PCT: Day 224: The end of Northern California

Day: 224

Direction: Southbound

Trail location: 1554

Cumulative miles hiked 2019/2021: 2273

Cumulative miles hiked 2021: 257

Miles hiked today: 10.25

Elevation: 8123

High/low temp humidity: 65/55/40

Spinning on the turntable: Tove Lo: Sunshine Kitty

A short hop

Today is a quick hop, skip and a jump to Noelle and Echo Lake. Echo Lake represents the end (For me, a SBTH) of the Northern California section of the PCT. I’m moving into the High Sierra now. Cooking with gas!

Room with a view at Aloha lake

This was where I camped last night. I wandered down close to the water to cook my dinner. It was beautiful. This morning as I began hiking, there’s not too many folks up and moving around. There’s lots of tents, but not too much human activity yet at 6:30AM.

Aloha Lake

Aloha Lake is considered one of the gems of the Lake Tahoe area. I can now understand why. I walked along the lake for about 1.5 miles. I didn’t see any fish jumping. I did ask every fisherman I saw yesterday and today if they had caught anything, and the answer was a consistent “no”. (Have I told you about how I like to fish? I take a six pack of beer and a fishing rod and find a secluded water hole. Lures are optional. Toss the line in the water and crack a beer. I have no idea what I would do if I actually caught a fish.)

Protecting the flora and fauna one step at a time

It’s fun running across a random bridge, or stepping stones, or a wooden plank system like this. It reminds me how much the landscape can change over time. The trail I see today may not be the exact trail I see in five or ten years.

So many lakes!

As I made my way down towards Echo Lake, I was reminded again of the unpredictable nature of the trail. I was expecting a nice soft downhill trek, but it turned into a bit of a slog as I navigated through loose, larger rocks and uneven rock. In some sections I recognize the reality of the trail. Rocks move, they roll downhill, the bubble up from the ground. In other sections, (perhaps a bit like this one) I recognize that no one is maintaining the trail. Hear me out before you slap at me!

I passed a volunteer trail crew last week that was working on the trail. One of the volunteers had a crowbar to work loose a rock that embedded in the center of the trail. Another volunteer had a weighted hammer (that’s not the right work) to slam into the ground to flatten out the dirt that had been disturbed by the rock removal. Now that’s trail maintenance from a great group of volunteers! I made it a point to stop and chat with them briefly, and thank them for their work. As I hiker I really appreciate their sacrifice of time, energy and funds to work on the trail.

So, having just experienced “good” trail last week, it’s a bummer to find a section of “not so good” trail this week. End of gripe. Rest assured, I will volunteer time on a PCT crew before too long. First I need to finish hiking the trail!

For rent?

As I approached Echo Lake I was struck by the homes, vacation homes I assume, dotting the landscape. There didn’t seem to be any roads around the land, so it appears that everyone is taken by water taxi to/from the main dock. I found myself day dreaming about owning a lake house like one of these, and how I would like to arrange our belongings in a home. It’s been almost two and a half years since we started traveling, and today for some reason, I want a house again where I have all my own belongings. (I’m sure the feeling will pass.)

The End of this section

Echo lake was crazy crowded with day hikers, hikers, vacationing folks, and who knows who else. Way, way too crowded for me. Our current plan is to bounce down the trail about 60 miles to avoid the recent trail closure due to fire. Hopefully we’ll track down a greasy hamburger during our bounce. See you in the High Sierra!

Post Script: We did fine a burger joint in South Lake Tahoe. While the burger was good, I’d say it was more like a McDonald’s burger. I’m looking for a greasy, juice dropping, thick, medium rare burger. I’ll continue my quest.

DCB for Steve/SCB for Noelle with shared fries

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