Hiking Mt. Lola | SierraSun.com

Hiking Mt. Lola

Dan Warren
Special to the Sun
Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.comA hike at Mt. Lola appears almost glacier even in mid August, with large crevasses, huge snow banks, and yes, late-blooming wildflowers.

TAHOE/TRUCKEE, Calif. and#8212; Sometimes hiking in the Sierra Nevada, the same hike can be completely different from month to month due to the prior winterand#8217;s snowpack, weather and other factors. This year the entire summer presented hikers with conditions rarely seen and worth taking advantage of.

I had the opportunity to hike up the highest peak in Nevada County: Mt. Lola. Off the beaten path, but not forgotten, Mt. Lola offers a good trail but only a small chance of meeting others. The peak is not a difficult climb, requiring only 10 miles roundtrip and 2600 feet of elevation gain.

Now, I have hiked this trail in the past and encountered snow and have even skied the long narrow snowfields on the North West side as late as Septembe, but this year my mid-August hike was surely unique. One of the most incredible displays of wildflowers I have ever encountered was on display. I will say this wildflower phenomenon occured all over the region this year, but noticing new varieties of flowers and numbers was a great surprise. Just as unique as the Mountain Bluebells was the shear amount of snow still on the ground.

Over a mile from the top we encountered snow and had the unique experience of navigating up Mt. Lola through the snow in mid August. The snow was up to 60 feet in depth in some areas and had crevasses with 10-foot walls and 20-foot cracks that more resembled a glacier than a normally seasonal snow field.

Many of the Mountain Hemlocks were just breaking the surface of the snow with, I am sure, many more still buried in this abnormally deep snowpack with a very short growing season still in store.

Of course the view from the almost always windy top is spectacular as are all of the peaks. The views to the south were almost winter-like as we stared at the North faces of all the mountains of the Pacific Crest. The amount of snow still contained in the shady slopes made me feel more like I was in the Brooks Range of Alaska than our more southernly Sierra.

This may be your only opportunity to experience the Sierra in such an unique and gorgeous state. If you chose to hike Mt. Lola, stop by the Forest Service office for more information or search online for more information.

and#8212; Submitted to aedgett@sierrasun.com

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