The Sierra – Echo Lake

Echo Lake to Tuolumne Meadows Sunday 13th September Our next section of the hike at 155 miles to Tuolumne Meadows was to be one of the longest between resupplies and, with the reputation of consisting of lots of steep climbs, we made sure we had plenty of food for fuel to keep us going for the estimated seven days hike. Sam, the owner of the Sunset Lodge where we stayed kindly gave us a lift from South Lake Tahoe back up to the trail at Echo Lake. Here we left a note for Hikin Mike as we hoped to meet up with him along the trail.

We sped off southwards from Echo Lake a bit late at 11am over rolling hills and granite outcrops to camp with an excellent sunset at Frog Lake.

We hiked 17 miles that day and were aware we would have to average a bit more than 20 miles per day for the next 6 days to meet Eric and Gordon as agreed at Tuolumne Meadows.

Next day we were delighted to talk to a northbound PCT hiker, Alison, who we had last seen way back in Wrightwood in Southern California. Then she had been with her partner Richard who had since stopped hiking and Alison was continuing on solo.

We met up with Hikin Mike near Eagle Creek and enjoyed an excellent and varied day hiking south at and above the tree line with stunted cedars, fine mountains and sparkly lakes to be seen.

Mike left us at Sonora road pass to attend a wedding, after which we climbed up on to the ridge crest where we collected some ‘grainy’ water from a snow patch right on the ridge. We enjoyed some sublime hiking here along volcanic ridges with panoramic views.

Our hiking rate was increasing again and we managed 26 miles the next day to put us back on target for our Tuolumne Meadows rendezvous. At Dorothy Lake we met some rangers on horseback out looking for an escapee horse that had been lost by a tourist! Unfortunately we couldn’t help them. The route crossed a few deep canyon like valleys giving us lots of ascent and descent but the sweeps of granite slabs and walls and the wilderness feel made up for it easily.

Brian frazzled after a long hot day!

Our hiking was going well in this scenic area and with 10 miles to Tuolumne we were pleased to see the familiar figure of Eric hiking out to greet us. Gordon appeared as well at the waterfalls of Glen Aulin – his tendon had recovered well and sufficient to be able to hike out for a 14 mile round trip to here. After a cool dip in the pool below the waterfall we made the final seven miles to the road at Tuolumne Meadows in style and the four of us had a celebratory huge Mexican meal in the nearby town of Lee Vining that evening.

Next, we join with the John Muir Trail past Yosemite National Park…..

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