Fountain of Youth

So the story goes something like this...

9 years ago, legendary snowboarder Chris Gallardo discovered something very special during an adventure in the Lake Tahoe backcountry. Though he knew this area well, his need to explore was never satisfied. Being the founder of Splitboard.com, he has likely toured up and ripped down every peak in the region over his many winters as a local. On this particular year, Tahoe had a very fruitful winter that held a deep snowpack into the late late spring. Chris and an experienced group sent a multi-day backpack mission to a highly elevated area they knew would still have some radical slush to slash. After a few days of pushing further across the peaks, they stumbled upon a magical turquoise glacial pond, that he named... the FOUNTAIN OF YOUTH.

Every year in the late spring, sometimes even early summer, Chris and his friends have an annual tradition of hiking to the "FOY" to skim across it, camping off the grid, and reverting to acting like kids for a few days. 

When I moved back to Truckee a couple years ago, stories started coming up about this place and gained my interest. My good pal Corey Smith had been communicating with Chris about joining his voyage for a while, but because of the INSANE winter we knew the timing was going to be real tricky. It's not like you could just quickly take a look at the conditions- it's many miles of hiking out to the spot since no vehicles are allowed in this part of the National Forest. (the location is very secret, please do not ask) The formation of this pond is also very temporary. A unique bowl of snow has to melt out just right, not too much, not too little. So after a bit of planning and guess work, we all finally pulled the trigger to soak our old bones in these fabled waters of rejuvenation... 

 Chris wouldn't exactly tell us how far we were going, but recommended we take this little water ferry to cut off a couple miles of the hike. It was pretty freaking cool to start the voyage by boat, kind of made the experience that much better.

Chris wouldn't exactly tell us how far we were going, but recommended we take this little water ferry to cut off a couple miles of the hike. It was pretty freaking cool to start the voyage by boat, kind of made the experience that much better.

 Cabin Vibes oh hell yeah!

Cabin Vibes oh hell yeah!

 We packed enough gear for 4 days of camping.  Joel Cline  brought enough for a month. My pack including camera and shred gear hit about 75lbs, Joel maybe more with the kitchen sink. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

We packed enough gear for 4 days of camping. Joel Cline brought enough for a month. My pack including camera and shred gear hit about 75lbs, Joel maybe more with the kitchen sink. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

 Every mile Chris said it was just around the corner. After the 6th or 7th time we were starting to wonder since the sun just went over the horizon... But then we saw our camp!

Every mile Chris said it was just around the corner. After the 6th or 7th time we were starting to wonder since the sun just went over the horizon... But then we saw our camp!

 Glorious sunrise! After that hike we slept like logs on these rocks. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

Glorious sunrise! After that hike we slept like logs on these rocks. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

 Rolling over in your sleeping bag and waking up to see this... worth every arthritic step of the hike in. Truly amazing views out here.

Rolling over in your sleeping bag and waking up to see this... worth every arthritic step of the hike in. Truly amazing views out here.

 Our lakefront home for a few days. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

Our lakefront home for a few days. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

 You could call this GLAMPING. Full luxury pour-over coffee roasted by our friends at  Drink Coffee Do Stuff , and the most delicious astronaut breakfast ever. But, I did sleep in the dirt; balance is everything. 

You could call this GLAMPING. Full luxury pour-over coffee roasted by our friends at Drink Coffee Do Stuff, and the most delicious astronaut breakfast ever. But, I did sleep in the dirt; balance is everything. 

 So, we weren't actually even close yet, haha. Still had to hike to the top of that ridge a few miles and couple thousand feet higher in vertical climb. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

So, we weren't actually even close yet, haha. Still had to hike to the top of that ridge a few miles and couple thousand feet higher in vertical climb. (photo by Chris Gallardo)

 The photo does not do this climb any justice... It was steep and full of large loose sketchy boulders that we had to scramble up, but oddly kind of fun. The hike going down was downright dangerous; hopefully this year there's some snow to shred down instead!

The photo does not do this climb any justice... It was steep and full of large loose sketchy boulders that we had to scramble up, but oddly kind of fun. The hike going down was downright dangerous; hopefully this year there's some snow to shred down instead!

 Chris was like, "It's just around this corner, come on guys!" 

Chris was like, "It's just around this corner, come on guys!" 

 AND HERE IT IS ! ! !  Chris just hovered across his Fountain of Youth in a Hawaiian shirt like a boss. 

AND HERE IT IS ! ! !  Chris just hovered across his Fountain of Youth in a Hawaiian shirt like a boss. 

 Like I mentioned earlier in the story, the conditions have to be just right. 1 week earlier the pond was half as small with a harsh kink into the water, and just 1 week later and it was too melted out exposing rocks. We really hit it perfect timing from the super winter of 2017, which was at the turn of Sept 1st ! ! !

Like I mentioned earlier in the story, the conditions have to be just right. 1 week earlier the pond was half as small with a harsh kink into the water, and just 1 week later and it was too melted out exposing rocks. We really hit it perfect timing from the super winter of 2017, which was at the turn of Sept 1st ! ! !

 Shaka to you, legend. 

Shaka to you, legend. 

 Joel is going to live forever. But, we thought he was going to die... it's basically 33 degrees of glacial melt and like 15' deep there.

Joel is going to live forever. But, we thought he was going to die... it's basically 33 degrees of glacial melt and like 15' deep there.

  Corey  getting ready for his turn.

Corey getting ready for his turn.

 His  Spring Break snowboard  is named the Catamaran. Good choice for this day, eh?

His Spring Break snowboard is named the Catamaran. Good choice for this day, eh?

 Ooooh and check out the new limited edition SB  COAL HEADWEAR  Slasher anti-gap hat & gaiter ( click here )

Ooooh and check out the new limited edition SB COAL HEADWEAR Slasher anti-gap hat & gaiter (click here)

  Sylar Gallardo  has some awesome surfy style. 

Sylar Gallardo has some awesome surfy style. 

 Me on the other side of the lens!  (photo by Chris Gallardo)

Me on the other side of the lens!  (photo by Chris Gallardo)

 After getting dunked, and some successful pond crossings,  Joel  sent it off the biggest cliff we could find!

After getting dunked, and some successful pond crossings, Joel sent it off the biggest cliff we could find!

 Just more epic views on the hike back out.

Just more epic views on the hike back out.

So... this coming year is going to be the decade anniversary and Chris wants to invite a few people to really celebrate. We're going to try and spend a week there if our work/life schedules will allow it, but as of right now Tahoe needs A LOT of snow since it's probably bone dry out there right now. Keep your fingers crossed!!!