Call me crazy, but I’m not a huge fan of Lake Tahoe… No, no, keep reading!
It’s gorgeous yes, a crystal blue oasis of icy cold water hidden amongst Sierra Nevada. An oasis filled with tourists, humming and bubbling along the roads, trails and waters therein. Stop just a few minutes West on Highway 50 and the real fun begins at roughly 7,500 feet.
Creeping just into Desolation Wilderness, Echo Lake lies as a first stop into the wilderness zone. Eerily quiet, with a few inches of fresh snow greeted us as we trudged along the footpath. What an odd feeling it is to walk in a place that can attract droves of tourists during the summer, but as soon as the mercury drops below 70, people clamor away. Cabins were boarded up, businesses closed for the winter. A seasonally deserted paradise. Barely a soul was to be seen.
A short 3 mile hike towards the end of the lake and I’m wishing we would have stayed the night. Brisk, but plenty warm, I can only imagine the views afforded by sunrise the day after we visited. A calm overwhelms my senses as we stand amidst the sleeping lake of these mountains. A calm that is only distracted by my stupid hot shoes, the sound of a woodsman chopping wood, or the peaceful whoosh of wind threading through trees.
Sometimes in locales like these, I get the sense of scale, one might not normally experience in a city, – “We are small.” The mountains, rock before us that we can hardly comprehend, trees older than I can imagine, seasons drift before and after me in a tide I will never know. We are but wanderers in a vast landscape, subject to Her danger and excitement. Struggling to gain what is afforded to us, some never realize the beauty. I for one and thankful every time to appreciate it.