Feasting upon granite

PCT miles 1105.6 to 1089.8 – Gilmore Lake to around Bryan Meadow – Total PCT miles 1427

This morning we quickly escaped the mosquitoes that advanced on our camp near Gilmore Lake in the Desolation Wilderness. We wound our way down to spectacular Lake Aloha. Deep blue alpine waters surrounded by gorgeous granite and snowy Pyramid Peak. The sun glinted on the water and a gentle breeze moved small waves and kept mosquitoes away. Such a beautiful setting warranted a leisurely breakfast stop. So Gabriel and I sat on a polished slab jutting out into the lake to eat our oats and granola. We watched chipmunks scurry about the heather and lodgepole pine. Such a spectacular way to enjoy breakfast on a Wednesday morning!

Even after reading in our guide book that Lake Aloha was formed when the City of Sacramento dammed Desolation Valley, we were still in awe. A rare instance where I admired what was a dam has left in its aftermath.

Bound for the Echo Lake Resort, we parted with Lake Aloha and returned to hiking the trail. Desolation Wilderness is a very popular area and we saw many hikers and backpackers to prove it. No doubt that this is one of the most heavily used “wilderness” areas in the U.S.

Amid the crowd we saw two friends we hadn’t seen in months: The Swisters! There is a connected spirit about the trail, one does not feel that they have chance encounters, but that you are meant to meet people at least once, if not many times. Sometimes it’s even an ask and you shall receive-quality for only a day or so before we’d asked ourselves allowed, “We wonder where The Swisters are.” Then we saw them. Isabelle and Aurelie looked fantastic, were happy and had smiles on their faces as they accounted their enjoyment of traveling through the Sierras. They were loving the trail. We hope to see them up north or on their next visit to Seattle.

By 1:00 pm, we were at Echo Lake Resort and to our delight found that the super nice store crew made milkshakes with fresh fruit!!! We returned the ice cream bars we were about to buy to the freezer and ordered a blackberry milkshake and a banana chocolate shake. They were so delicious-two of the best shakes we had on the whole trail. Veggie sandwiches also satisfied our craving for fresh real foods.

Outside the store we met two Tahoe Rim hikers also at the resort to get their resupply boxes. Gabriel enjoyed talking to the one hiker in particular who had gone back to school (post-retirement) to study music. Something for Gabriel to think about.

We picked up our resupply boxes as well. Back are the bear canisters (thank you Blue Butterfly and One Step!), crampons, and other items that add weight to our packs. After a few hours of eating, chatting with other PCTers, calling our moms, and packing our gear it was time to get back to hiking. A month ago our rest time would have been a day or day and a half. Now it’s 3 hours and 45 minutes.

Back on the trail for about a mile and half we ran into Jack (aka The Tequila Kid) who we’d last seen on his 65th birthday, in the Trinities. He was finishing up the Tuolumne to Tahoe section and bore good news: Trail conditions are pretty good and we should be able to make good miles! We’ve got 300 more PCT miles in California to hike and we want to cover the ground enjoyably and efficiently.

We made camp tonight amid granite cliffs with a peekaboo view of Lake Tahoe. And thanks to the resort store dinner includes fresh Basil lemon cucumber wraps and a peach for dessert. The sweet delights of summer.

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