December 18, 2020
After two engagement sessions at Lake Tahoe this summer, Thomas and I decided to take the opportunity to extend our time there and enjoy a week of vacation – something we all need more of this year. We opted to totally unplug and backpack through Desolation Wilderness for five days. I didn’t realize how much I needed it. I’ll be the first to admit, many aspects of backpacking aren’t super fun for me, but I really enjoyed the opportunity to be out in nature with lots of fresh air and no ability to check my email (although, I wish that didn’t give me as much anxiety as it does…).
To start our trip, we parked at Lower Echo Lake. You need to get there early in the day, as there are a limited number of parking spots and may day hikers park here. We arrived at 7 am on a Monday and the lot was a little more than half full.
The beginning of the hike was stunning – the view right from the parking lot is breathtaking. The path by Echo Lake is busier than the rest of the trail because of all of the day hikers – but it was still so enjoyable. Thomas and I listen to an audio book while we hike, and on this trip we made our way through Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince.
We hiked between 8 and 12 miles every day. It was very doable. We didn’t need to set an alarm or really hustle. It was an enjoyable pace for us to see the beauty and eat leisurely meals along the way. We had wonderful weather!
The first night we slept on the north side of Lake Aloha. It was really rocky – I wasn’t expecting it to be so barren. On our second night we slept at Lake Schmidell. We were literally the only ones there. It felt surreal to have all of that nature to ourselves. Our third evening we slept at Dick’s Lake which was a little busier (aka: we probably saw 8 tents…) and on our final evening we slept at Lake Aloha again but on the south side. Each one was different and beautiful in its own way.
Throughout our time we ate oatmeal with dehydrated apples, tortillas for lunch with beef jerky and dehydrated mushrooms, jalapeños, and cheese whisps, and for dinner we would make something like couscous with beef jerky or pasta. One of our splurge meals was a Mountain House meal we purchased at REI and it was delicious!
If you are at all interested in our gear list, you can find it on our blog about hiking the Kalalau Trail in Kauai.