Monday, September 7th, 2020
As soon as we crossed the highway, we walked passed someone’s house or rental property. Out front was a truck that was in shambles. I looked like it had been broken into. Glass was shattered and everything that had been inside was tossed in every direction around it. Odds are, the culprit was big, hairy and hungry. People who haven’t confronted black bears or experienced their behavior firsthand are usually scared of them. Truth be told, they’re practically giant raccoons. More of a pest, than a threat. I was just happy our food bags weren’t messed with overnight. I needed the sleep.
It was a short walk to Echo Chalet. We were at the chalet pretty early and they didn’t open until 9 during the holiday. We weren’t in a huge rush, but it did take away some valuable daylight. We bought coffee and muffins. Poor Dr. Thunder was in search of an outlet, but there wasn’t a single one to be found. He had used up a good bit of his battery watching a movie overnight. We asked the owner of the chalet and she said they used to let hikers charge their devices there, but stopped after someone almost started a fire in the process.
Speaking of low batteries, I wanted to get a head start on the guys in case I lost my energy again. I was feeling a whole lot better, but wasn’t sure for how long. We wanted to get through the Desolation Wilderness in one shot because a permit was required to camp there, so I needed all the energy I could muster. I flew passed tons of day hikers and overnighters as I made my way around Echo Lake. After entering the Desolation Wilderness, I saw a view of Lake Lucille, then my mind was blown. Pictures never do it justice. The view of Lake Aloha was stunning!
After a long break to take it all in, I wouldn’t stop until I got to Heather Lake where there was a good place to fill up on water. Then I pushed it all the way to Susie Lake where a stopped to eat my McDoubles that I bought from McDonald’s. It was gorgeous out here! I was still hiking really strong too.
Many more views of lakes followed. I walked by Gilmore Lake, then looked down on Susie Lake and Half Moon Lake. I was concerned about Dicks Pass. I thought that would be the climb that did me in. Nope! I conquered that pass with no struggle. It was a breeze! I saw a marmot on the way up. I hadn’t seen much California wildlife up until then.
It was a steady down to Dicks Lake. I stopped to chat with a section hiker and flew around a large group of teenagers. One of them commented on how fast I was moving after I went around them. I was full throttle! I’m not sure where all this energy came from, but I was liking it!
I stopped at a pond to fill up on water, then I walked by Fontanillis Lake. I was seeing fewer and fewer tourists as I made my way towards Middle Velma Lake. I also hadn’t see either of the guys yet, which surprised me. I thought Dr. Thunder, if not both of them, would have passed me by now. I figured they took a longer break at the chalet than they led on.
I ate dinner before leaving the Desolation Wilderness. I waited for the guys. Frisbee would show up and we scoped out the camping situation by Richardson Lake. There were a few people camping nearby, so we figured we’d discuss where to plop down when Dr. Thunder arrived. We waited and waited. I was getting kind of worried. Eventually he showed up. His phone died, so he didn’t have a GPS. He got turned around at one point on the way, but he made it! We walked a little up the trail to higher ground at mile 148.4. This was our last night on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
27.8 miles (44.7 km)
Jump Ahead to The Tahoe Rim Trail: Part 9
Jump Back to The Tahoe Rim Trail: Part 7
Start from the Beginning: The Tahoe Rim Trail: Part 1