Echo Update and Cabin Patrol
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SUMMARY 2005-2006:

Jim did our first, full, cabin patrol in late November. No cabin intrusion or damage was discovered (although we are aware of two episodes of animal intrusion that occurred in mid-late October).  We will carry out patrols throughout the winter, with emphasis on post-storm timing and/or if we hear of any problems in the vicinity.  Jim Drennan, David Durein, William Demus, Carl Einarsson and Tom will be doing patrols this winter. 

JANUARY and FEBRUARY: Again, no cabin damage noted on the latest patrols. 

MARCH and APRIL: Again, no cabin damage noted on our latest patrols.

    There is an extremely heavy and dense snow pack on Echo Lakes Road and around the South Shore cabins. A Mountain Democrat article this week reports 198% snow pack / water content at Echo Summit. The lake is still solidly frozen.  Unless we have a run of warm weather (hopefully with some rain) it is very unlikely that we will be open for Memorial Day.  We will re-evaluate the situation just before the ELA meeting on May 6th. (See below)

Echo Lake 4-22-06

WINTER PATROL 4-22-06 - OPTIMIZED.jpg (29258 bytes)

Past and Future Crew

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Cabins in April 2006

Patrol 4-22-06 A.jpg (51116 bytes)

Patrol 4-22-06 B.jpg (108836 bytes)

Patrol 4-22-06 C.jpg (66540 bytes)


Following a week of warm weather there has been some snow pack reduction in the Echo Lakes area.  Nevertheless, what remains is significantly above normal for this time of year, and this includes a heavy build up in front of the Chalet and around the boathouse.  

Chalet 5-4-06.JPG (76566 bytes)

Whether we can successfully plow in for Memorial Day remains problematic, and heavy water inflow into Echo Lakes will delay the placing of flashboards by E.I.D. This is reminiscent of last year when we had unloaded the boathouse but could safely leave boats  in the harbor due to low water levels. 

Echo Road and Berkeley Camp Spur

Echo Road Berkeley Camp 5-4--06.JPG (75532 bytes)

Echo Road Cabin 5-4-06

Echo Road 5-4-06.JPG (74321 bytes)

Good Company

Brady 5-4-06 (2).JPG (83598 bytes)

We will update the website on a weekly basis until we have a firm opening date in mind.

Jim, Jen and Bella on patrol

Jim and Bella.jpg (46340 bytes)

Jen and Bella.jpg (76044 bytes)

North Side.jpg (63660 bytes)

As usual, we will inform individual cabin owners of any problems discovered on winter patrol.


Mostly good news: We were blessed with mild weather for most of the end-of-season closure activities.  There were, however,  a couple of impressive windstorms which caused damage to boats in the finger-pier area.  In low-water conditions boats may be unable to float with the wind-induced wave action, and can bottom out in the harbor.  The waves can then wash over the stern or gunnels and sink the boat. Watercraft may also ride under a pier and cause damage to the boat and dock. This is a reminder to please exercise caution when docking a boat in the spring or fall.

Sorta bad news: With the (long-time) passing of an agrarian school calendar, we lost many crew members  before Labor Day, and were rapidly reduced to a three, then two, then a one-person operation. Nevertheless, we did manage to wrap up the Chalet's winterization procedures before the Thanksgiving holiday.  

We are trying out a different pattern of winter storage for our rental boats and multiple trailers. Hopefully the equipment will remain secure and not sustain snow damage (we'll find out next spring). In any case, it does make the main pier much more attractive, and less cumbersome (no trailers to climb over). Note the (repaired) 3rd section of the boom next to the ramp. It will be re-attached next summer.

October 2005 Pier and Boom.JPG (78374 bytes)



Late October 2005

October 2005.JPG (77745 bytes)

December 13, 2005, Thin ice over 80% of Lower Echo

12-13-05 Echo.JPG (76957 bytes)

NOTE: The El Dorado Irrigation District (EID) has a very nice website, including on-line water level monitoring for Project 184 (including Echo Lake). Full storage is about 1845 acre-feet (or 6 feet of water above natural run-off). 


Starting before Echo Lakes Day (first Saturday in August) and continuing for another two weeks, the Echo Lakes Association, in cooperation with the Chalet, carried out a massive, lake-wide cleanup.  Somewhere in the range of 150 cubic yards of accumulated material was loaded into dumpsters for disposal. Here is a "representative" Moby-load (note the all-volunteer crew headed up by John Oakes):

EchoTrashRun2005.jpg (57076 bytes)


Historical Notes - spring 2005

Mid-morning 6-20-05:  Note the low water level and the sunken boat on the Homeowner's Pier (a victim of high winds and rain on 6-17 and 6-18)

Low Water 6-20-05A.jpg (88955 bytes)

JUNE 16th  

Believe it or not, it is beginning to SNOW again at Echo (with predictions of up to one foot accumulation)!  It is quite cold and windy - looks like winter!

 E.I.D. removed some flashboards today due to concern of too rapid a rise in lake level (they received a "high alarm" from their monitors and returned this afternoon).  The snowmelt / inflow is in the range of 300 cubic feet/second, and our normal outflow at this time of year would be around 20-30 cfs.  

Snow coming this way 6-16-05:

Snow on the way 6-16-05.JPG (76065 bytes)

To date we have not had enough traffic to justify routine store hours. Our taxi boats have operated in a very limited fashion, and we have not attempted passage through the channel to Upper Echo. Given the extreme thru flow rates, the channel may present an unacceptable risk to our large taxi boats and motors.

JUNE 17th: (Historical Note)

In case you wondered......the weatherman was correct.  Not quite a foot deep, but still enough to remind us how the weather controls our operation. This picture was taken at 0540 and it shows no sign of letting up. 

SNOW 6-17-05 AM.jpg (73705 bytes)


Echo 6-10-05 AM.JPG (76473 bytes)

Echo 6-8-05 (Note the fresh snow on the roofs and docks):

Echo 6-8-2005.JPG (78451 bytes)

LOWER ECHO 6-04-05 PM:

ECHO 6-4-05.JPG (78493 bytes)  

ECHO LAKE 5-20-05 (1).JPG (79018 bytes)


Echo Chalet 4-13-05, compare with 5-03-05:

EC2 4-13-05.jpg (73280 bytes)

Echo Chalet 5-3-05  Note the snow melt and open water at the Dam

EC 5-3-05.JPG (77774 bytes)

2005 Picture for Cole - Happy New Year

For Cole 2005.jpg (65503 bytes)

Recall that we did have cabin "intrusions" this past summer, and owners were advised to take the necessary steps to minimize wildlife attraction. Consider placing the following Fish and Game website in your "favorites" - it will be kept current and is quite informative:

EL2004 (2).JPG (73563 bytes)

Winter patrol picture for Cole (2004)

Cabin patrols are conducted by Jim Drennan, Tom Fashinell, David Durein, and William Demus 

For cabin-owners not on our list,  I would offer the following reasons for "signing up":

    1. It only costs $60 / year (and we intend to maintain this low rate for the foreseeable future).

    2. We do on-site minor repairs at the time of patrol (no extra charge), and will notify you immediately if there is a need for follow-up / materials / special tools / snow-shoveling / etc. etc. 

    2. It may lower home-owners insurance rates, if you notify your agent of the patrol service (sort of like the discount for an alarm system).

    3. We do watch over the general area when not on formal patrol (yes, you can benefit from this even without being on our list, but we might be more inclined to tackle an intruder  if we felt responsible for your cabin's well-being / contents ....).

    4. It makes us very uncomfortable to walk by a cabin, notice something amiss, and not report it. In the past six years we have had several occasions to give unsubscribed owners a "courtesy call" about problems we have found, and those calls seemed to have fallen into a category of "no good deed goes noticed".  SO, we will make every effort NOT to look at the cabins off the patrol list.  This is reminiscent of  the military policy of "don't ask, don't tell".

    5. Last but not least, the patrol gives Tom an excuse to get some badly needed aerobic exercise.   


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South-facing view above Dartmouth Cove 12/9/03

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Looking East towards the Chalet 12/9/03

See past and current pictures in the Archive...

A reminder of our late start this year: Lower Echo Lake as of 5-30-03



Two years ago we sent the following letter to all Chaletlee guests. For 2015, we had no output from our horizontal wells, and the aquifers had not recovered by the end of our season. 

July 6, 2013

To all Chaletlee guests:

As many of you know, Echo Chalet is dependent on spring supplied water and we are currently experiencing a severe water shortage. Last year’s snowpack was just 17% of normal and the current inflow to our spring is equivalent to what we typically see in September.

This has placed our Chaletlee operation in jeopardy for the remainder of the summer and we wanted to let you know both where things currently stand and what we propose to do.

First, in order to maximize our chances of staying open and protect your reservation, we are not accepting any new reservations for the balance of the summer. Second, we are doing all we can, along with our guests, to conserve water. Third, we’ve made an emergency request to the Forest Service to allow us to install an additional water storage tank. This would allow us to buy water to serve the store thus safeguarding more water for the Chaletlees.

Unfortunately, none of these measures guarantee that we will be able to keep the Chaletlees open all summer. We very much regret the uncertainty this brings to your summer plans but we wanted to write now so that you could make alternative plans.

Here is what we suggest…If you wish to cancel, we understand and will provide a full refund. Just let us know as soon as you’ve made this decision. If you want to keep your existing reservation, we will keep you apprised of the situation and let you know as soon as possible if we have to close the Chaletlees. In which case we will of course provide a full refund.

Last, as some of you know, we’ve tried for years to work with the Forest Service to develop environmentally sound strategies to backup our existing spring system. We’re hopeful that we can find a way forward to accomplish that and will keep you posted on those efforts as well.

Again, we very much regret this potential disruption in your summer plans and we appreciate your patience as we jointly try to work through this difficult situation.

Thank you,

Tom and Kat Fashinell


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