Dick’s Lake to Eagle Falls Trailhead
Silence. Dead silence was our night (except for the stupid sleeping pads). It is almost a little creepy how silent it was last night. Sleeping was hard for me, because the silence was actually overwhelmingly loud. It’s hard to explain how it can be silent and loud at the same time. I think we always get used to hearing noise, so that when it becomes totally silent, our brains can’t quite handle it.
Gannon wakes before sunrise (as usual) and slowly makes his way out of the tent. He heads down to the lake to filter some water and take some sunrise photos. It is hard for both of us to get up today. This trip has not been long enough. We want to keep going. We are not ready to head back to civilization yet.
We do our usual camp chores, drink our coffee, and eat breakfast. I usually love our breakfasts of instant cheesy mashed potatoes with bacon bits. This morning I hate every bite. I’m craving Pop Tarts. With every bite, I am just wishing it was a bite of sugary Pop Tart goodness. I get to the point that I just cannot stand to eat another bite and pack my potatoes away in the trash (Leave no trace. Pack out what you pack in). I make a mental note that next trip, I’m bringing Pop Tarts. Raspberry or Blueberry with frosting.
The loud lady is gone. Actually, everyone is gone. We are usually the last to leave our sites in the mornings. We have not found a routine yet that gets us out of our sites within 2-3 hours of waking. That is ok though; we have an easy day ahead of us and are in no rush to leave this beautiful place.
It is a nice hike down from Dick’s Lake to Fontanillis Lake. What a lovely day. What a gorgeous lake. I am a bit ahead of Gannon and decide to stop and take a short video of the lake. We are hiking right on the edge of this lake. It is long, deep, and crystal clear. Big rocks and boulders line the edges and it seems unreal that we are here and get to experience this. As I am filming this, Gannon does something that makes my entire trip! He trips on a rock and says the magical words that have me rolling every time I hear them. “Whoops a daisy!” Really? Out in the middle of nowhere, he is tripping, and he says “whoops a daisy”? A grown man choosing to say “whoops a daisy” as his first choice for almost falling. I love him for that. God bless Hugh Grant for making it an endearing saying for grown men everywhere. Julia Roberts falls in love with Hugh Grant after saying it in the movie Notting Hill. I already love Gannon, so instead I just think it is the most hilarious thing I’ve heard in 3 days.
We are now climbing up Eagle Pass. It’s not too difficult, but as you know, climbing is never my favorite thing to do. As we approach the top of the pass, we can start to see Emerald Bay and Lake Tahoe out in the distance. We pass a young female ranger and her yellow lab mix dog. We talk with her and find out she is heading up to do some rangering for 3 days. I tell her she has my dream job! How amazing to do this and get paid for it! A few dayhikers are at the pass and tell us it is all downhill and easy from here. Hooray for that! I’m good at downhill and easy.
As we start to make our way downhill, things start getting a bit steep and more technical. By technical, I mean big rocks and boulders to step down and around. Lots of them. Over and over. They are killer on the knees and feet. Plus your arms, as you have to plant your poles down in front of you before each step from the boulder. We pass a young couple who look like they are headed out for a few days. I say my obligatory, “Hi! Good morning.” He is having none of it. He does not even look at me. How rude! We continue to pass more day and overnight hikers as we make our way down this trail. About half-way down, I am now realizing why that guy did not say anything to me. This trail is horrible! I hate it. I tell Gannon that I am never doing this trail ever again. It is hard and steep and technical. I get it now buddy! I’m soo sorry for judging you. He’s coming up this horrible thing. I’ve been there. He has mentally checked out. Just get me to the top or bottom (whichever way you’re going). Don’t speak to me. I’m on autopilot and just doing the best I can to get to my destination. Oh gosh. I feel bad for making such a rash judgment and apologize in my head to him. I hope he made it fine to wherever he was headed.
We come across a family out hiking for the day. The guy stops to talk with us as he used to backpack and is trying to get his wife to do a trip someday. He is very friendly and we have a nice conversation about hiking and also about smelling bad. As we leave, he says to Gannon that we don’t smell that bad and that at least Gannon does not smell as bad as me! What? I think he just did a faux pas. You can joke with another guy about smelling bad, but you should not say that about a lady standing right next to you. At least if you know what is good for you! That’s ok though. I’m proud of my smelliness. It means I have done something significant. Something none of them are doing. I’ve been working hard and enjoying every minute of it!
Another couple further down the trail is a bit older than us and is out for a small day hike. They seem clueless that we are coming in from backpacking and ask me to take their photo. Oh dear. My hands are shaking badly from the amount of energy I have been consuming trying to get down this trail. Not just physical energy, but also verbal. I don’t seem to choose as nice of words like my “whoops a daisy” husband. I never say them out loud, but God sure knows how I feel about this trail. They are a super sweet couple, but wanted to talk a lot. We had arranged for Gannon’s brother, Clint and his wife Leslie to pick us up that day. We had spoken briefly with them when we had cell service on the trail a little ways back and knew they were there and waiting for us. There was added pressure now to make good time. No time for chatting. We are on a mission. Down and down we go on what feels like a million stone stairs. Man, they really did put a lot of work into this trail. Maybe I would like it more on a dayhike? I, however, will never know the answer to that, as I vowed earlier to never step foot on it again.
We hear Clint and Leslie from beyond the trees. We are happy we are almost there. We are happy to see them after soo long. They are always fun to be with and we have shared some of the best times of our lives with them. And now, we are getting ready to celebrate another one. Their son is getting married. Our 2 sons and 1 pregnant wife are coming up tomorrow to join us. It is wonderful that we will all be together, even if it is for a few short days.
Their jeep is loaded up with our stuff and they drive us back to our SUV at Echo Lake where we started 3 days ago. It’s now time to come back to reality. We are happy and sad at the same time. This is most definitely the start to many more adventures for us. Our prayer is that God opens doors for us to continue to do this for years to come.
We treat Clint and Leslie to dinner for the gracious shuttling they have done for us. As per tradition, Gannon and I eat burgers and an ice cold beer. What a great way to end a trip!