Day 69 – 6/29/16
Lake Tahoe 1092.26 to Miller Creek 1120.41
Total miles: 28.15
No more sleeping in until 7:30 and getting a nice big breakfast. 5 Star and I were up at 5:30 getting ready to leave at 6. We packed up and did a quick check of the room and then we were off in the car. We stopped at McDonald’s to grab a quick breakfast before heading back to the trail at Echo Lake.
We arrived at the Echo Lake Chalet by 6:30. I said goodbye to my parents and 5 Star and I started for the trail. I definitely missed my parents and I was a little sad to be back on the trail. A big part of me wants to be home. I miss my dog and cat terribly. The good news is that in 60 miles I’ll be 1,500 miles from the border. 5 Star and I plan on pounding the trail from 5:30 am to 7 pm. We definitely will be putting down some serious mileage. If we average 30 miles a day going forward, which we won’t, it would only take 50 more days. If we average a more reasonable 25 miles per day we would be done in 60 days. We would be done at the end of August. That’s exciting and a huge motivation.
We made our way to the trail. The trail follows along side Echo Lake. It is incredibly rocky. I’m wearing a different style shoe that is a bit higher. It has twice the sole thickness as the Lone Peaks. The increased height seemed to put more stress on my ankle whenever I stepped on a rock that was slanted. It’s nice walking on flat ground since the increased thickness helps to cushion from the hard and jagged rocks.
Along the shore are several cabins that seemed to be accessible by boat. They seem to be cabins that you can rent but I’m not sure. The trail is about 25 feet behind the cabins. Imagine renting one and seeing homeless looking people peering through your windows all day. Begging for food and sodas.
At the end of the lake the trail starts to go up about 1,000 feet over 2 miles. There are lakes everywhere. We entered Desolation Wilderness. Sounds ominous.
We pass by Lake Aloha. It’s a pretty amazing lake. It reminds me of 1,000 Island Lake back after Glen Pass I believe.
We pass by even more lakes. Seriously, there are lakes everywhere today! And junctions to those lakes so we are constantly having to double check we are going the right way.
We pass a junction and start heading to climb up Dick’s Pass. So funny. Giggling to myself the entire time. Yes I’m 30 years old and still laugh at these things!The climb is about 1,300 feet over 3 miles. Not the steepest pass but still making me sweat.
I reach what I thought was the top but was just a view of the north side where you can look down at Dick’s Lake. Unfortunately there is this crappy white stuff all over Dick’s Pass.
However, there is a silver lining. Dick’s Pass is at 9,377 feet. The trail will never go above 9,000 feer after this. Woo! In 70 miles the trail won’t go over 8,000 feet! It’s all downhill from here! This hopefully is the last of the large amount of snow. I’m so excited. I just can’t hide it. I might lose control and I just might like it.
We reach the top and check for service. A couple bars of 4G but no data. Oh well. I respond to a text and we start making our way down Dick’s Pass. The snow is slow going and the footsteps from others are almost gone. 5 Star checks the navigation app and I follow him. We come to where there are switchbacks but they ate completely covered in snow. So we just go straight down cutting across the switchbacks until we reach the last one and follow it going over snow patches.
Eventually the snow subsides and we are left with a snow free trail. A wet and muddy trail but snow free. Well mostly snow free every once in awhile there is a small snow patch. Although these help in avoiding the wet and muddy trail.
By this time I’m starving. Ready for a break. The trail is still dropping but not too much. We are keeping our eye out for a nice flat and shaded spot. Preferably next to a creek. Unfortunately the trail is a bit rocky and the trees are starting to thin. Eventually we find a shaded spot but no creek. I stuff my face with food determined to lighten my food bag. After I satisfy the bottomless pit I lay back and relax a bit.
The days of long lunches are over though. Before too long we are on the move. We’ve done about 15 miles and we need at least another 10 at minimum. The trail is behaving quite nicely. Relatively flat with a slight decline and no snow. There are a couple creeks to cross but I was able to avoid getting my feet wet. We do a couple power hours of 3 mph but I’m starting to slow down when the trail goes up. It’s starting to get hot and dry.
After a couple hours there are no more lakes and creeks. Plenty of mosquitoes though. I start running low on water. 5 Star checks the navigation app and there is a creek 3.5 miles away. I have less than half a liter. Guess the days of water every where are coming to an end. We take note that we will have to pay attention to where water is.
We make it to the creek and there is supposed to be camping spots. We see one but it’s tiny. 5 Star scouts ahead to look for more spots while the blood suckers swarm me. 5 Star returns a few minutes later and says there is a spot across the creek. The trail crosses it anyways. I pick up my pack and follow. We get to a somewhat breezy spot and I immediately set up my tent. After is hive everything in my tent I run back to the creek with my dirty water bladder and get water to filter. I jump into my tent before the mosquitoes can and filter my water.
I eat some food and here 5 Star brushing his teeth. I look out my tent and see him off to the side looking down the hill when he says “there is a motorcycle over here.”
“Really? A dirt bike?” I respond.
I get out of my tent to brush my teeth and to go have a look. I hobble over since rigor mortise has set in and everything is stiff. Sure enough there is an old dirt bike next to a tree. Looks like it’s from the 80s. Wonder how long it’s been there and what happened.
I hobble quickly back to my tent and jump in. I kill a few mosquitoes but I miss one and it tries to extract my precious life force from my big toe. Swat! Die you bastard!
Hoping tomorrow is another easy day. The elevation chart doesn’t look too bad. Let’s see what these lean and mean hiker legs can do! Broke a personal record today with 28.15 miles. The previous record of 27 miles was way back at Walker Pass on Day 36.
In other news my phone did an update while in Tahoe. I have a Samsung Galaxy S5 and it came with an app called Samsung Health. Among all the crap it does it keeps track of my steps. I keep my phone in ultra power saving mode which gives me only 6 basic apps. Texting, calling, calculator, memo, chrome, and emergency alerts. It allows me to extend the life of the battery for a long time. Anyways, the step counter didn’t work while in this mode but after the update it does. I did over 65,500 steps. The app says I did 29.5 miles. Which would include any ancillary walking I did. You Fitbitters need to catch up!