Got gas? No sir. Negatory. Nopity nope.

In this case that is actually a bad thing. After I made my dinner on the first day, I realized my gas canister was now empty. Crap! I was so careful about checking everything on my backpacking trip, but I did not check my gas canister. I was certain I had enough for another trip. Stupid stupid stupid. I had to eat all my snack food for breakfast the next morning, and now I did not have enough food to stay somewhere a second night, as I had initially wanted to. I had two lunches (for 2 days), and no breakfasts or dinners to eat. So I packed up my gear and hiked all the way back. 11 miles. All the way back to Loon Lake. In the heat. I did not get back to the car until after noon, and I was dead tired. Did I say it was hot? Bummer, but I did have a totally epic first day on the trip. I found two, yes two, incredibly spectacular waterfalls, and a third one as well that was not too shabby either.

When I first planned the hike to Horseshoe Lake Falls, I did not think I would go up to McConnell Peak Falls. I did not even consider it at first. However, when I studied the route on Google Earth, I saw that it did not look too difficult to climb up to the top of Horseshoe Lake Falls, and from there it is a short distance to McConnell Peak Falls. This new hike was now on the agenda. Totally on the agenda. These two waterfalls in the Desolation Wilderness have been on my radar for a few years now, but before now they both just seemed too remote to reach.

It was a bit steep and sketchy in a couple places but overall not too hard to climb to the top of the first waterfall. From there I got on an actual trail, and continued up to Horseshoe Lake. The trail is not much of a trail, but it is a trail. Sort of. Sort of not. In other words it is a bit faded and hard to follow. At Horseshoe Lake, I got my first glimpse of McConnell Peak Falls. My thought was: yeah it looks like it is ok. You are still quite a long distance away at Horseshoe Lake. Initially, I thought I would just take a photograph of it from Horseshoe Lake and call it a day. However, it was still early, the lake was still in the sun, and would be for at least 3 more hours, and oh yeah, there were mosquitoes at the lake. I did not want to wait around 3 hours with the skeeters. Plus, I could not see any good compositions of the waterfall from the lake anyway. The trail was pretty good from the lake, so I continued onwards. It meanders through the forest before it comes out right at the base of the waterfall. When I first saw it up close, I exclaimed out loud something to the effect: holy crap is that ever awesome! This is most certainly one of the most spectacular waterfalls in the Northern Sierra, and without a doubt it is the best waterfall I have seen so far this year. About 470 ft. high, and flowing very strong. In the Desolation Wilderness, it is second only to Horsetail Falls (590 ft.). There was still plenty of snow melting from McConnell Peak in late July. It is crazy awesome that you can get right to the base of this giant waterfall and look up to see the entire thing crashing down the cliff. Wow wow wow! It is also crazy that I have never seen any photos of this massive waterfall before. The trail goes right along the bottom of it, but this area is so remote, I do not think it ever gets very much traffic, even in the summer after the snow is melted and the waterfall is reduced to a trickle. Seeing it now, after a great snow year, and flowing so strong in the middle of summer, is something that very few people have ever seen. After seeing these two incredible waterfalls, I didn’t feel so bad about having to hike home a day early. It was an incredible trip into the remote Desolation Wilderness.



2 Responses to “DAY 2. GOT GAS?”

  1. Michael Kiyomoto Says:

    Another wow waterfall!! Must’ve been an incredible hike out to these falls. About how long did it take to hike/climb up from the base of Horseshoe Lake Falls to the base of McConnell Peak Falls?

  2. leapin26 Says:

    It is only about a mile or mile and a half. I think it took an hour to hike up from my camp at the bottom of the lower falls, and I was not rushing. This is definitely the most spectacular falls I saw this year.

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