At the trailhead we discovered the parking fee that used to cost $3 (and before that was free) now costs $5. Luckily we scrounged up enough cash.
We decided to access Desolation Valley from the popular day-hiking spot, Horsetail Falls.
The route quickly steepens.
Hard to tell but this is actually the trail.
The main crux of HTF.
An hour and a half or so and we're on top of Horsetail Falls.
Don't go that way.
Heading north we aim for the west shore of Ropi Lake and beyond to the dam at Toem Lake.
Pyramid Peak from Toem.
There are no official trails to Lake Aloha from this section of Desolation Valley so you just aim NW cross country. The main crux is a cliff band beyond Teom Lake that blocks entrance to the next shelf near Pyramid and Waca lakes. This section looks worse than it was.
This was as bad as it looks.
But with some basic scrambling we are soon past it and back on the rolling granite.
After 5 miles os so of hiking, snow and Lake Aloha finally come into view.