I saw a lot of people today. Like, a lot a lot. A trail crew gathering at Echo Summit. Three SoBo PCT thru-hikers practically running down the trail at Echo Lake. Zillions of day hikers, some without particularly good trail etiquette (yield to uphill traffic, y’all). A pack of weekend warrior bros who made smirking comments about my (badass) hiking umbrella. Instagrammers doing lakeside yoga poses 20 yards from the parking lot.
There’s a good reason they’re all out here, though: dang it’s purty.
So I bob and weave through crowds, eat an It’s-It at the Echo Chalet, take lots of pictures of PCT signs, and make it to Lake Aloha for lunch, where I ease myself into the lake for a very cold but very refreshing quick swim. On the PCT I somehow only went lake swimming once in 2,650 miles—a criminally negligent oversight.
After Lake Aloha the trail winds past beautiful rocky lakes and tons of campsites—all of which are full of people and annotated with bear warnings in Guthook’s app, which reaffirms my decision to continue to Dick’s Pass for the night. The hike up is long but gorgeous, particularly in the late afternoon light—and solitary, which is a nice change for the day.
After a twelve-hour day, I’m camped in some trees on top of the pass enjoying the epic smoke-tinged sunset.
Trail company: zillions of people, one terrifyingly loud fighter jet, four marmots (one who watched me poop)
Lesson learned: It’s always worth continuing past the crowds.
- Tuesday, August 28, 2018
- 20.7 miles / ~ 4,000′ ascent, 3,400′ descent
- Mile 114.7 to Mile 135.4, Dick’s Pass