Echo Lake to Truckee

Echo Lake to Truckee

June 15, 2014

Start: Halfmile 1094.5
End: Halfmile 1101.0
Distance: 6.5 Mi
Cumulative: 1,172.5 Mi

The past few days in Tahoe were filled with great company. I got to meet up with Kelly (who I haven’t seen since high school – 10 years!) and her boyfriend, Drew, at Stateline Brewery. I feel like I did all the talking; hope it wasn’t too dull. I was just so excited to see you guys! Thanks so much for dinner. You didn’t have to do that. Sorry I missed you this morning. Didn’t get to say bye, so I’m saying it now: Byyyye, so glad you guys came!

This morning, I met up with Deanna, Allisha, Shanna, and Marrissa. I dropped a line yesterday that I was in Tahoe, and they threw together a reunion in just a few hours. I was all like “Hey, I’m here,” and the scramble was on. It was impressive. We grabbed breakfast at Heidi’s, where we had an interesting waitress. We laughed a lot. It was like we were old friends, though I’ve only ever met the four of them once before. We had an epic – though uneventful – evac in Yosemite after Deanna broke her ankle three years ago. We’ve just stayed in touch since, and we hit the ground running today. It was familiar, like we’d been friends forever.

Grabbed my sleeping bag at Echo Lake on my way out this afternoon. Now I’m 0/4. I wonder if this means I’ve started a new round of “all things happen in 3’s.” I hope not. I only hiked 7 miles out tonight, but the whole time I had this nagging feeling that I’d forgotten something. I realized that I couldn’t remember putting my camera charger in my pack before I left the hotel. I must have packed it, but I couldn’t remember doing so. This wouldn’t be the first time I was certain I couldn’t have been silly enough to forget something, and then it turned out that I had indeed forgotten that something. I was shocked when I got to camp and checked my dry sack only to find the charger and both batteries securely stowed. Now I’m just being paranoid.

June 16, 2014

Start: Halfmile 1101.0
End: Halfmile 1138.0
Distance: 37.0 Mi
Cumulative: 1,209.5 Mi

Didn’t set an alarm last night, so I didn’t even stir this morning until around 8a. Finally broke camp and hit the trail around 830a. Those are the best mornings, just sleeping until your body is ready to get up. Waking up as the sun shimmered on Lake Aloha and the Crystal Range jetted up in the background wasn’t a bad deal either. Putting in the 29 miles I had planned seemed an unreasonable goal, so I just resolved to cover the ground I could cover. No pressure.

It was windy and cloudy all day. After topping out on Dick’s Pass, I spent much of the afternoon in the forested lowlands, so I was afforded a reprieve. The bugs still haven’t been bad, so I wonder if I’m just ahead of Mosquito Season.

Managed to reach my proposed campsite around 7p, but it was relatively small and already inhabited by three tents. I figured I’d just hike until I reached another water source. Next thing I knew, I was on switchbacks cut into a steep side slope, then an exposed ridge that stretched for miles. I’d read about this in the guidebook: 5 miles of exposed, windy ridgeline. It was gorgeous as the sun set, but the wind was icy and persistent. My hands were numb. I didn’t wanna backtrack and impose, so I pushed forward into the crosswind. These weren’t the toughest conditions I’d endured, but I was in no mood. Still I found time for some photos, not wanting to miss the opportunity just because I was uncomfortable. Before long, the sun disappeared behind the horizon, leaving me to the merciless wind. Finally – an hour later – the trail dipped below treeline and a short bit after that I was crossing a creek in a flat area. Done, camp. I’d put in 13 hours and covered an unprecedented 37 miles. Ah well, 8 fewer to cover tomorrow.

I’m out of the wind and looking forward to Truckee tomorrow. Just 18 miles between me and Hwy 40. Cake.

June 17, 2014

Start: Halfmile 1138.0
End: Halfmile 1155.5
Distance: 17.5 Mi
Cumulative: 1,227.0 Mi

Made Hwy 40 by 130p. Moment of truth: back to Tahoe or forward? Gave myself 20 minutes to catch a ride to Truckee. Ten minutes, boom. I wanted to send out a resupply package to Seiad Valley anyways, so I figured I could do that there. I got in and immediately went to Panda Express, still not having completely committed to the hour-long hitch down to SLT. All things happen for a reason. My fortune cookie sealed the deal: I was Tahoe-bound.

Stumbled across the public transit system on my way to the edge of town. The next bus was only 10 minutes away and the fare only a $1.75. I hopped on and scored a free transfer at Tahoe City. Made it to Sugar Pine Point, the end of the line, about 5p. Threw the ol’ thumb out and caught a ride in a septic truck. First time for everything. He dropped me at the Y-intersection in the middle of town. It took me two days to reach Hwy 40 from South Lake Tahoe and about as many hours to get back. Mountain Goat and Goat Mama whisked me away a short while later.

Before I knew it, I was clean, watching the College World Series and about to stuff myself so full that I legitimately thought I might chuck. Don’t worry, I kept every precious calorie down, much to my surprise. I’ve never been that full in my life. And I hope I never am again. It was so good, I just couldn’t stop eating. I was already beyond uncomfortably full, then I had dessert. Who says “no” to homemade blueberry pie and Ben & Jerry’s ice cream? Not this guy.

In a few minutes, I’ll be off to bed, but literally this time. Like a real bed, with a mattress and a pillow. I was originally thinking that I’d just stay the night, then head back up to the trail, but now I’m thinking I could zero here. What’s the rush? One zero, that’s it. Promise. (Maybe.) I do what I want.