Day 84: (20 miles)
mile 1078 -1098
After a wonderful breakfast with Carl and Dori we were off for the trail. Dori, as I previously mentioned in the last post is an avid hiker and was meeting her weekly hiking group at Carson Pass. She was going south however. After a quick good bye we were off and on our way for Echo Lake where we had a resupply box waiting. Our hiking morale was sky high after being spoiled by Carl and Dori. The extra rest helped my poor swollen sore feet as I hiked with renewed enthusiasm. The day was beautiful, sunny and warm. We passed several small lakes and an old cabin. Not far from the cabin, the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) joined the PCT. We remembered this from our TRT hike from last July. The next 50 or so miles will be familiar to us. “Deja vu all over again.” As we got closer to Echo Summit, we could see Lake Tahoe through the trees. A large dark blue lake surrounded by tall mountains that are covered with green pine trees. We descended down Echo Summit over large rock steps to Hwy 50. Surprisingly, this stretch was not as hard as we remembered it…not that we are complaining or anything. After crossing the Hwy we walked the last mile to Echo Lake talking about the coke and chips Paul would get and my chocolate milk from the small Echo Lake Store. We figured we wouldn’t be able to pick up our resupply box as the post office closes at 2pm, so a coke and chocolate milk will hold us over till morning with the food we have left. We get to the store and take off our packs in front of the post office window. We can see that there is someone inside. As we stand in front of the window, the woman opens the window and asks, “Can I help you?”. Why yes you can. Paul tells her that we have a package but we understand that the post office isn’t open till 11am tomorrow. The woman says, ” I can get you your package. Do you have ID?”. Why yes we do. Score! It is 5:05pm and I go to walk into the store. There is a sign posted closed Mon-Thurs at 5pm… sharp! Disappointed and downright angry as we had read that it stayed open till 6pm, we quickly shifted to plan B…Additional Shmoosing! The owner pulls up in a golf cart and Paul starts small talk about how we tried to get here before the store closed, as we thought they were open till 6pm. I jump in with, “all I’ve been thinking about was chocolate milk or an ice cream!” The owner shakes his head ‘oh well’ and goes inside, we shrug our shoulders (we must be losing our touch) and start to collect our gear. Suddenly the door opens and a woman appears and says, “If you have cash you can come in and get a coke and an ice cream…Jimmy open the register”. In like flin!… Once in, we get the coke, chips, and chocolate milk along with the beer! Score! It was a beautiful evening at the lake and we sat on the dock soaking out feet, sipping our beer, debating if we should hike to the end of the lake or take the ferry. An older couple has told us they saw the ferry and it’s still running…so we load up our resupply into our packs and wait. Why walk when you can yacht. About that time a man comes by and we ask him about the ferry. He tells us the ferry isn’t running, but he can give us a boat ride to the end of the lake, if we want. Ah, yes we’ll take that ride thank you. This man is John, at least I’m pretty sure that’s his name (ADHD kicked in…shiny fish jumped…brain went in another direction), but he is a professor at Boise State who teaches photography. He tells us that he grew up on the lake, as his parents have one of the cabins that dots the edges of the lake. The only way to these cabins, many of which are more like homes than cabins, is via boat. He tells us how he spent his summers working on the lake, actually driving the ferry, and the fond memories he has. He points out his cabin/home and deftly navigates through a narrow channel to Upper Echo Lake. The channel opens into a body of water half the size of Lower Echo. Charming cottages scatter the edges of the lake, all equipped with their own docks. It is almost too picturesque to be real. Perfectly glassy crystal clear water. Fish jumping. Majestic mountains and a couple paddling their kayaks through the placid water. Disney…esq.
John drops us off and we thank him for the lift. We filter some water to take with us for dinner and breakfast, and discover that our 2 liter platypus bag has a leak. So much for a perfect day. This is not to say our day was ruined for duct tape will fix that later. We begin our trek toward Desolation Wilderness and a place to camp. About a mile into the Wilderness boundary, as you can not camp before the boundary sign, we find a place to camp, but not without unwanted guest…mosquitoes, those obnoxious bloodsucking flying piranhas that we love soo much.