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683. Freel Peak & Job's Sister (08/01/09)

Hikers (10): Cecilia, Diane, Helen, Iyad, Janice, Jeff, Marsha, Stacy, Steve, Suzie
Distance: 14 miles
Rating: 4 difficulty, 9 beauty
Park info: Eldorado National Forest near Lake Tahoe

Write-up by Steve -- Pictures by Steve, Iyad, Cecilia and Janice

There should be tons of information on-line for this popular hike. Information is scattered among many places, but nothing definitive. So here's some definitive information for the hike we did:


Waiting to regroup at Freel Peak spur from the Tahoe Rim Trail

As for the hike write-up. Well, everything worked out well. We stayed together, so it was a slow hike. Helen crapped out at Freel. Janice was already declaring that she wasn't going to do Job's Sister after seeing it in the distance, so went back with Helen. Altitude clouds the judgment! Anyway, considering Janice's mother had kindly provided lodging my first night in Tahoe and Helen was clearly hurting, I couldn't black-leaf them.


Steve bags Eldorado County @ 10,881' (note rain in background)


Job's Sister (left) and Job (center background) from Freel


Lake Tahoe from Freel summit

The rest of us took off quickly. Or at least I did, because I wanted to bag Job's Sister, but didn't want to get struck by lightning. There were ominous-looking clouds all around and one faint thunder boom in the distance. After signing the summit register, I started down and was happy to see Diane and Iyad coming up. I was thinking everyone would wait toward the bottom (due to the lighting possibilities). As it turned out, everyone went up--fearless group! I mentioned to Suzie in passing to "pick up the pace" (because of the possibility of being near a summit if lightning came). That was easy for me to say on the way down. Turned out my fears were for naught, as the storms never passed over our area.


Jeff and Stacy chill on Job's Sister, with Freel in the background

The cross country traverse went very well. Normally someone freaks out after a while of no trail, but everyone was in high spirits on this downhill portion. Once we made it to the TRT, we were golden. Marsha and Suzie had asked about going down to Star Lake at the beginning of the hike, but they weren't asking for that now!

We waited up near the Freel spur area for a long time to regroup. I was confident that we could go down a gully and catch a use trail (Trout Creek) and, again, everyone went along with this. It worked out fine (as mentioned in the directions above), but was slow going as we needed to stay together, especially at one point where we couldn't find the connecting trail for a while (Iyad found it eventually), and then waited for everyone else so they wouldn't have the same experience.


The semi-official Trout Creek trail can get a bit overgrown


Helen enjoys coming down Freel Peak more than going up

All the waiting paid off, though, when Marsha declared she had beer in her car! That was an unexpected bonus, and having run out of water on the way down, it especially hit the spot. The big surprise was that Janice and Helen were not there. Did they get lost? Meet some mountain men? The speculation ended when they showed up. Turned out they just took their sweet time (and they had a longer route). Just as we were breaking up and heading off, it started to hail, then rain. Good time to be done!

Milestones:
Highest point in El Dorado county
Marsha's 1st leaf
Suzie's 10th leaf



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