Pacific Crest Trail Journals

Echo Lake to South Lake Tahoe via The Tahoe Rim Trail

July 7 – July 12, 2010

After an afternoon eating pizza in the outskirts of South Lake Tahoe, I caught a ride back to Echo Lake and squeezed in a few miles before dark. I had leftover pizza for dinner before falling asleep to the sun setting over Aloha Lake.

The following day took me through the Desolation Wilderness and eventually to the northern junction of the PCT and the Tahoe Rim Trail. I had already decided to finish the remaining 115 miles of the TRT that didn’t overlap with the PCT so it was with only brief hesitation that I left the PCT and committed myself to the Rim Trail. I had expected the Rim Trail to be easier than the PCT but within just a few miles of hiking on it the trail began a descent down a snow-covered and forested slope. As the twilight began to fade I lost and then abandoned the trail and made my way in the right direction. Fortunately I emerged from the snow and found the trail just as it was becoming too dark to hike without a headlamp and immediately made camp, enjoying the thrill of this new adventure.

The next morning dropped me into Tahoe City, where I couldn’t resist stopping for breakfast at Rosie’s Diner, before sending me back up above the lake along the north rim of Lake Tahoe. A friend from college named Chad was staying at his family’s house in north Tahoe and I spent the rest of the day eagerly anticipating visiting him there. In order to reach Brockway Summit (where he was picking me up) earlier I jogged sections of the trail, at one point nearly running a father and son off the trail. As they stared curiously at me I could only breathlessly exclaim “Meeting a friend for steak!”. The dad laughed and replied that he’d be running too.

I spent almost a full day at Chad’s and despite the terrific food and company and an invitation to stay a few days I was able to force myself back on the trail. From there it wasn’t even two full days of hiking before I met up with my dad and sister in South Lake Tahoe. They’d been driving cross country from Baltimore to Portland and it had worked out perfectly to meet them in the Tahoe area. I took my first full zero since Independence with them, replaced my shoes (which had 1,200+ miles on them), and spent the rest of my time either eating or moving as little as possible. I also unloaded all of my Sierra gear (crampons, ice axe, bear canister) on them, lightening my pack by at least 5 pounds.

As always my time off flew by fast and I soon found myself being driven back to the trailhead. Once I got back on there’d be just two more days of hiking on the Rim Trail and then, in order to skip the section of trail I’d already hiked, a long hitchhiking trip from Carson Pass up to Barker Pass.

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