‘Busted’ Camp – HWY 50
A relieved rising when I realize no bear has busted into my sub-par bear bag. Not sure if I’ve ever hung my food in such a lame way but there’s only so many attempts a tired hiker can make at getting that rock wrapped in cord just so on a branch so high. I went to sleep knowing very well the big solid branch just below where all my food hung was the branch Mr. Black Bear would use to reach up and nab my stash. Thus, my arsenal of rocks to pelt, bear spray and whistle at the ready all night long. Not that I waited up. Not that I’m fooling myself any of this will work. At least I can say I tried. No need for any, however, as the infamous BBQ raiding, stealth black bear chose other lakes to roam and raid. Whew.
Time to get out of the Desolation Wilderness and get the permit I need for hiking this trail. Time for a day off with Canmore friends Mike and Sharron who happen to be at their Tahoe home just as I’m passing through. Time for rest, relaxation and FOOD and WINE and BEER and SLEEP in a bed. Time for human interaction this solitary hike does not offer. Time for a day of all these things and more to balance out the days/weeks/months of walking still to come.
I bound out of Dick Lake, up over Dick Pass just as the sun rises and sets the Sierra aglow with soft morning light. In the distance I see Carson Pass and it’s pretty little jagged granite quintessential Sierra range. I see an ocean of granite and know I’ll soon be roaming that mass of mountains. I feel so happy the fatigue of starting this hike and pounding some big days already feels like another hike, another time.
I walk so fast I’m almost trail running with pack down the hills. I pass the monochromatic Aloha Lake with shades of steel grey, blazing blue sky and glowing remnants of Western White Pine standing in sculptural beauty, as red as my hair in wood form. Many people coming my way, out for a day or a weekend adventure. Hikers sucking in the thin air gasping at the effort of going uphill. Dogs with special hiking booties and doggie back-packs on, wearing more expensive gear than most thru-hiker trash I’ve seen killing it on the trail. It’s a different vibe but one I don’t begrudge because I’m heading into Echo Lake and a ZERO day of gluttony off trail. Heading north into less traveled terrain until the hustle and bustle of Yosemite, the John Muir Trail and of course, the ultimate recreational hiker prize, Mt, Whitney. Heading into the solitude of the desert after that and of course another zero somewhere in there to recharge again. Thinking about when I’ll and how I’ll get back up to Chester to retrieve truck and trailer left with friends back when I thought ‘this may be a day or a week…’ Thinking with gratitude it’s gonna be half a trail.
Echo Lake Resort sells fresh fruit and veggies. I devour two massive peaches and a nectarine. I wait on highway 50 for Mike and Sharron. Soon, I’m in their backseat, speeding along at what feels like breakneck speeds, compared to walking, happy to be in the company of friends.