NOBO  Day 68 – Echo Lake South to Lake Gilmore – 16km

Note: this is PINECone and Quiz’s Adventures in Nth Cali. Princess Layers is finishing off the Sierra and will post intermittently. 

Today I title; Dave blazes a trail first day back!

It also a very strange day as we wake a 5am next to a beautiful lake, hundreds of miles from Bishop and the eastern Sierra. The condensation last night was crazy! We decided to cowboy camp last night and all our stuff is so damp!

Echo Lake in the distance 

We start up the trail heading north. We have jumped up about 300miles and it feels so wrong. But the sun here is warm and that makes such a difference to the smiles on our faces. The snow starts off small but by breakfast we a sitting amongst a field of white. It’s strange because it only got down to 43•f last night, the snow isn’t even hard and we are slipping all over the place from 8am onwards. Seems it will be very different front the Sierra. 

We climb over a rise and down into Lake Aloha valley. The whole lake is under snow with a few thaw patches here and there in a terrific turquoise blue colour. It looks phenomenal! Walking up he eastern edge of the lake we try to stick to rocket outcrops. We turn east at the end of the valley and head down another valley to pass a plethora of frozen lakes, all smaller than the last.

We past a few hikers earlier in the day. They are all turning back. They say there is a hazardous section ahead where the snow trail hangs over a lake. When we turn down this next valley we see the section they are talking about. It’s funny because nothing is as intimidating after a week and a half in the Sierra. Dave, back on trail volunteers going first and we walk above the lake with Dave stomping foot holes and blazing the trail in front of us! We are sad to say goodbye to Princess Layers, Justin, Little Spoon and Perk but so happy to have Dave back and Mushy continue with us! 

The trail Dave cut above the frozen lake

We eat lunch next to the lake and dry out our bedding. We have walked about 6.5 miles which is ok considering the snow. We push around a couple more lakes in the afternoon. I scramble over logs to cross a flooded lake whilst phoebe walks through the beautiful water to find that it submerges her and her pack right up to the collar bone. Luckily everything is dry bagged but it’s pretty funny. 
The afternoon moves slowly. We lose the path under snow pack twice and it takes us a while to regain momentum. The last valley we dip through is full of water and feels like a literal melting pot. We finally start the ascent of Dicks Pass which we had set as a destination for the day and camp on the only non-snow covered ground near Gilmore Lake. 

Quiz crossing the river.

Overall synopsis of flip north: there is still a lot of snow left here still to melt. I guess i assumed there might be less. It’s still difficult to walk in because it’s soft all day, so 10-15 mile days are a reality. The grade of the mountains is far more gradual and lower elevations make for less tiring walking. The sun is warm and feels amazing on my dry skin. 


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