Echo Lake to Susie Lake
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The Start
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This trip begins in September 2013 just as the Rim Fire was dying down. Now even though the fire was out, there was still TONS of smoke. We almost cancelled this trip but decided to continue on and I'm glad we did.

After a pretty awesome drive into the Tahoe area we get to the Echo Lake Resort and situate our gear. The marina was closed that day but there were cars everywhere. We decided to park on the hilly street and hike it down to the marina. Next to the docks is a bridge and the start of our trip. This actually took abit of searching for and wasted almost 30 mins of time. There was nobody around to ask.

It is now about 4pm and we have a few hours left of sunlight so we get moving. There is a trail junction just outside of the marina where you can get great vistas of Lake Tahoe and the smoke. We stopped there for pics and continued up what we thought was the trail. It wasn't.

An hour later we realize we are now scrambling on the tallest peak of Echo Lake and out of sheer luck we see the actual trail below us. This is a two hour detour that sucked alot of energy and daylight out of our trip and would change the course of history forever.

What a Night
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So what we cannot show in pictures is what happened last night. After passing up Tamarack Lake it got dark and cold fast. Before we knew it we were hiking in the dark by headlamp. We were tired and cold but we kept on, looking for a clearing to setup camp. During the night we passed up Lake of the Woods and Lake Aloha.

It was about 10pm when we decided to stop. Where were we? No clue but we put out a tarp and slept on the ground next to the trail. Kind of a no-no in the backcountry rule book but we needed to stop. After a trailside dinner and nightcap we watched the stars pass by and was out by 11pm.

Daybreak came way too fast and as it did, so did other hikers. Apparently we planned the trip alongside a trail maintenence weekend with tons of Rangers and volunteers. We were stopped at least 3 times and asked for our permits, luckily we had them otherwise that would have been an expensive weekend.

Heather lake was off to our left and we continued onto Susie Lake.

Trail Ponds
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Still on the Pacific Coast Trail, we continued on to view some really neat looking Trail Ponds. They were surprisingly deep and clear with small minnows swimming everywhere.

I imagine in the summer (if its still around) this would be a good swimming hole.

Susie Lake
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It really didn't take us very long to get to Susie Lake from were we were and luckily we got our pick on the campsites as we were the first ones there. We chose a nice spot on a hill, protected from the lake winds by the trees around us.

It was a perfect place to tryout my Trek Light Gear double hammock for the first time. About that. Nothing against the hammock, it did its job fine. I although was unprepared for the cold. I brought my North Face Cat's Meow (20 degree) bag and a military bivy to fight the cold and dew but it did nothing for me. I tossed and turned all night and hardly slept. Unless its hot outside I don't thing Ill be using the hammock. Hammock = summer time fun.

After we setup camp we decided to test out the fishing in the lake.

Fishing on Susie Lake
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After getting some advice from the last Ranger we saw, we hiked to the far side of the lake and started fishing. We've been told that this would have been a great spot for it but we caught nothing other than snags.

It ended up being a great place to go for a swim and layout in the warm sun so thats what I did. No fish, but good tan.

The Walk Back
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The walk back from our fishing spot to our camp was a bit of an adventure. We ended up doing it 3 or 4 times during our stay and never got easier. Scrambling, crawling, dirt, lizards and crickets were everywhere.

Everything but fish

Hiking Out
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Because we really didn't get a good look at the hike on the way in because it was pitch black, we made sure to enjoy our pack out and that is exactly what we did.

It was a beautiful day and perfect for a hike.

Heather Lake
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The sun was shinning in full effect which made any opportunity in the shade a welcome one.

Luckily Heather Lake provided a bit of shade for us.

Lake Aloha
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Lake Aloha is a pretty awesome sight. It looks like a volcano erupted last week and was filled in with water. Quite surreal and I'm glad we had a second chance at viewing this wonder.

Tamarack Lake
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Passing Lake Aloha we again start to recognize the terrain. We reach Tamarack Lake which tells us we are very close to both Echo Lakes.

Upper and Lower Echo lakes looks great from up here. It is probably mid 80s with great visibilty. No Smoke! Lets continue on.

Smoke no More
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Leaving the way we came it has its advantages. You understand the terrain and know how much you can push yourself at each bend.

We really pushed ourselves on the way out and our time shows. Had a great time and would come back in a heartbeat if only to catch that elusive fish.