OHE October 30, 1998 (c)

Date: Tue, 10 Nov 1998 15:41:59 -1000
From: Patrick Rorie (prorie@hekili.k12.hi.us>
Subject: A Taste of the High Sierras Part 2

== Part 2 - "Winter Cometh Early to Echo Lake"

Arose at 9 a.m. on Saturday, October 24th, to the sound of strong gusts outside. I had slept in the bedroom while Peter did like-wise in the main room of the cabin next to the large windows facing the porch. Following a shave and the brushing of teeth I gathered wood for the fire. Overcast skies with 30 mph winds prevailed, snow was predicted for the evening. Peter and I consumed a late breakfast from 10 to 11:15 a.m. and shortly before 11:30 a.m. it began to snow.

The two of us took a short hike down to the pier and then to the channel which separates upper and lower Echo Lake. Pete wanted to check the water level in the channel to see if we could float his canoe thru it in order to pick up the rest of our supplies. During the trip Dr. Caldwell brought to my attention two huge jeffrey pines. Upon arriving at the channel, we noticed that the water level was low but flowing. The strong gusts whipped the water and created white caps on the lake. Also, minimal visibility existed across the lake due to the snow storm. The two of us studied other cabins along the banks to see if any were occupied (almost all were closed for the winter) and enjoyed the tramping experience as the white flakes flowed down from above. A temperature of thirty degrees allowed the snow to stick to the ground and on the side of the trees.

As soon as we returned to the cabin, Peter fired up the stove, a good amount of snow continued coming down rapidly. The two of us ate lunch and at 2:22 p.m. the wind died down. It stopped snowing half an hour later so I went outside and descended to the pier to have a look at the surrounding region. The trees and slopes across the lake were covered beautifully with a nice dusting of the white stuff and I built a small snowman out of the snow that had accumulated on the dock. Took a nap from 3:21 until 4:55 p.m. then returned to the pier, could hear and feel the crunch-crunch-crunch of snow under foot.

In order to keep cabin fever from setting in, Peter and I ventured out again at 5:43 p.m. We went for a hike along a mule trail covered with five inches of snow to a lookout of upper and lower Echo Lake. Flakes of frozen water began falling again during the trek but not as intensely as before. Next, the two of us dropped down to a former Boy Scout lodge area (Camp Harvey West) and studied the glassy lake. Darkness set in as we headed back to the cabin but the whiteness of the snow made it possible to see without the aid of flashlights. Noticed the crescent moon and the planet Venus in the night sky and animal tracks (cayote?) in the snow.

Reached the cabin at 6:51 p.m. Peter rekindled the fire while I used the airplane-like toilet located inside a small wooden building behind the cabin. Half an hour later I went back outside to enjoy the star/planet action but cloud cover obscured the crescent moon. From 8:08 until 9:30 p.m. dinner preparations, consumption of the evening meal (Pete boiled way to much angel hair pasta!) and washing of dishes took place. The skies were overcast and it was snowing as I made one final visit to the dock at 10 p.m. Retired for the evening at 11:15 p.m.

Next: Part 3 - "Another Day of Winter"

== Paka

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