This morning we headed out to hike the 2 mile Eagle Falls Trail. Before we get to the trail head we pick up a man that is waving us down. He has left his car at this crowded parking lot because he is doing a longer one way hike and wants to meet his party at the trail head for Eagle lake. On the way he explains that even though it is 8:30 am the parking lots are all full and we should park on the side of the road 1/4 of a mile away from the lot and walk up the rest of the way We take his advice and (some times doing a good deed gets rewarded). While it surely is crowded we are glad to see many people are here just to see a small section of the falls right by the road and not hiking the trail. The hike starts as an uphill set of rough rock steps then transitions to a path through deep dense green pine forest that smells like Christmas. All the while we are treated to great views and sounds of a rushing mountain stream. At many points there are breaks in the trees that give way to giant rock outcroppings these provide a view of the rugged stone snow covered mountain tops with the deep blue lake below. The landscape lives up to it’s billing as one of the most gorgeous in all of CA. We meet a couple when we offer to take their picture. They are very friendly and enthusiastically interested in hearing stories of our trip. The man is a long distance bus driver and is hoping to do a similar trip when he retires in a few years. The woman is the care giver for her 80+ year old parents suffering from Alzheimer.
We chat with them for a half hour enjoying this scene and their company from one of the many rock ledges. The weather by now has warmed up enough that we need to shed some layers. Rick leaves his jacket on the trail confident it will be there on our return journey (Susan is not so sure).
When we get to the Eagle lake we are stunned by the beauty of this small lake. It is so calm that the ragged mountains which are a mix of pine trees, snow and sharp jagged rocks appears both above the water and as a mirror reflection on the lake. We spend 15 minutes resting at this serene spot before we start back down.
By the time we arrive back to the parking lot (jacket in hand) it is around 11:00 and what was a crowded parking lot has turned into a huge traffic jam. We decide rather than try and turn around we will just continue forward and drive completely around the lake thereby avoiding the traffic jam, after all we have some time to spare. Well one hour later, we are only about 1/4 of the way around the lake. We realize it is way further than we expected and turn back. We are not too upset by this detour drive we took because it afforded us a good insight into what the other areas around this lake are like. We pass lots of marinas with mooring balls and see many small seasonal cabins. While it is beautiful there is only the lake and the mountains and very few stores or restaurants (too isolated for us). Many of the towns along the way have signs announcing there elevation (6200 ft) and population which is usually in the low hundreds or less. Susan wonders if the population is 25 and someone has a baby do they change the sign?? We travel back through the angry traffic snarl by eagle lake glad we are now just passing through. Back at the RV we have a late lunch discussing whether we should extend our stay here to avoid what promises to be a big traffic jam as the masses go back to their homes on Monday of Memorial day weekend. The decision is made to stay another night and we reserve one more day, do some wash and take a siesta nap to pass the afternoon. Our plan was to go to the top of Harrah’s Casino for a cocktail and dinner in town but we become reticent about jumping into what promises to be a parking/traffic nightmare and opt for another night of delicious Sony’s barbecue. After dinner we stroll around marveling at how many people here never venture out of the camp grounds. We head to bed early since Rick has made reservations to go trout fishing at 6:30 Am and Susan has some work to do in the morning.