Daily Miles: 13
Total Miles: 93
It was a good night of sleep and we got on the trail just before 7am. We all seemed pretty fresh, even though we’re feeling a cumulative tiredness.
We had camped last night just before the start of the burn area from the Calder fire. The area seemed pretty ravaged, but it appeared that the Tahoe Rim Trail Association had done a good job of repairing the trail so that the trail was safe and easy to follow.
We crossed over Highway 50 (for the second time on this trip) and started a climb up to Echo Lake. The parking lot for the lake was pretty full (not surprising since we’re coming through on a weekend). We were able to drop off our garbage, which was good since we don’t really have room to spare in our bear canisters that we’re carrying.
As we started our hike along Echo Lake, the number of folks on the trail was really crazy. There were backpackers heading back to the parking lot after a night or two out…there were folks like us heading in to camp, and there were day hikers. It was actually hard to find a chance to pee, because there was always someone coming from one direction or the other.
The number of hikers on the trail dropped off once we passed the boundary for the Desolation Wilderness, because people need a permit to even just day hike in this wilderness area.
It felt like it got hot early today. On a lot of the trail, there is very little shade to be had, and we tried to take short breaks in the shade whenever we could. There was an emergency helicopter flying around at one point as we walked past a ranger who was helping a hiker laying down in the shade off the trail. We’re not sure what the situation was…possibly heat exhaustion.
We finally made it to Aloha Lake for a late lunch break. We are always amazed at the beauty of the Desolation Wilderness when we come through. The combination a the stark granite mountains, snowy slopes, bright blue sky and crystal clear water never fails to impress.
After lunch there were a few snow covered areas to get through. Sometimes it was a bit tricky figuring out where the trail was on the other side of the snow field. But, even with lots of extra water around, we were able to keep our feet dry.
We passed by Heather Lake and then Susie Lake. Admiring them both as we passed. We always have an affinity for Susie Lake since we camped there in 2014 during our first time through this area.
Our day ended with just over a mile of uphill as we got close to Gilmore Lake. It was still pretty hot and we were all tired. At one point, Annika felt like she couldn’t get the air she needed and she started to hyperventilate. Frank was right next to her so he was able to get her pack off right away and help her sit down. Annika was able to get her breathing back to normal and rest for a bit, but for sure it was a scary feeling for her.
We only had a half mile to camp and we took it very slowly so that she didn’t feel over exerted again. As soon as we got to camp, Frank set up his hammock so Annika could rest while everything else was set up. Luckily she felt better after resting.
Our camp tonight has some plant growing which has a strong garlic smell. It feels like we are in the middle of a garlic festival.
The mosquitoes here are the worst we can remember in a really long time. As soon as we had finished eating dinner we all headed straight for our shelters to avoid the bugs. We can still hear their buzzing, but at least they are not biting us as we lay in our sleeping bags.