Adventures in Solo Camping: Desolation Wilderness, Lake Tahoe


I got really excited about an upcoming backpacking trip in Desolation Wilderness with Costanza and some friends, and decided to jump the gun and do a solo trip by myself a bit earlier. I drove my electric car up to Tahoe from Santa Cruz and decided to do some backpacking into Susie Lake. Even though I love the outdoors, and love camping, I had never actually been backpacking where you hike in with all your stuff and setup your own campsite. I also don’t have a proper backpacking backpack, so I sewed on some straps to my travel backpack to turn it into one:

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This worked reasonably well, but I would love to get a real one like any one of these Osprey Backpacks.

I got a $5 overnight permit into Desolation Wilderness from the ranger station off of Highway 60. It was a Sunday night, so it was easy to get whatever location I wanted. I got a permit for the Susie Lake area, because I heard it had good fishing, and I had just got my fishing license in the mail the day before. I entered at Glen Alpine trailhead, at the end of Fallen Leaf Lake, seen at the middle right side of the picture below (blue arrow):

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The 4’ish miles to Susie Lake went very fast; about 1.5 hours. I am not much of a hiker, and I was pleased that I could do it in a fairly quick time. I setup a camp by the lake in a nice little spot:

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I didn’t bring a sleeping pad, but I brought my extra warm sleeping bag. In hindsight, I would have rather had my summer bag and a sleeping pad (although, I don’t have a small enough one to take backpacking yet!).

After setting up camp, I walked around the right/north side of the lake doing some fishing with a lure. I didn’t catch anything; not a bite or nibble, but it was fun exploring. I saw one other person fishing who had walked around the lake and also didn’t get anything. It was really windy out, and too early in the day at about 3pm.

I headed back to camp and ate some light dinner. I decided to toss my line back in, and ended up getting a really nice sized brown trout!

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The picture doesn’t do it justice; it was big! I fried it up and at most of it, but my pan and frying technique was terrible, and it didn’t cook the top part all the way through. I’m a firm believer of understanding where your food comes from and understanding the aspects of eating meat, and catching your own food is a great way of really understanding the whole process.

Here’s a selfie pic:

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and the view I was looking at:

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So gorgeous! 

Unfortunately, the wind never let up. It was so windy all night, and every gust would jostle the tent and wake me up. I hardly slept at all, and work up extra early. I ate breakfast, hiked around a bit more, and then did an early hike out, getting back to the trailhead and my car around 10AM.

It was an awesome short adventure.

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Adventures in solo camping at Desolation Wilderness are so inspiring! Excited to try it myself. ???

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