Desolation: Rockbound Pass


Sep 30, 2014
Day One: We drove up from Napa and started hiking at Wrights Lake, where we took the Rockbound Trail. While most people use the Twin Lakes trailhead, Rockbound gets a lot less traffic, and there is almost always room to park. The Trail up to Maud Lake is only four miles, but we struggled as M seemed to be having trouble with the altitude.


That rain the day before had really affected the landscape. In places, the trail was running water.

Day Two: The next day called for us to hike over Rockbound Pass—a steep climb out of the lake for almost two miles.


The climb up to the pass was another struggle. It seemed to take forever, and M’s slow pace had me worried. We did see a very insolent marmot in the talus below the pass.
But M was having trouble today with her feet, and we stopped for lunch at Lois Lake.


We were delighted to see an osprey overhead, and the scenery at Schmidell is truly wonderful.

Day Three: I had initially thought we might hike down to the Rubicon River and follow it for a few miles to make a loop back to the pass, but with the way M was feeling (her knees were now an issue, as was her tummy—possibly from dehydration—we determined that we would hike right back out the way we had come, and I would take a number of the heavier items out of M’s pack.


It was a steep struggle for M back up to the pass, and then we slowly but surely made it all the way back down to Maud Lake, arriving just in time to eat lunch there. After scoping out the entire lake for campsites, we chose to stay where we had camped two nights before.

Day Four: We were up early and pleased to see only minimal condensation in the morning. While we could have waited for the sun to hit our camp, we knew how long that would take, and just packed up with a slightly damp tent and ground cover. The trails were now drying out. What had been creeks were now barely running, rills were now just damp, and standing water was now just mud. It made the hiking easier, and we even rock hopped across the creek that we had waded only a few days before. With most of the weight in my pack, M’s feet were doing better, and we made it back to the parking area in time to drive down the hill to Kyburz for lunch.


This trip took us into some wonderful country, and the timing (starting on Labor Day Monday, when most people were leaving) meant that we saw very few people in the most visited Wilderness area in the USA. But the concerns about M’s feet and her struggles with altitude left us worried about the future. And we don’t have answers for that one.

For the full details of the hike, go here:

And as usual, the complete photo log is here:
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