I and Chief (Bruno) made a relatively short trip to the Snake Lake trail, in the Gold Lake / Lakes Basin area, north to Tahoe. We had two vehicles; my friend Kostya and my doggy Sunny accompanied me. Bruno took his son Mario to the trail.

First day, we came through the highways 89 and 49 to the Gold Lake. We were going through a moderate/easy trail passing the Gold Lake and the 4x4 camp on its shore. We saw some pretty well modified vehicles, including a lifted 3rd generation Montero with an ARB bumper etc. Some guys had pirate4x4 stickers. They probably were busy socializing because we did not see them on the Snake Lake trail - this is the most difficult trail in the area, and this is were we were going.

We passed the Gold Lake, came over the ridge and descended to the Snake Lake. This is a remote quiet clean mountain lake. The descent looks very steep, but non-locked trucks can make it back without problems, surprisingly.

Trail start:

Kostya & Sunny:

Bruno descending to Little Deer Lake:

My vehicle:

Downhill road to Little Deer Lake:

Almost there:

Camp at the Little Deer Lake:

Little Deer Lake:

Our camp:

Shooting preparations:

Kostya is shooting from the safe position - they may shoot back (bears, hikers, liberals, terrorists - whoever is lurking in the woods):

Mario (Chief Jr) with Ruger .22LR:

Chief is aiming Colt 1873 SAA "Piecemaker" replica .357:

The lone campsite at the lake was empty, so we decided to take it and stay. We had good meal, good campfire talking and (after appropriate amount of beer) lots of fun shooting at the targets. Bruno (Chief) brought lots of artillery to the camp. He even had a .303 British rifle, Lee-Enfield, I guess, but he refused to shoot the hikers on the other side of the lake - that was his soft side, I suppose. I had some revolvers with me.

After the night, we decided to make the Snake Lake trail, clockwise - this is the difficult direction, the most difficult obstacles are approached from the bottom. The traction is the problem, so we badly needed our lockers. The surface is loose - mostly loose stones with soft dry dirt, with lots of embedded rocks. We made it, but I have a feeling that we barely did it. Had I had only one locker, I doubt that I'd be able to do that. Bruno's vehicle is lighter, with bigger tires and more ground clearance, so he was able to make it with just a rear locker. Watching him beating his vehicle and approaching the same obstacle multiple times was definitely fun for us, although a painful-looking kind of fun.

Group shot at the Snake Lake, the next day:

Bruno on the trail:

We did not make many shots during the difficult part of the Snake Lake trail, because we were very busy, but our friend Kostya made lots of short movies - the trail is very good place for the movies.

Video of my vehicle on the trail

Video of Bruno's vehicle going through the trail

After we finished the Snake Lake loop, we went to the Sierra Buttes. There is a fire lookout at the very top of the peak, and the hike to the lookout is quite ineteresting.

Guys are using momentum hiking to the Sierra Buttes:

I am taking Sunny to the top:

The staircase:

The fire lookout at the top:

Kostya at the fire lookout:

Bruno and Mario:

Views from Sierra Buttes:

Here is the map of the Snake Lake trail. The difficult road between Little Deer Lake and Oakland Pond is highlighted. The difficult direction is clockwise.

This is our whole trip map (including the Sierra Buttes trip):

In places, the trail looks damaged, may be in recent years it got more difficult.

I experienced unusually high number of "damage" this time:

1) My alloy wheels are got scratched.

2) My front plastic bumper got scratches.

3) My rear plastic got some scratches, too.

4) The rocksliders are scratched.

5) The skidplates are scratched.

6) My tent pole broke.

7) My sandal broke.

8) Kostya burned plastic cover of my boiling pot.

9) My GPS is dieing.

10) CB radio is barely working.

11) One of my under-the-seat plastic hooks keeping the tire instruments broke.

12) A tire rib got ripped off.

13) Finally, a low-life form stole my manual winch off the rack, in the night after the trip, near my condo. I've never used that winch, but still ... I hope that winch will not help him to winch himself from the hell.