Monday, August 15, 2011

Crystal Basin Trip Report - On the Road - 8/5/11 - 8/14/11

          With our 4 Runner loaded up to the brim we set off Friday afternoon on a 9 day adventure. Our first stop and stay over was in the Van Vleck Area deep in the heart of the Crystal Basin Recreation Area where we would spend our first 3 nights. We stayed at a cabin that is the only building left standing of the old Van Vleck Ranch. The cabin sits on a beautiful 40 acre meadow with a babbling brook running through it. Adjacent to the meadow is the Tells Creek Equestrian Camp and Trailhead (the least used trailhead into Desolation Wilderness) which offers ample hiking and biking opportunities.
          Getting to the cabin was half the fun. We stopped briefly at Bridal Veil Falls(a pullout along HWY 50 near Pollock Pines)to stretch our legs.

Bridal Veil Falls

Bridal Veil Falls Close-Up>

          From Hwy 50 just past Pollock Pines we took Ice House Rd. which winds its way up into the mountains. We passed Ice House and Union Valley Reservoirs and before reaching Loon Lake we took an offshoot toward the Van Vleck cabin. Just before pulling up to the cabin we stopped briefly at Cheese Camp Creek to admire reflections in a pond.

Cheese Camp Creek

          A few minutes later and just after the last light left its warm orange tones on the western skies we pulled up to our cabin. Tells Peak and Mt. McConnell glowed faintly in the distance. We were both ecstatic about the serene environment we had just entered and were eager to get our things unpacked so that we could begin relaxing. Although the cabin does not have electricity, it does have gas lighting and running water which is all the amenities one needs to really have a good time. After settling in we poured some cocktails and let our imaginations run wild with what the following week may present to us.

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