Today’s post was going to be titled “Aloha from Desolation.” I wanted to emphasize the strange contrast between the sunny-Hawaiian sounding lake and the name of the renowned Wilderness area. The weather continues to side with Desolation, though ironically there are more people here than anywhere on trail so far.
But the post title was hijacked by the coming together of two things: a group of camp counselor ladies sitting on a big rock a few miles down the trail, offering me beer; and the realization I would soon be climbing Dicks Pass. And no, I am not missing an apostrophe. So, I did what had to be done, packed the beer and cracked it at the top. It was all foggy and cool on the pass, Angler arrived and announced that it was 47 degrees. But then the internet tells me the road to Tuolumne was closed due to snow – in July – just a few days ago. I am grateful that I am still carrying my warm hat and gloves.
The original title was extra-appropriate today, as we (Angler, Cheese and I) were given a ride back to Echo Lake by Leilani, Hawaiian named trailed angel extraordinaire. Thinking back, I have seen her giving rides to hikers each of the three days I have been in Tahoe. This is her second trip this morning. As usual I asked about the impact of the drought locally. Here drought worries are manifesting as fire worries. They have plenty of water in the lake, she points out, but the dryness of the forrest is what could cause trouble. There was a large fire close to here, on the same ridge as her house within the last few years.
Back on trail noon on a Friday, there are plenty of weekend hikers to pass, scattered trailside with massive packs and small children on the way up the hill to Aloha lake, I hear someone mutter “ultralight” as I breeze by. Aloha Lake seems more granite than lake, alternating strips of rock and water both equally grey in the low clouds.
I leapfrog all afternoon with Angler and Cheese, but we have landed together at a lake outlet for the night Thick clouds continue to spill over the ridge. Though the sky spits rain on and off, the thunderstorms fail to manifest. It might be cold and damp, but at least I was able to walk over a pass not worrying about being struck dead. With all the grey cloud and granite, dark green vegetation with hints of orange, the shore reminds me of the coast of southern BC. Tomorrow is supposed to clear, finally an extended interruption of the storm pattern.