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No. 12- Sonora Pass to Highway 50, 2014

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Sonora Pass, Hwy 108: 38.327691, -119.636839
Echo Summit, Hwy 50: 38.812963, -120.030183
Apex Inn: 38.908128, -120.001110

 

 

June 18th- 6 miles, camping near Carson River

Art and I had a wonderfully relaxing day at Northern Kennedy Meadows, eating and napping. I could’ve napped for a whole week, I was so tired. Since the resort didn’t have working Wi Fi, Art and I drove 30 miles east of the PCT to the little town of Bridgeport on Highway 395. We went to breakfast at the Hays Street Cafe, which was delicious!

Hayes Street Cafe, Bridgeport

Hayes Street Cafe, Bridgeport

 

Next,  we went to a coffee shop that had Wi Fi so I could upload my Vimeo videos and my journals for the last section.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Sonora Pass Hwy 108

Drop-off from Art & Pepper at Hwy 108

We didn’t get back to the trailhead until 3:30, and I was so tempted to just turn around and stay another night with Art and Pepper in town. It was so hard to say goodbye. We tried to make it quick, but of course we couldn’t.

After making this video on the trail, Art drove the car around the road to catch me one more time where the trail crossed it. That was all I needed to start getting teary eyed.  It’s always so quiet after someone you love drops you off at the trail and you head out into the wilderness. It’s just the void of them not being near you is so apparent.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Sonora Pass

 

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Sonora Pass

Climbing north out of Sonora Pass

 

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Sonora Pass

The hike was beautiful all afternoon. I had planned on doing eight miles, but after sloshing through more snow then  I expected, I felt like calling it a night early.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness wildflowers

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness boot

I found Cheryl Strayed’s boot!

I made a little fire while I tried to organize my food. I’m carrying so much, it’s impossible to fit it all in my bear canister.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness East Carson River camping

Camping near the East Carson River

While back at the resort, I got a look at myself in the mirror at was shocked to see how much weight I’d already lost.  I looked like a starvation victim with bones showing in my chest and back, and my arms and hips thinner than I think they’ve ever been in my life.  I didn’t think I’d loose this much so quickly and it has me a little concerned.  Art and I went through the resort market picking out foods high in protein, fat, and carbs to add to my diet.  I’ve been forcing myself to snack today, even when I’m not hungry, on seeds and dried fruit.  Tonight I had a salami and cheese tortilla wrap as an appetizer before my home-assembled ramen dinner.  I have cookies sitting next to me as I write this, and I really should eat them, but I just can’t get motivated.  I’m having tea instead.

 

June 19th- 24 miles, camping on ridge before Highway 4

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg WildernessI think Toiyabe might be my new favorite national forest. I never got tired of the red rock mountains or the barren mountain tops or the contrasting colors from green trees and grass to bright little flowers. The mountains here have a southwest look to them. I wish I knew more about geology because I’m sure these rocks have some great story to them.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness

The trail climbed up and down through forest and meadow. The trees remind me of a Salvador Dali painting because they grow in a bent shape to align with the hillside.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness bending trees

Dali trees

All day today my body ached, especially my feet and hips. I’ve noticed that as I loose more weight, my backpack becomes more and more uncomfortable. I’ve had to get creative and use my fleece hat and neck gaiter, my gloves, and my wool socks as padding under the straps.I took a longer than usual lunch break rolling out my feet and eating as much as I could stand.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness

Lunchtime

While looking over my maps and my guidebook last night, I realized that I either have to put in some big miles to reach my next resupply stop before they close for the weekend or take an extra zero day. In order to make it to the post office in Echo Lake by 2 pm on Saturday, I would have to do 26 miles today, 26 miles tomorrow and 18 miles on Saturday, starting at 5am. Since I didn’t make it 26 miles today, I’m debating whether I should just accept another zero day, but possibly take it in South Lake Tahoe instead. At least there I could have amenities and a solid rest in a bed. There’s no guarantee that Echo Lake even has beds available because they’re a summer camp facility for kids.  If they DO have beds, though, it’d be way cheaper and logistically easier! Argh, choices.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness wildflowersI groaned pretty much the entire last five miles today. I’m just aching so much.  Looking ahead at how many more miles I have until Cascade Locks, I started to get really intimidated. What if my body aches the entire way?  What if I loose interest and would just rather be comfortable at home for the rest of the summer? I’d feel like a quitter, even though I know it’s just a hike. I always have the choice to just do what I want, including go home, and having that option so accessible makes sticking to a tough goal even harder.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Forest Carson Iceberg Wilderness

 

June 20th- 25 miles, camping above Lost Lakes

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne WildernessThis forest continues to enchant me with its colors, forests, open spaces, and dramatic mountains. I slept in again and didn’t start hiking until 8:30. I need to figure out a new hiking plan, I think. Before I began this big hike, I assumed it would be just like when I section hiked. On those shorter hikes, I would wake up early without an alarm and hike at a comfortable speed all day. Now, I’ve got a schedule to stick to if I’m going to reach my goal of Cascade Locks by mid – August. I know I sleep better in the morning, so hiking later and sleeping in makes sense, but I don’t really like hiking until sunset.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne Wilderness

 

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne Wilderness wildflowerThe birds all through central California are the most vocal I’ve heard anywhere, and they all have such different bird calls. Some sound like little alarm clocks, others sound like they’re gargling, and I often hear a particular kind of bird asking for a “CHEESEburger.” One kind of bird seems to be having a conversation with itself: “Will you eat this beetle? Yes, I’ll eat that beetle!” I’ve tried so hard to figure out which sounds go with which birds I’ve seen.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne WildernessAs I looked at the map, I had to wonder about a hill I was approaching named “The Nipple.” Rarely are any of these hills named and for one to be named after a body part seemed especially funny; and then I saw it:

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne Wilderness The Nipple

The Nipple 😀

The wind is gusting rather fiercely on and off this evening. I’ve battened down the hatches by placing rocks on top of my tent stakes. I hope they stick!

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne Wilderness Lost Lakes

Beautiful views near Lost Lakes

 

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne Wilderness trail food dinner quinoa

Quinoa noodle soup for dinner & camping near Blue Lakes Road

 

June 21st- 19.5 miles, staying at the Apex Motel in So. Lake Tahoe

After thinking about all the things I could do in South Lake Tahoe, I convinced myself to take my zero there instead of in Echo Lake. I need to buy some gear, like new trekking poles, fuel, repair goo, water treatment, etc. Also, this will be the last major town until Ashland, Oregon.

PCT Section J Toiyabe National Mokelumne Wilderness wildflowers grasshopper

PCT Section J El Dorado National Forest Carson Pass wildflowers I met two new PCT hikers from Israel at Carson Pass this morning, Roy and Sarah. Roy busted out his ukulele and played for us a bit. It made me regret not bringing my own uke on this trip.

PCT Section J El Dorado National Forest Carson Pass hiker trash

Ray & Sarah from Israel

Even though I’ve been excited all day to come into town, I just couldn’t move as fast as I wanted. My feet are so bruised on the bottoms and I’ve had to take way more breaks than usual. I stopped every time I came across a rock or log that looked like a decent seat.

PCT Section J El Dorado National Forest Carson Pass hiker trash

PCT Section J El Dorado National Forest Carson PassAfter Carson Pass, I descended into a huge meadow with the Truckee River winding through it. The mosquitoes were awful, so I almost didn’t take the side trip to see the old Meiss cabin. It was built by Louis Meiss in 1878 after he immigrated from Germany. A historical society has renovated his cabin and put up an informational plaque.

PCT Section J El Dorado National Forest Meiss Cabin

Meiss Cabin

It was slow going all afternoon. I fell in a huge mud puddle while trying to cross a stream. (I didn’t take a picture because all I wanted was to keep moving.) I lost the trail twice and had to look for trail markers nailed to trees. And I had to pick my way through a very steep, two-mile long rocky trail downhill to Highway 50.

PCT Section J El Dorado National Forest

PCT Section J El Dorado National Forest dragonflyLucky for me, I had no trouble getting a lift into town! First, Chaz picked me up and dropped me off at a hot dog stand on the outskirts of town. The dog-seller was so excited about the trail that he upgraded my purchase to a meal and gave me a drink and chips for free! Then, a former PCT hiker named Dave gave me a lift to the town center. Dave drove me around, showing me where all the different shops were and helped me find the most affordable hotel. THANK YOU, CHAZ & DAVE!!

PCT Section J South Lake Tahoe

Dave (top) & Chaz (bottom)

 

June 22nd, Zero Day in Tahoe

Oh, to lounge all morning in a soft, warm hotel bed after cold, windy nights in a tent. Heavenly! I made coffee and chowed down on Honey Nut Cherrios with half and half. Having bought Epsom salts and disposable aluminum pans, I treated myself to a foot soak.

PCT Section J South Lake Tahoe dirty hiker legs

PCT Section J South Lake Tahoe epsom salt foot soak hiker feet

An epsom salt foot soak

After a good deal of pampering, coffee, and watching Contact on SyFy, I finally roused to do chores and errands. On my way to the laundromat, I ran into Lorax and T-Fox. They were loaded down with groceries from the discount store. They’d bought pints of ice cream for 50 cents and other cheap goodies.

PCT Section J South Lake Tahoe hiker trash

T-Fox & Lorax in So. Lake Tahoe

The Lake of the Sky Outfitters offers PCT hikers not only gear, but they hand you a cold drink and take your picture right when you enter their door. They also have a hiker lounge with Wi Fi and snacks and will watch your pack while you run errands around town.

PCT Section J South Lake Tahoe Lake of the Sky OutfittersEverything was within walking distance of my motel, there is even an Italian restaurant next door, which I’d been eyeballing since my arrival yesterday. Tonight, I gave in and it was delicious.

PCT Section J South Lake Tahoe Italian food

 

Links

Installment No. 13- South Lake Tahoe to Sierra City

Hays Street Cafe

Lake of the Sky Outfitters

Apex Inn

 

2 Thoughts on “Northern Kennedy Meadows to So. Lake Tahoe, June 2014

  1. Jerry on June 26, 2014 at 4:52 am said:

    Hey Miz Kate … I hope your feet are feeling better. Sore feet are no fun!!!
    Lotsa Luv … Jerr

  2. Sam Mendenhall on June 27, 2014 at 9:12 pm said:

    The photograph with you standing by the sharp peak of rock is awesome! Love, Mom

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