Backpacking was cancelled. Saturday looked great, but it was Sunday we were worried about. With only three-season gear, and light winter clothing, the low of 24F would have been miserable, not to mention snow-showers during the night. Add in windchill and there’s nary a point in going. This is where a 10-mile day hike to at least go campsite spotting shows it happy face.

Having been here once before, the first 3 miles were easy, if boring. A jaunt on the bone dry, eastern side of Echo Lake leads you on the way to the famous Aloha Lakes, Lake of the Woods and many other Desolation Wilderness classics.

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Wind made an otherwise pleasant and warm spring day into a chilly/hot affair. Wearing enough layers to battle windchill, but then sweating into said layers after the wind dies off is always irritating. Good thing it can’t ruin these views. But what can is…

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The scary part hits you quickly enough. I’ll let you guess when you look at the above scarred rocky landscape. This is basically Echo Summit in early April. Snow? Barely there. Running into our third year of historic drought, I can wax poetic, but I won’t. The fact that this is supposed to be one of the biggest sources of our water and we can jaunt around the mountainside, not hindered by any of the frozen stuff, is downright eery. That being said, we did find some snow and an ice-covered lake.

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I can’t wait to come back here! A quaint half-moon shaped Tamarack provides a perfect nestle for setting up camp, fresh water nearby, and Ralston Peak to stare at. Maybe next time I won’t have such bad luck with weather. By the way, one of the most important things I learned today came after the hike. Grab a HydroFlask, fill it up with ice cold beer and enjoy the hell out of that thing after a hard earned trek. You’re welcome.

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