Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Day 152: Desolation Wilderness

Day 152, 9/7/14
1120 (Richardson Lake) to 1102 (Heather Lake)
18 miles

Today I entered the spectacular Desolation Wilderness.  Despite the name, it is popular with dayhikers and weekenders.  But it's clear why so many enjoy visiting this place- granite mountains, ancient junipers, deep blue lakes.
Into the Desolation Wilderness.
Hikers going in opposite directions share information when they pass one another on the trail.  I found out about good swimming lakes and water sources.  Back when I was hiking with other northbound thru hikers, information passed mostly in one direction (i.e. north), since there were so few people around going south.  Bidirectional information flow has been quite a nice feature of going south and being a section hiker.

I took a detour off the PCT over to Middle Velma Lake for a midday swim at the recommendation of Judy and Nancy, the TRT hikers I'd met the day before.  Had to explode my pack on the shore to locate my swimsuit (i.e. underwear), and I took the opportunity to air out my gear.  Then I swam over to a small island.  What a life- sitting in the sun on an island all by myself in the middle of a lake in the middle of the wilderness. 
Middle Velma Lake
Then it was up and over 9400 foot Dick's Pass.  (Hehe it's called Dick's Pass.)  The northern most point above 9000 feet on the PCT.  Snow lingered way off on the sides of Dick's Peak.  Strong winds reminded me of being back in SoCal.  It was exciting to peer over the pass into the valley below and to identify the lakes ahead and try to imagine what they would be like.
Looking back at Dick's Lake.
Traveler's gentian on the banks of a high spring.
I pushed on past Suzie Lake all the way to Heather Lake.  I wanted to get set up close to Lake Aloha for the sunrise, recommended by the gals from Portland.  But I knew I couldn't make it all the way there cause the feet were protesting too much.  I was so relieved to find a sweet site sheltered from the strong winds by birches and pines.  It was cold and I was tired and it was such a relief to be in the protection of trees.
Camped near Heather Lake.
As I ate my cold dinner on the bank of the lake, the (near) full moon rose.  Such a giant orb.  The moonlight shimmering off the water.  A dozen bats swooped over the lake, so close to where I was near the shore.  Totally mesmerizing.  How fortunate I am to see all of this.

1 comment:

  1. Gorgeous, gorgeous, gorgeous!! What great campsites and places you are seeing.