Sunday, September 3, 2017


I woke before my alarm went off at 5am and was on the road home by 4:50. The cool thing about driving at that hour is the lack of traffic, and in today's case, the cooler temps. 

I drove in the dark till 6:30 or so then the sunrise started creeping up through the smoke filled sky. I didn't bother to take a picture as I was under the spell of the "horse to the stable" syndrome and I was on a mission to get home asap. 

I managed to beat most traffic, and I even stop at Trader Joe's on the way, and still got home at 9:30am. You know what they say about the early bird...

Once I arrived home I was faced with this mess to clean up. Almost a month away from home and my vehicle looked like a bomb went off inside of it. I did as much as I could, then I simply fell into a stupor. Because if this. 

What the hell?

There was a party to attend last night so I showered and gathered up my party persona and went to town. A group of friends has been having game night over the years and because I came home early, I got to attend this one. Plus make-your-own-tacos. Yummm. 

And the sunset was fine as well. 

So I guess this is it for now. I'll do a follow up post in a bit to wrap up this years hike and try to answer some questions folks have asked. In the meantime, thanks for following along. 

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Round-up

It was cool at Seven Oaks this morning, cool enough to have a cup of coffee sitting in the hot tub.  What kind of BLISS is that? The all caps kind. (Creepy looking hand though.)

I could have had delicious granola with fruit and milk but I've had granola every day, or almost every day, for three weeks so I opted to go to town and have bacon and eggs. Yummy, yummy, yummy. 

I took my leave of DW and thanked him again and again for his heroic drive to come get me. I hope he knows how much I appreciated his help. 

My last activity before heading back home was to drive to Kennedy Meadows and pick up the box I had sent there as my resupply. It's a couple hour drive so I wanted to do it when it was as cool as possible. 

Along the way I stopped in Jamestown at an "antique" store to see if I could find a belt at a decent price, since my pants were falling off. They were loose to begin with but now they are very loose. I rummaged around but couldn't find anything at a reasonable price so I gave up and headed on up the hill. 

While driving I realized something. I don't need a belt. I need something to hold my pants up! So when I arrived at KM I took come para cord I had with my camping stuff and cut me up a goodly length. I tied a bowline knot in one end, threaded it through my belt loops and tied it on with a half hitch. Perfect! Who needs a new belt? Ha!

I was very torn about whether or not to stay at KM for the night or drive home today.  It being the Friday before Labor Day weekend I knew the traffic would be grim, and the heat in the valley will be well over 100 degrees. Traffic and extreme heat or campground and hot but not melting temps? 

To help with the decision I drove around to see if I could get a site and found only one left. One. It is a crappy site, being in the full sun and all, but it is a place to stay so I snagged it. 

I was warned there is a human-food eating bear roaming these campgrounds and that this bear got some steak and tri-tip from someone last night. The campers ignored the pleadings of the campground hosts and now the bear knows to come back tonight for seconds, and thirds. Too bad because if the bear keeps getting a food reward it'll eventually be shot and killed. All because of human stupidity. 

Finally it got to be beer-thirty so I wandered over to the saloon. Football on the tube, Sierra Nevada cold and some real loud folks taking up space. Can it get anymore American than that?

The day bartender left and his replacement came on duty. I watched him get set up and then took a picture. Look how he lined up the bottles of hard stuff. 

I said I liked the way he organized his bottles and he said, "Yeah. I'm a bit OCD." I'll have to agree with him on that one. 

I went to the dining room to have the rib dinner and was disappointed with the food. It was ok but for the price it should have been better prepared. It was fine, just not great. Which is too bad since they're food has been great in the past. I'm thinking they need a new chef. 

The dining room is cool though. If you are partial to dead animal heads hanging on the walls. Or if you can ignore them. 

Finally, once the sun went down, I went back to the campsite to settle in for the night. It's weird being outdoors and surrounded by so many people and very large rv's and trailers. Not bad, just strange. 

I just re-read this post and it appears I'm getting grumpy. I guess it's a good thing I'm heading back home tomorrow. 

Friday, September 1, 2017

Day 24 - Town

Today I wear cotton! But first...

It was burrrrr chilly this morning when the alarm went off at 5:30. I dutifully ignored it for a bit but finally I rummaged around in my clothes bag for my stinky hiking clothes. I'm gonna be glad not to put these on again tomorrow morning. 

Too bad there isn't a smellometer button you could push so you could experience the full effect. 

Anyway I took off around 6:45, not knowing when DW would get to town and not wanting to make him wait. 

It's been about 7 years since I hiked the TRT and I didn't remember much of the trail I was walking on. Initially I walked on an old road with a nice walking texture under foot. 
 Then the road became a river bed, or so it seemed. 
Eventually the trail crossed Ward Road which, had I turned right, would have taken me to Hwy 89 in 1.5 miles. Hummm. What to do?

Oh well, I was hiking, not road walking, so I went on ahead and took the trail. 

The remaining 4 miles was mostly either up, or down, though in the middle was a beautiful meadow. I think it is called Paige Meadow. 

I passed one last mountain stream, about 2 feet wide. 

Then it was down, down, down to Tahoe City. One interesting thing happened on the way down was that I was passed, both ways, by a group of Deaf folks running/hiking this section of trail. I only know because I stopped one man to ask him a question about something and he indicated he was Deaf. I signed, "Sorry, my bad" and he grinned, then went on his way. You meet lots of interesting folks on the trail. 

64 Acres is a big parking lot off of Hwy 89 and I finally got there.Texting DW to let him know where I was, he showed up about 2-3 minutes later! Perfect timing!

Then it was off to South Lake Tahoe to pick up the packages I'd mailed to the Mellow Mountain Hostel. Next up in the order of importance was eating, so we went to, wait for it...

I have a personal rule that I'm only allowed to drink sodas when I'm backpacking so I had my last soda with lunch. Burgers and fries are, however, a horse of a different color. 

We drove for 3-4 hours, getting to Groveland about 3:30. I couldn't seem to get my car open with the clicker thing so DW figured it out for me. I haven't had to concern myself with these kinds of things lately. Clothes retrieved, a shower was in order. 

There is nothing like Mexican food for a native Californian who's been on the trail for three weeks. Sopes, beans and beer. Ahhhhh. Life back in town. 

We watched a Harry Potter movie then it was off to bed. I'm headed to Kennedy Meadows tomorrow to retrieve my resupply box, for the second year in a row. Next year I might actually walk in rather than drive. 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Day 23 - Ward Creek

🎼 What a difference a day makes, 24 little hours 🎼. But first things first. 

Seventeen switchbacks at 6:30 this morning. Dang. But the climbing got me up to some seriously stunning views and some crazy landscapes. First off were the head high purple flowers. 

Once altitude was gained this was the trail. 

Winding in and out of rock formations with lakes over one side 

And drop offs on the other. Do they really need to tell skiers not to drop off of cliffs?

Alpine Meadows Ski Resort looks nice, with Lake Tahoe in the distance. 
Another boundary marker. 

Then it was more rock and dramatic clouds. Early morning is best. 

After six miles I came to the junction between TRT and the PCT and I turned left, saying goodbye the PCT for now. 

Down, down, down I went till it was time to eat lunch. I can imagine you might be jealous of my gourmet meal. 

One of the things I was trying to do, while walking and taking pictures this morning, was to figure out how I was going to get where I needed to go once I hit town.  I had good cell reception so I contacted my old friend SG who volunteered to ask on a trail angel FB page if someone could help me. I also contacted someone else who had volunteered help but she had long term plans to go to LA, leaving this morning. So, to bring this back around to lunch, while I sat and chewed, I came to the conclusion that all this off trail logistics business was wearing me down and that I was ready to be done with this hike. Physically I am fine and haven't seriously injured myself and I'm not sick in any way, but I'm still done. Mentally I am done with being alone, having to deal with the uncertainty of town logistics and missing my loved ones. 

The only thing to do was to call A and discuss this with her and then decide for sure if this was what I wanted to do. Our friend DW has been saying to me, over and over again, that he would come and get me any time, any where. So I called him and it looks like I will be walking into Tahoe City tomorrow and DW will be coming to get me. The final details aren't yet set but at least I know what will be happening. 

This may seem like it is out of the blue but it isn't really. I've been counting the days till I finished at Kennedy Meadows and it still seemed like a long ways away. I hate giving up on goals but sometimes too much stuff gets in the way and the way out falls into place. That seems to be the case here. 

Once those details were agreed on I continued my steep descent and ran out of water just before I got to Ward Creek. Good timing that. 

I think I have about 5-6 miles to do tomorrow, or possibly a bit more. I have a screen shot of a trail map I got off the TRT website a few days ago but I'm not sure exactly where along the trail I am.

All together it was a successful day for me, having walked about 10-12 miles. Later in the evening I did have a bout of anxiety about asking DW to come get me. It is a long schlepp from his place to Tahoe and back. I just had to keep reminding myself he could have said no if it wasn't going to work for him. I am very grateful for his generosity. 

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Day 22 - Five Lake Creek

It looks like I've missed Sunshine and I won't be seeing her again. Last night I stopped a couple of miles before her planned stop for the day and even though I got going at 6:30 this morning, I guess she took off before I could catch up. Oh well. 

The first order of the day was to drop down to a dry riverbed then scale the hills on the other side. It was only a couple of miles but for some reason I was huffing and puffing on the climb. The reward was a beautiful bit of water called Squaw Creek. 

I soon passed the working bits from Squaw Valley Ski Resort which made for nice visuals. 

This was about 8,441' and I had quite the view, with Lake Tahoe in the far distance to the right. 

The living and the dead. 

Once I got to the top of the climb the trail dropped down to the entry to the Granite Chief Wilderness. 

Small trails went here and there but the one interesting to me was the Tevis Trail. I have a friend who rode this 100 mile race with her horse and wrote a book about the adventure. So of course I had to take a picture. 

Next up was the small creek that is actually the headwaters of the Middle Fork of American River. Good water!

Another two miles of walking downhill through wildflower filled meadows, and an occasional deer fly (#*¥+#!) until I turned up canyon where the water drops out of the Five Lake basin. At this point I had a decision to make. Once I cross Five Lake Creek I was in for a climb of about 1,000' in a two mile chunk. After that was another four miles of exposed ridge walking before any cover was available. And this is what was happening in at area. 

Call me chicken but I don't like the idea of being up there when afternoon rain is certain. So, I pulled into this area about 1pm and decided to call it for the day. And I'm glad I did because as I am laying here dry and safe, the rain is coming and going. Some rain, some sun. Of course this makes tomorrow a longer day but at least I'll be around to hike it. 

Speaking of tomorrow and what I'm planning to do, I've made a change of plans for the next few days. Originally I was to complete this section and come out on Saturday. It was very unlikely I would get to town in time to get to the hostel, pick up my boxes there and get to the post office to mail stuff home. The dang PO again. Plus being in Tahoe on the big weekend doesn't appeal to me.  So, since I've already hiked the part south of the PCT junction with the Tahoe Rim Trail I've decided to cut off there on the TRT and get to town this Thursday. Giving me plenty of time to do the mailing and anything else I need to do before I take back off on Friday or Saturday. Of course there is no public transportation from Tahoe City to South Lake Tahoe so I'll have to figure that out. I thought I could make a sign saying "Nice Old Lady 2 So. Lake Tahoe." Would you pick me up?

Failing that I could sign up for Uber. 

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Day 21 - Bowl Camp

Today was a short day, only 9.1 miles. I'd say this was mostly due to my getting a late start at 10am, after picking up my food from the post office. But first things first. 

I got myself all packed up and left my dorm room at 8:15, thinking it could take a while to get a ride. The traffic was scarce at the hour and I was wondering if I should have just started walking when Sunshine and her cousin Bunny drove by on their way to drop Sunshine at the trailhead. Not 5 minutes later Bunny drove back to where I was standing and picked me up to take me to the PO. On the way we saw another hiker trekking to Soda Springs and we offered her a ride. So we got there and had coffee while we waited the 15 minutes for the office to open. 

My bear canister and water treatment packages were there and I picked up a few last minute goodies, then Bunny took us back to the trailhead. The other hiker was heading north so we said our goodbyes all around and I strapped my canister onto my pack. It looks silly but it works fine. 

The first seven miles of the day were basically climbing, though mercifully not all at once. At first I was doing the granite big step...

Then the trail wound in and around trees, who show the effects of heavy snow loads at their bases. 

Remember when I said I was done with volcanic landscaped? Wrong! There were a great deal of dramatic outcroppings, peaks and knobs today.  

The trail wound around to the right, and below that snow field up ahead. It looks more exposed than it was but when I got to the other side, things got real 'open.'

If you look closely you can see the trail traversing from left to right and it was quite exposed. I would not want to be doing this in foul weather. Yikes! The trail came around and started climbing to the base of Tinkers Knob. 

The wind was whipping and I had to work to stay upright as my canister was acting a bit like a sail. Just up ahead on the left you can see the steep drop off. It creeped me out and had to force myself not to look over the edge, especially with the wind coming from right to left😱

The trail winds right up to the base of Tinkers Knob at 8,683'. A few days ago a man was hit by lightening on top of that knob. He survived but not with out severe burns. It blew all of his clothes off in the process. This is one of the reasons I don't spend much time bagging peaks. 

Once I passed this spot the trail began a long descent to the right of the ridges I hiked on all day. Fortunately for me because there had been no water and few trees for most of the day. 

There it goes! Off to the right and down to  water and trees. About a mile further on I stopped at a small creek to grab a couple of liters for over night and met a couple of folks who are hiking north. They've decided to stop hiking for the season as they've stopped having fun. Coach lives in Eugene, OR and (I've forgotten her name😬) lives in Australia. 

Just a hop, skip and a jump farther on I came to this spot and decided to call it a day. 

I was laying in my hammock writing this blog post when I looked out and saw this sunset view. Pretty fabulous I'd say.