Desolation Wilderness: Echo Lakes-Aloha Lake (Aug. 30 & 31, 2015)

A few photos from an overnight hike from Echo Lake (PCT Mile 1092.3) to Aloha Lake with Molly:

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Upper and Lower Echo Lakes are connected by a narrow channel, navigable by boat only when the water is high enough. This photo looks back toward the trailhead, which is at approx. PCT Mile 1092.3 (2015 Halfmile).

Aloha Lake had a stark and somewhat barren appearance, with low water levels and a lot of large granite slabs.
Aloha Lake had a stark and barren appearance, with low water levels and large rock slabs. Karen Berger notes about Desolation Wilderness: “A layer of durable rock was dumped here by the glaciers; the resulting rocky soil has proved to be poor habitat for the trees that usually blanket the land at similar elevations.” Along with living trees in the area surrounding Aloha Lake, there were also many dead trees piled up and scattered around the environs, adding to the desolate ambience.
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Once at camp, having shed her little red pack and temporarily off-leash, Molly surveys her temporary domain, with the lake to her right, and our little tent in the trees to the left. We admired the garden that managed to establish itself in the long crevice in the rock.

Lake Aloha (approx. 8134 ft. elevation) takes on an even more barren aspect as the sun begins to set.
Lake Aloha (approx. 8134 ft. elevation) takes on an even more barren aspect as the sun begins to set.

And looking in this direction, it's a beautiful but severe composition of grays and browns.

And looking in this direction, it’s a beautiful but severe composition of grays and browns.

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On a calm evening, it’s hard to imagine the violent episode that created this stone-and-broken-tree tableau.

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Morning light softened the landscape with pink hues, reflected in the sparse water of Aloha Lake.
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And a lone hiker, on the rock slab at left, enjoys a contemplative moment.

Yellow-gold leaves and reflected trees create a vibrant pattern on the water.
Yellow-gold leaves and reflected trees create a vibrant pattern on the water, as we hike away from our Lake Aloha campsite.

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On our return hike, we ended up hiking off the PCT toward Lake of the Woods, partly on a use-trail, partly cross-country. Alas, my memory is unclear as to the exact location of these last three photos, but I believe they are the near the western edge of Lake of the Woods.

Blog16-DSCN0083 In the process of getting from the western “thumb-like” extension of Lake of the Woods back to the (nearby) PCT, Molly and I had a challenging rock scramble, followed by possibly the biggest-ever “Leave No Trace” violation that took me a few weeks to cure. It’s a story I’ll save to tell in person. Let’s just say I had a teachable moment on this hike –details over a glass of red wine!

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