The Fountain of Youth

Ponce de León was way off.

By: Ryan McQueen
June 23, 2016

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Tucked away amongst some of the highest peaks in the Tahoe area, a glacial pond forms for a few brief weeks. What else to do but hike in with ski gear and take advantage!

Discovered just a few years ago, this overnight hike/camp/bootpack/skin/ski/swim trip, into Desolation Wilderness in California, is a killer way to find some fresh turns to celebrate the incredible season we had...and also keep it going!

Day One

We began with a boat taxi across Echo Lake, to a ~3hr hike to the moon-like scenery of Lake Aloha. On our journey, we definitely received quite a few strange looks from other hikers who weren't schlepping their ski gear in June. Weirdos. Once we reached the lake and setup camp, a much needed dip was in order!

Next up, Jetboil dinners, bourbon, and getting lost in the reflections and the stars.

Day Two

What better way to wake up but with another dip in the lake?! Start the boot-pack to snow level, strap on the skins, and trudge onward, looking back every so often for the epic views of Lake Aloha, Jake's Peak, and Mt. Tallac.

Eventually cresting a ridge, we find what Ponce de León was looking for all along! Celebration bourbons are necessary. One more short boot-pack up to the peak, and...POND SKIM!!


Once we had our fill of the icy glacial pond water splashing in our face while gliding across this magical little gem, we hike all the way back out to Echo Lake to the awaiting boat taxi...and one more whiskey cheers!

Please respect the places you find on The Outbound.

Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures. Be aware of local regulations and don't damage these amazing places for the sake of a photograph.