Beldon to Echo Lake Wednesday 9th September As it was raining we had an early breakfast with Eric and Gordon in Truckee near Lake Tahoe. We then drove up Highway 80 to Donner Pass where we left the hire car and the four of us set out south on the PCT towards our next stop at Echo Lake.
It seemed strange to be hiking with friends from home again. Martina and I had got into some sort of rhythm over the past few months and had probably developed a pretty fair level of hiking fitness. It would be difficult for the otherwise super-fit Eric and Gordon to step off the plane and expect to put in the long miles carrying backpacks.
Our route took us along a viewful volcanic ridge to an alpine hut where we stopped for some lunch. The weather was a touch colder that day and some rain turned to hailstones as we ascended up to Five Lakes area to camp, half a mile off the trail. At 20.5 miles hiking it was a long day for the PCT newcomers!
That night the temperature dipped dramatically and we woke to a lining of ice on the inside of the tent outer. So it was a slow start that morning as we all thawed out before zigzagging back onto the trail. Gordon was suffering from a tendon injury and, when we crossed a small road about midday, made a decision to take a lift out from a fellow hiker we met on the trail. The remaining three of us carried on up to Richardson Lake and stopped after 17.5 miles at a pleasant spot by the lake.
Eric surprised us by going for a pre breakfast dip in the cold lake before we set off to cross into the splendidly named Desolation Wilderness. The scenery improved here to one of crystal clear lakes etched out into a bare granite mountain-scape. Dick’s Pass at 9,400ft gave great views north and south across the region and our descent into a lake filled valley provided marvellous hiking.
Next day we had 8 miles to walk in more lovely lake filled country before we reached Echo Lake resort and our next resupply. Gordon met us there after he had managed to pick up the hire car and we all travelled down to the town of South Lake Tahoe for some lunch and food shopping. Eric and Gordon headed off to visit Yosemite with an arrangement to meet us in seven days after we have hiked 150 miles to our next stop at Tuolumne Meadows.