Early on, I stopped to filter water and was amused by the multitude of ground squirrels around me, scurrying to and fro. I watched one dash up a very tall tree, perching on a limb probably 75 feet in the air. All of a sudden the little guy fell!! It was horrible to watch and he never did catch a limb on the way to his death (at least I’m assuming it killed him–I did hear some faint noise after he fell, but he was too far back at on the steep hillside in the thick brush for me to look for him. It was really sad to watch.
I hiked on and came to a busy highway crossing. It was so weird to see cars zooming by and hear all the man made noise. I definitely don’t miss it being out here! After crossing the highway, the sound of cars was quickly replaced by the sound of water…really loud water. About half a mile later, I discovered the source which was a narrow but raging river. I didn’t remember reading anything about a treacherous river crossing in my guide, so I pulled up the app which noted it as a “seasonal water source.” Someone had commented on 9/16 though and said, “Um, this is a raging river!” My guess is that it’s dam fed and that puppy was down! I wasn’t sure what to do because even though it was narrow, it was definitely approaching the limits of my comfort zone to cross it. I had the thought of turning back to the highway, walking or hitching a ride to Echo Lake where the trail would end up. I’d just have to backtrack the miles I missed. The thought of that didn’t sound great because it might have the potential to knock my schedule off course enough that I couldn’t make up the time and finish the entire hike. So I kept thinking about it and walked upstream a short way first and discovered a large dead tree over the river. I knew I’d found my answer. I straddled it (which was no fun in a skirt, and I’m sure I was a sight to see!) and scooched across carefully.
Mission accomplished I kept moving and reached Echo Lake which is quite possibly one of the most beautiful lakes I’ve ever seen. There was a diving rescue team there, but it looked like they were just doing a training exercise. It made me think about my search and rescue buddies back home and how much they would enjoy this experience too.
I soon entered the Desolation Wilderness and eventually reached my spot for the rest of the day and night, Lake Aloha. It’s as beautiful as I imagined. I had my lunch and spent the rest of the day just day dreaming and watching the birds. The ground squirrels here are relentless. They are definitely used to being fed and I found one sitting on top of my pack this afternoon when I was setting up camp, trying to get inside!
|My little “friend”–he was relentless in his pursuit for trail mix but I won the battle!|
|It was hard to stop taking pictures–the colors were changing constantly at sunset.|
|My campsite for the night–a million dollar view for free!|