Day 67 Mile 1092.3 – 1107.6
Elevation: ascent 3,103 ft, descent 2,104 ft
We started our day by grabbing bagels for breakfast before taking Maddie to the train station, as she was heading back to school. Then we were shuttled back up to Echo Lake by my parents. These past 4 days were super relaxing and fill with so much fun! Knowing this was our last BIG zero made it harder to leave but at the same time we both were excited to continue our journey. Especially since we are now venturing into areas we have never been.
We arrived back at Echo Lake at 10:30 and said our goodbyes. However we will get to see my parents again in just 3 days as they are meeting us at Donner Pass with our next resupply. It was time to don the packs and start hiking once again at 11:00.
The trail skirted Lower and Upper Echo Lakes on our way up towards Lake Aloha. Today was super windy resulting in a lot of white caps on most of the lakes we saw. Being a Sunday and heading into Desolation Wilderness (a very popular destination in Lake Tahoe) Double Down and I had to try and adjust to seeing the throngs of day hikers and weekend backpackers that were out. I swear we saw about 100 people in the first 5 miles. Dodging hikers and trying not to trip on the rocky trail made it difficult to take in the beauty of the lakes, so we made sure to take a lot of stops for pictures on the way up.
Heading up to Lake Aloha we passed by several trails to other lakes but unfortunately we didn’t get to see those up close. We reach the lake at 1:20 and were blown away with how huge it was. The wind at this point was really blowing and made it hard to stand in one spot without getting knocked over. I lost my hat several times while trying to take a pictures and had to go chasing after it. Both of us think this lake would be even more stunning in more calm conditions. We decided to try and find a somewhat sheltered spot for lunch, which we were only partially successful in finding. While there Kegger, another thru hiker we knew, came by. He was hiking with a friend in this section and we may find ourselves hiking more with him up the trail.
The afternoon had us descending down past several more lakes. We really appreciated the trail taking us right up to the waters edge on most of them. First was Heather Lake, then Susie and Gilmore. Then the ascent towards Dick’s Pass started. We had to climb 1,700 feet but the grade was super comfortable and we both noticed this was the best we had felt after taking time off. About halfway up We had a great view of Half Moon Lake.
The wind continued to howl once we reached the top and this resulted in us spending little time at the top of Dick’s Pass (9,376 ft). We did have a great view down into the valley and Dick’s Lake (destination for today) as well as Fontanillis Lake in the distance. On the way down we encountered some snow patches but nothing that was difficult to navigate around. We reached Dick’s Lake at about 5:45 and then had to search for a tentsite as many weekend backpackers had taken up several of the sites around the lake. We found one off by itself and protected from the wind so we should have a very quiet night.
This stretch of trail through Desolation Wilderness was on par with the lakes we got to see in the John Muir Wilderness and made for a very special day.
Thanks for reading and we hope you all are staying safe! Link