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Desolation Wilderness volunteer patrol


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After last weekend's challenges, I was determined to get back into Desolation Wilderness and  continue my work there as a volunteer.  And so on Wednesday I drove back up there and got started, all over again. 

It was hot.  How hot was it?  Hot enough that the freeways had heat advisories on their electronic signs, and hot enough that people were urged to stay cool...

Well, it was also Fourth of July weekend, and Echo Lake was packed with cars, people, and pets.  I took the boat taxi across the lakes, and then started up the trail, taking it slow, stopping at times in the shade to cool off, and making sure I not only drank enough water, but also took in enough eletrolytes to stay healthy. It worked.  I arrived at Lake Aloha in time to enjoy my lunch, filter more water, and make plans for the rest of the day.  

One of the rangers had recommended a new route to Zone 39--America, Channel and Desolation Lakes, and I pored over the map to determine just exactly how I would tackle it this time.  And I found a fun route that followed a wide granite ramp up from Lake Aloha that took me into the hinterlands, far from trails, and into the heart of Zone 39.  

I explored the many tiny lakes there, and made contact with Channel Lake and the outlet the leads down the canyon to Desolation Lake where I camped last time. And then walked back along the shore of American Lake to the spillway at Lake Aloha, and followed Aloha's shore back to my ramp, and my campsite.  The sun radiating off that white granite packs a punch!

Yeah, just about everyone was camped closer than the 100 foot limit that is specified on the permit. I spoke to a few who offered to move, others who offered to restore their site when they left. I cleaned up everything from micro-trash to toilet paper, restored a couple of sites on American Lake, and stopped in at Tamarack Lake to check on things there, with similar results. 

I spent the rest of the second day at Echo Lake, talking to be people at the trailhead, and urging them to use caution, keep cool, and drink as if their lives depended on it.  

Man, it was hot.  90 degrees F at Echol Lake, at 8,000 feet.  That's hot. 

But the reflections in Lake Aloha that morning were pretty darn nice. 

Since I'm spending quite a few days up in the Desolation Wilderness this summer, I've started a photo log of my trips, starting in late June through the rest of the summer. 

Here's a link to the photos so far: https://photos.app.goo.gl/khFRypJtoZLBWoY28

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