Mileage: 10.0 miles (65%)
Start/End:Echo Lakes/Showers Lake
Highlights: Grueling climb out of Echo Summit; Spectacular views of Lake Valley near Showers Lake
Echo Lakes has a peculiarly rustic yet exclusive feel to it: the TRT here is flanked by ‘Keep Out’ and ‘No Lake Access’ signs. Three story summer homes with vinyl windows and rolltop steel shutters intersperse 100-year-old shake-sided shacks.
To my surprise, several local sheriffs were waiting at the marina when I got to the far side of Lower Echo as a small fishing boat ferried them, six at a time, across the lake. I would later learn that the sheriffs, as well as that annoying helicopter, were part of a successful search and rescue mission initiated by friends of Chris Major, who inadvertently spent an extra night in Desolation.
Dusk found me nearing Showers Lake and although I really wanted to climb Little Round Top and camp there to watch sunset, my feet begged for no extra elevation. I descended to the lake and nestled in among the rocks on the far side, where I was greeted, to my surprise, by refuse left by previous backpackers.