Date: July 22, 2017
Miles: 8,3 miles (13.4km), from Echo Summit Trailhead to Lake Aloha at mile 1,098.4.
Health: Feeling happy to be back on the trail. Shoulder hurts a bit.
After waking up and having a big breakfast, we head out to the Post Office as everyone has something they need to either pickup or ship out. After the Post Office, we head back to the car rental place to add another driver to the car and then go do some shopping. As the gear store in South Lake Tahoe exchanges Darn Tough socks, we all go and get brand new socks.
Then we head to the Basecamp pizzeria in town for free PCT pizzas. If you show your PCT permit, you get a free pizza. After the pizza, I do a quick stop at the Patagonia store. I’ve been struggling with the heat and my shirt feels like hiking with a trash bag. It simply doesn’t breath well enough so I need something that works better in the heat.
I find one shirt that would work and feels great on, but it’s white. And even with the discount would be over $50. I cheap out and hope to find a better shirt from the next town.
As I’m walking back to the car I get a message from Cannonball and Storyteller telling me that a bear ate Cannonballs food last night. Apparently, the bear had cut a hole in their tents mess and taken Cannonballs food bag from right next to her leg. They had woken up to the bear emptying the bag next to their tent.
We drop everyone else at the motel and Sunshine drives me up to the trailhead. After saying goodbye again, I head out and pick up my Houdini jacket that Cannonball had stashed for me behind one of the rocks.
The trail from Echo Summit trailhead is quite easy and there are more day hikers than usually. As soon as I get going I start to regret not getting that white Patagonia shirt. I’m sweating like a pig as my shirt is not breathing at all.
I cross few roads and then reach Echo Lake. As I get down to the lake I get to the store just as they’re closing. They let me in to quickly buy a soda and ice cream to help cool me in the heat. I eat the ice cream by the side of the lake, watching as the day hikers arrive back from the trail.
It’s already quite late so I’m not going to get very far today. I continue hiking while the sun is slowly starting to set behind the mountains. The trail wiggles around the lake and the views are quite nice. I stumble upon more day hikers and we talk a little about the PCT. A couple of people ask me how far I’m going and as I say “Canada” they get good laughs.
At the end of the Echo Lake, I reach the beginning of Desolation Wilderness. I hike alone from here on out.
The sun is setting and it’s getting dark. I have to speed up as, like an idiot, I left my headlamp at the bottom of my pack. I check Guthooks and if I’m fast I should reach Lake Aloha before it gets really dark. The last mile I basically stumble in the dark forest guessing where the trail goes.
I find a nice spot along the lake and see others camping there too. Hoping to find other PCT hikers I approach them but they are weekend hikers. I find a spot little further in the woods and set up my tarp.
As I’m eating my dinner I watch as some of the hikers are doing bear hangs on a tree close by. As I see at least five food bags improperly hanging from the trees, I feel confident about sleeping with my food for tonight. No bear is going to come up to my tent when they can just easily pick all that food they want right from the trees.
As I’m about to go to bed I watch the stars above the lake and take few photos. This is a really beautiful spot! It feels good to be back on the trail!