Echo Lakes Trailhead to Susie Lake
(10 miles, +1,700/-1,400 feet)
It’s time for another birthday trip with ZoZoZoom! At 25 miles over three days and two nights, it will be her longest backpacking trip ever. Not bad for a septuagenerian!
But it is also personally exciting for me, too. I’ve always wanted to see the Desolation Wilderness, ever since my aborted Tahoe Rim Trail thru-hike. And as icing on the cake, the main path through this austere wilderness is the PCT!
We started out from ZoZo’s house in Davis, California in the predawn light, and by 8am we were on trail and ready to hike.
There is a lot of development around lower Echo Lake, but far less on the upper lake which is inaccessible once receding waters eliminate the channel between the two.
I had to descend 40 feet to the upper lake to get water for us, but then we were back on trail.
Soon the trail started feeling wild, and as if on cue, it became quite rocky.
We took a good long break at the turnoff for Tamarack Lake, where we could hear delighted shouts coming from the direction of a Boy Scout camp. We then resumed our climb.
We topped out at 8,300 feet above sea level before heading downhill to Lake Aloha.
The sun was really warm, so we stopped to cool our heels and eat some sandwiches.
After our refreshing break, we made our way slowly around this giant lake. The low water make it seem like hundreds of little lakes nestled into an expansive boulder field.
I loved the austerity of Lake Aloha. I’ve never quite seen anything like it.
When we reached the end of the lake we took another nice long break. I used it to explore a bit and snap some photos.
We were originally going to camp on Lake Aloha, but we made really good time so we decided to press on to Susie Lake.
The trail cuts through a steep talus field above Heather Lake that was pretty dramatic in some places, but ZoZoZoom was not fazed at all.
By the time we got to Susie Lake we were ready to call it a day, but we had to walk about a mile around the lake before finding a nice unoccupied place to camp.
Around 5pm we found an empty thru-hiker established site that had lovely views of the lake.
We actually managed to stay up for the sunset before heading into our tents.