mi

Elevation gain

2,386 ft


3 days

The trail

Check out the route in detail on AllTrails.

Fri Jun


The Drive

We started off our first Dece Scouts adventure with burritos at Pancho Villa on 14th street. We picked up the Getaround right around the corner, and set off for the four-hour dive to Lake Tahoe. KP drove the entire way, hands firmly at 10-and-2, the ride punctuated only by music choices that ranged from alt-J (Matt) to Chance the Rapper (Jing) and the sound of Matt’s polaroid camera snapping candid portraits of each scout member — capturing our best “before” shots.

We arrived at the Inn by the Lake around 10pm, a motel that surprised us with its log-cabin, homey feel and the sweet motel clerk that greeted us so late. We hulled our stuff upstairs to our second floor double room and spent a few minutes taking in starry skies on the balcony.

Sat Jun


Through the snow

In the morning we did some final packing, got back in the car, and drove down the street to grab breakfast at The Red Hut Cafe. The restaurant was pretty packed, but the wait was worth it. We ate enough food that we probably didn’t need to pack any food for the rest of the trip. After a few bathroom breaks, we waddled back to the car and cruised to the Bayview Trailhead.

The weather was clear, but it was a little early in the season, so there was a lot of snow on the trail. Along the trail we ran across a ranger who seemed doubtful that we’d be able to make it to the lake because of all the snow. Jing and Megan had only their Nike running shoes, but they were total troopers and forged through the snow. At times the trail was hard to follow, but we had the GPS tracks to correct any errors we made. Just before the lake we had to cross a freezing cold river that made our feet (and mouths) scream.

We arrived at the lake in the afternoon after 4 hours of hiking. The lake was too cold to swim, but it was beautiful to look at. Megan led a yoga session on the rocks before dinner, we saw a beautiful sunset, and Jing read “If life is a game, these are the rules” by Cherie Carter-Scott out loud to the group under the stars. After we realized that there were some creepy crawlers on the rocks, we moved the reading into our two tents that we set up beside each other. Matt didn’t bring a sleeping mattress, so I shared mine with him, but it didn’t work that well. I don’t think either of us had a comfortable sleep.

Sun Jun


Sunrises, yoga, and return

The next morning we saw a beautiful sunrise, and I did my best to lead a yoga session, but didn’t match Megan’s session. We trekked back along the trail, this time a little easier because we knew where we were going, and it was mostly down hill. We got back to the car, happy to get out of our hiking clothes. On our drive back to SF, we stopped in Sacramento at Tres Hermana’s for some Mexican food in 100 degree weather. We were back in the city by evening.

Preparing for this trip

Here is some information that comes in handy when preparing for this trip like this.

Trip posted by KP