Dec 24, 2009 at 12:07 am #1253446
@valsharLocale: San Francisco Bay Area
July 2nd 2009 to July 10th 2009.
9 Days, 165 Official Trail Miles, 3 Miles Through Towns, and 174 Total Miles after taking a wrong turn.
Traveling Clockwise around Lake Tahoe from Tahoe Meadows
Daytime Temps 70F to 80F
Nighttime Temps 40F to 50F
Tom Harrison Map: Lake Tahoe/Tahoe Rim Trail
Starting Point at Grids: 49 & 50 x 55 & 54
Guidebook: The Tahoe Rim Trail A Complete Guide for Hikers, Mountain Bikers, and Equestrians by Tim Hauserman. Endorsed by the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Wilderness Press.
Website: Tahoe Rim Trail Association
Cameron, Jeremy, and Jay having breakfast in Tahoe City
Dropping Jay's Truck Off in Tahoe City
July 2, 2009
Tahoe Meadows to Marlette Peak Campground. 14 miles approximately. We drove up from the SF Bay Area that morning and got on the trail by 11:30. We had short thundershowers on day 1, but this turned out to be the only clouds we saw for 9 days. After that it was blue sky. Marlette Peak Campground is a backpacker campground in Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park. It is the only place on the trail where you have to camp in a designated backpacker campground. -Jeremy
Tahoe Meadow Trail Head 11:25 AM.
Elevation 8740 FT.
Left to Right: Cameron, Jeremy, & Jay
Note: Cameron has a pristine white shirt at the beginning of the trip.
Crossing Ophir Creek at Tahoe Meadows
First View of Lake Tahoe
Jeremy with his Mountain Laurel Designs Exodus Backpack
Jay with a Golite Backpack
Cameron with a Gossamer Gear Mariposa Backpack
Note: Each of us carried no more than 3 Days of food at any given time. Starting weights for everyone was about 22-23 lbs.
Moving Along the Trail
Cameron's Most Excellent Homemade Fruit Leather Snack
As Cameron says, "Salt sticks with some rare plums that only existed one weekend at the markets, cayenne and salt sticks." *Salt Sticks is a brand of electrolyte pills.
Note: Cameron loves to pull his Gossamer Gear Nightlight Torso Pad from the exterior pack pocket to lay on while putting his feet up to rest.
A Well Groomed Trail by the Tahoe Rim Association
The trails are well maintained, graded, easy to travel, but could benefit from more trail sign markers as the trail intersect many other trails.
Marching Along the Trail at a Steady Pace
Note: This was our first big trip together. I don't think that I have ever hiked as such a sustained fast pace consistently over multiple days. 2 to 2.5 miles per hour seemed to be a normal pace. We were convinced that Jay, with his wider gate and great physical conditioning was capable of a pace of 4 miles per hour.
Lake Tahoe Nevada State Park Mountain Bike Patrol
Offering Assistance with a bike repair, problems shifting gears.
Unknown Lake to the East of the Trail
Cameron with Incline Village Ski Lift in the Distance
Taking a Snack Break by the Side of the Trail Near Incline Village Ski Resort
Jay Kicking Back
Nice View of the Lake
Only Rain Clouds of the Trip
Short Afternoon Thunderstorm that Lightly Drizzled on us for 40 minutes.
Nice bit of Trail
Taking a Break on the Rocks at Tunnel Creek Road
Jay Moving Along the Trail
Little bit of a disappointment as the Eastern Side of Lake Tahoe is very dry. We were hoping for a chance to tank up on some more water.
Sharing the Trail with Mountain Bikers
The Tahoe Rim Trail is a multi-use trail. Just in this day alone, we came across day hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners, and a few ultra runners.
I will say that every mountain biker that we ran across was extremely conscientious of people hiking on the trail. They would slow down to prevent kicking up clouds of dust and dirt and would often yell back to their friends behind them to know that there were hikers on the trail.
Gentle Bend in the Trail
Cameron Coming Down the Trail
Heading to Marlette Peak 8780 FT.
View of Marlette Lake
Lake Elevation 7823 FT
Trail to Marlette Campground
Note: Trail Splits just before Marlette Peak at 8560 FT. One leads to Marlette Campground and the other goes to Marlette Peak. Both reconnect at 8360 Ft, near North Canyon Hobart Road. Distance from split is 1.0 Mile going via the Peak Route and 0.7 Mile going via the campground.
Setting up Camp and for Dinner at Marlette Campground. 6:50 pm.
Nicely setup campsite with pit toilets, stocks of free bottled water, and piles of cut wood. No running water, though there is was a stream that we crossed on the way down to the campsite that we walked 0.25 mile back up to load up on water.
Jeremy used esbit fuel for the entire trip, using a little more than half a tablet to heat up water for his boil in a bag meals. Less than 1 L of water.
Cameron's Bushbuddy, which he used for the entire trip.
With plenty of dry twigs and sticks available, Cameron was the envy of all of us since he was able to enjoy the luxury of having warm water to wash with every night.
Note: Bushbuddy shown with folding pocket knife and firesteel from Firesteel.com with a bit of cork glued on for a handle by Cameron.
Jay's Neo Air for a bit of luxury sleeping.
Platypus Water Bottles on the Bench.
Feeding the Fiery Beast.
Jay's Beer Can Pot and Alcohol Stove
Cameron and a Table full of Titanium.
BPL Trapper Mug and Firelite SUL-1100 cook pot.
Tony's MSR Titan Kettle in the foreground with Ti Folding Spork.
Dinner with Music.
Jay loves music and never hits the trail without his iPod.
July 3, 2009
Marlette Peak Campground to dry camp in a wash about a mile short of Kingsbury Grade North. 21 miles approx. After Spooner Lake, this is a very dry section of trail (the East side of Lake Tahoe is very dry generally). We had lunch and filled up at Spooner and then packed as much water as we could carry for a dry night. -Jeremy
Morning in Jay's Mountain Laurel Designs Serenity Shelter.
Hitting the Trail in the Morning Light at 8:20 AM.
Intersection at North Canyon Hobart Road.
Approximately 0.5 miles from Marlette Lake Campground.
Elevation 8260 FT.
Ascending Up to the Eastern Ridge.
Full View of Marlette Lake from the Top.
Snow Valley Peak 9214 FT.
View Across the Lake from the Eastern Ridge top.
Something that you don't see everyday.
As we were taking in the breathtaking view of the lake that filled the horizon we suddenly had a World War II Navy Plane fly over us.
Flow of the trail.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is well graded which made this section a delight to move along and did not distract us from enjoying the views.
Trail, Canyon, and Lake.
Note: North Canyon & Marlette Lake Trail from Spooner Lake lower right in the green valley.
Jeremy Taking It All In.
Jay Takes Breakfast on the Trail.
Cameron Taking a Snack Break.
Note: Cameron has a visor on with two black tabs of velcro which has been sewn or glued on. To provide sun protection for his neck, he has sewn on velcro tabs to a disposable camp towel.
Jay Taking a Moment to get a Shot.
Back to the Trail.
An Amazing Stretch of Trail.
Jay Taking Time to Air his Feet.
Trail Runner Troll Feet.
Dry and a Bit Dusty.
Lush Green Trail to Spooner Lake.
Tanking Up on Water at Spooner Lake.
Note: From Marlette Lake Campground it is completely dry til you reach Spooner Lake, which is about 9.3 Miles. We tanked up on water here as the trail for the rest of the day and night was dry. Your next opportunity for water is in town after Kingsbury Grade North/Tramway Market. 13 miles.
Spooner Lake is right next to Highway 50 and is heavily visited by day hikers.
Sparkling Clean Mountain Water.
Jeremy & Cameron Crossing Spooner Summit. Elevation 7146 Ft.
Cars stop or slow for no one.
Look at the Trail Kiosk.
There were frequently located at each road crossings and trail heads to give you a snap shot of where you were on the trail and what lay ahead.
Hot and Dry Trail after Marching Up a Set of Switchbacks.
It is all about the feet…take care of them.
On this trip a constant care and concern was making sure that our feet were patched, covered, and any hot spots were attended to before they became a debilitating injury.
Peak Road. Elevation 8010 Ft.
Well Deserved Break after a Steady March Uphill.
While taking in the view, it was a good time to have a quick Coaching Session to see how everyone was doing and to relax a bit.
Jay Lays to Rest Good Times.
View of the Lake from Near South Camp Peak.
Tony Laying in the Sun with a Steady Breeze.
The Ridge was pretty gusty and a welcome relief from the breeze less afternoon sun beating down on us.
Back on to the Trail.
2008 Memorial Bench by the Kiwanis Club Honoring George Wilson for 44 years of service to the children and community of Lake Tahoe.
Jay & Jeremy Enjoying the View from the Bench.
Tony & Cameron on the Bench.
Story about my shortest, accidental haircut: Before the trip I decided to go to my $13 Asian hair cut place. They asked me how short I wanted my hair. They told me that normally cut my hair with a Number #2 and #3 blade with the electric sheep sheers. Not realizing that the number related to inches, I simply said, "Make it a #1!" Hell, #1 had to be just a little shorter than a #2, right? So with my glasses off and sitting in the chair partially blind, facing the mirror, she made the first cut over the middle of my head. It was then that I knew that I had two options: 1. Buy and orange monk's robe and go into work the next day and tell my boss that I was quitting and was going to wander the mountains for the rest of my life OR 2. Admit to everyone that bowl cut #1 was my brilliant idea. (If you notice, I only managed to wear an orange shirt on this trip…no robe).
Jay back on the trail, getting his headphones and iPod setup.
Jeremy's Boil in a Bag Meal.
Note: Jeremy has homemade camp shoes using a shoe insole and some spectra cord.
Dinner with Water We Carried from Spooner Lake.
Extra 4 Liters of Water I Carried Sucked.
Intersection of Tahoe Rim Trail and 14N33 Road/Trail.
Road 14N33 must be for dirt bikes and off road vehicles, as we saw one or two dirt bikers zip by us as we ate dinner.
Elevation 8380 Ft.
Cameron's Dinner Setup with Bushbuddy.
Jay Enjoys a Hot Drink.
Back to it After a Quick Meal with an Uphill March.
Mystery of the Rusty Trail Crew Shovel.
My Finest Moment.
After about 1 or 2 miles into a trip, all modesty seems to disappear. While lagging a little behind everyone else decided to stop on the trail and water a tree or adding to the population of the yellow headed squirrels. Just as I was in the middle of this, this couple rounded the corner to see me watering the tree.
Camping where ever there is a flat, open spot. 7:02 PM.
After hiking along the trail and trying to find a decent flat spot that was large enough for all of us, we hiked down off the trail a short ways and found this spot.
Sitting to Enjoy the Sunset and a Coaching Session to Reflect Back on the Long Day.
After Setting up Camp, we hiked up out of our sheltered site and climbed up on these rocks to gaze out at the lake to see the sun set.
Jay in the Orange Glow.
A Perfect Perch.
Jay Catches the Last Rays.
Cameron & Jeremy Enjoying Another Orange Glow.
July 4, 2009
Mile short of Kingsbury Grade North to Star Lake. 13 miles. These miles include 3 miles of hiking on roads through the Heavenly Valley ski resort area. These miles are not included in the official 165 miles of trail, so if you walk them as we did, you are actually hiking 168 miles. We stopped for a big breakfast at a pub on Tramway Drive and stocked up on groceries for a resupply at the Tramway Market. We had planned for this and had brought dinners for 4 nights before a planned resupply but planned to resupply everything else after 2 days at the market. This worked out well and gave us some variety in our food. We also got carry out lunches from the pub and thus had fresh sandwiches on the trail that day. This the only day we hiked a part day, stopping at Star Lake at about 3:30 and enjoying a swim and some time to relax. We watched the distant fireworks at South Lake Tahoe in the evening. -Jeremy
Early to Rise at 6:28 AM.
Cool and Sunny Morning as we already on the trail by 7:18 AM.
Using the last of the water we had rationed the night before for breakfast.
Leaving the Trail at Kingsbury Grade North.
Elevation 7780 Ft.
The beginning of our three mile cross town trek to pick up the Tahoe Rim Trail at Kingsbury Grade South.
A Strange and Surreal Trail.
Really felt odd to be surround by such comfortable homes with the sound of dogs barking at us after being on the trail for a few days. Walking on an asphalt road in trail runners hurt my feet. Could not wait to get back onto the softer dirt trail.
Turning Right at Dagget Summit to head to the Tramway Market for a Resupply and then to Heavenly Ski Resort to Rejoin the Trail.
Racing to Get Resupplied.
Fox & Hound, An Unexpected Little Joy.
Right Next Door to the Tramway Market.
We washed up a little bit in the bathroom of the Fox & Hound and wolfed down a hearty meal. Despite our shabby appearance, the waitress really treated us well and asked the cook to made "some hungry hikers" a special bag lunch normally served much later in the day. We were happy for the extra food, special bag lunch to go, and tipped generously to our host.
Extra Calories We Did Not Have to Carry!!!
8:23 AM Cameron Enjoys a Second Breakfast.
Jay Enjoying a Pint in the Morning.
Jeremy Enjoys a Beer Well Before the End of a Trip.
Fat & Fluffy from our 2nd Breakfast, we bought a little over a gallon of bottled water to tank up Platypus bottles and hydration systems and stocked up on trail bars, snacks, and a few beers.
Walking Through Heavenly Ski Resort.
Getting Off the Road and onto the Trail.
Leaving the Road, the Tahoe Rim Trail picks up crossing a few ski runs located at Heavenly Ski Resort.
Near Kingsbury Grade South.
Elevation 7520 Ft.
Dry Eastern Trail at Heavenly.
It was great to be back on the trail. It was a good thing that we tanked up on water in town as the trail was bone dry.
Things that Go Boom on the Trail.
Tony Tries to Ski on a Snowless Slope.
Steadily Gaining Elevation.
South Eastern View from the Trail.
Climbing Up Towards Monument Pass.
At this point, I had fallen well behind the others due to taking lots of photos and just being plain tired.
Crossing Monument Pass and back in California.
Surprisingly, I found that I was only about 5 minutes behind everyone else. They were in the stand of trees ahead, waiting for me and having lunch.
Jeremy Enjoys a Special Brown Bag Lunch at Monument Pass.
View from the Other Side of Monument Pass.
Sandy and Dry Trail.
Was a bit surprised to be suddenly hiking on sand.
Bit of Color Along the Side of the Trail.
Edge of the Lake in the Distance.
First Water in One and a Half Days.
Does not look like much, but it was wet and cold. Felt great to splash water on our faces and to dip our hats into the water to wash away the last few days of dried sweat.
Elevation 9100 Ft.
Jeremy Braves the Icy Water.
Jay Takes a Turn.
Note: Left of Jay is an Ursack for storing our food. Fortunately, bear canisters are not required on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Gram Cracker Esbit Stove & Caldera Tri-Ti Cone.
Sunset at Star Lake.
The Coming Moon.
Our Fourth of July Fire Works.
Star Lake was our shortest number of miles on the trail, but a welcome early break after warm and dry days on the trail. It was refreshing to bathe and wash our clothes to be clean again. It was night of contrast. From the Northern side of our campsite, which was up on a hill overlooking South Lake Tahoe, we enjoyed fire works. From the Southern side of our campsite, we had the quite and serene view of Star Lake bathed in moonlight.
Jay Mixing Up Some Aqua Mira to Treat Water from the Lake.
Jeremy Enjoying the Moon Light on the Lake.
July 5, 2009
Star Lake to Showers Lake. 21 miles. Two miles short of Showers Lake we joined the PCT, which we would follow North for the next 50 miles (the TRT and PCT join for this portion of the hike). We timed this perfectly, as the PCT thru hikers going north were coming through in force at the same time we were on the trail. We enjoyed hanging out with them and learning from them about their experience on the trail. They had hiked approximately 1100 miles when we joined them on the trail. -Jeremy
Jay's Nunatak Custom Alpinist Sleeping Bag & Neo Air Sleeping Pad.
Jeremy's Daily 15-30 Minute Morning Ritual.
Tony's Breakfast in Bed Setup.
As I was often the only one eating a hot breakfast in the morning (oatmeal), I would try to save time by setting up my cooking system the night before. This would simply consist of having filtered water in my MSR Titan Kettle and my MSR Pocket Rocket Stove mounted, but not screwed in completely. (I was afraid of accidental fuel leakage if the stove was fully screwed into the canister. Not sure it could happened, but never hurts to be extra careful). Waking up in the morning, I would already have my lighter laid out and I would unzip my bivy and start heating up the water while retrieving my food, which was tied to a tree in the green UrSack a safe distance from our campsite.
Morning Lakeside at Star Lake.
Last View of Star Lake as We Hit the Trail Again.
In Sight of the Southern Portion of Lake Tahoe Again.
Throughout our journey, I would often jokingly complain to Jeremy, who had organized our trip, that the view never changed and that we just kept seeing the same damn lake!
Back on the Trail by 6:27 AM.
Unnamed Creek that Flows from Freel Peak that is Marked on the Map.
Uphill is Good for Us, so we keep telling ourselves.
Snow on the Slopes.
Elevation 9915 Ft.
March of the Ants.
The Whole Picture, another view of Trimmer Peak with Lake Tahoe in the Background.
Elevation 10,881 Ft.
Narrow Passing to Another View.
Looking Back at the Trail as Start our Decent to Armstrong Pass.
View from within the Shadow of the Hills.
A little bit further on the trail, we ran across a father and young boy who had run out of sunlight on the trail the day before and were forced to make camp in the middle of the narrow trail, as it was the only flat spot on the hillside. Interestingly, the father was carrying a rifle and a full sized axe. Heavy Stuff!
Wet and Green.
Not knowing where the next water source might be and having experienced a number of dry days on the trail already, we took an opportunity to tank up on some extra water.
Wild Flowers on a Rolling Trail.
Jay Checking Out the Map as We Take a Break.
Somewhere Beyond Armstrong Pass.
Jay Takes a Shot of the Wide Expanse.
With all the dust on the trail, I decided to open up the battery compartment of my camera and blow out any dust that might have gotten into the camera. To my horror my camera would not turn back on. I frantically stopped to try to figure out if I had a dead battery or if I had broken the battery cover. Changing batteries did not help. Luckily, the camera started to work after about 10 minutes. I think that some of my saliva had been blown into the battery chamber and prevented a positive contact with the battery. This was my first shot that I was able to take while on the side of the trail.
Jeremy Meets a Man on the Trail Who was Pointing out an Animal he had Spotted Close by.
Lunch at Tucker Flat.
Elevation 8830 Ft.
Jay Grabs Something to Eat.
Mountain Bikers Taking a Break with Us.
They had ridden down the trail we had just hiked down and then continued down the Saxon Creek Trail. They had hinted that if they could, they would leave us some beers at a trail head ahead of us. Maybe at Big Meadow?
Green Trail of Wild Flowers.
Colors of the Trail.
Cameron Using a Steripen for a Quick Drink.
Jeremy Using an Aquamira Frontier Pro Filter like a Straw.
Jeremy Shows Off His New Filter.
Intersection at 8030 Ft. where the Tahoe Rim Trail splits 0.6 Miles to the Grass Lake Trail Head from Hwy 89. 2 Miles to Big Meadow Parking Lot/Trail Head.
It was a welcome relief to get out of the sun and have a chance to tank up on water and to dip our hats into the water to cool off and to wash up a little bit.
Descending Through a Field of Green and Yellow.
Crossing a Stream Just Before Big Meadow.
Made it to Big Meadow at 2:30 PM.
Restroom Break, But No Water that I Recall.
Only Seven Miles to go to Showers Lake.
Elevation 7300 Ft.
Cameron Adjusting His Pack While Jeremy Crosses Hwy 89.
Jeremy is on his cell phone, calling his dad, who was going to meet us the next day on the trail to resupply us.
Have Pitbull with His Own Pack, Will Travel.
Entering into Big Meadow.
Elevation 7520 Ft.
View from the Northern End of Round Lake Looking East.
Note: To the bottom left of the shot was a mother and young boy. Jeremy point out an interesting observation. While the mother was enjoying the beauty of nature, the young boy was completely absorbed in his portable game device, completely ignoring or unaware of the beauty around him.
Elevation 8037 Ft.
North Western Portion of Round Lake.
We used this as an opportunity to tank up on water once again. I used my gravity filter to load up while taking a snack break and using Nuun tablets to make up some electrolyte mix for my hydration system. Jay went for a quick swim to rejuvenate himself. Was a welcome rest in a long day with more miles to go.
Leaving the Lake Behind and Gaining Elevation.
A Nice, Wet Change of Pace after So Many Dry Days Previously.
This stream may have been about 1 mile before the trail joined the Pacific Crest Trail.
View off to the East of the Trail.
Another View off to the Side of the Trail.
When the Tahoe Rim Trail and the Pacific Crest Trail Meet.
Elevation 8380 Ft.
Looking South East Down the Valley.
Some Sort of Winter Shelters?
Following the Road.
Interesting Layer of Rock to the East of the Trail.
Crossing the River that Leads to Meiss Lake.
Unnamed Lake to the East of the Trail Marked on the Map.
Approximate Elevation 8360 Ft.
Marching Quickly into the Shadow of the Mountains to the West.
Are We There Yet?
Fatigue was starting to set in at this point. It has been a long day and we just wanted to get to Showers Lake to get off our feet. While Jeremy and Jay carefully walked across to avoid getting wet, Cameron simply plowed through too tired to care if his feet got wet.
Last Hill of the Day.
One more hard push to get to the top of this thing about killed me as I started to do what Jeremy calls the Wong Wobble. Jeremy seems to take perverse delight in knowing that he has done a good job of wearing me out.
Our First PCT Thru-Hiker We Meet at the South Eastern End of Showers Lake. He was in his mid forties and had been on the trail for about 1100 miles. Jeremy had timed our arrive onto the PCT perfectly as there were quite a few PCT thru-hikers at the Lake. It was extraordinary humbling to meet a few of them and chat a bit. They often carried heavier packs than we did of 25-30 lbs and regularly hiked between 25 to 30 miles per day. And we thought we were hot stuff?
Setting Camp Just in Time to Catch the Sunset.
Frankly, we were beat and just about dropped our packs at the first flat spot by the lake to make camp. Wanting to be a little farther from the water to avoid any bugs, I walked down the trail and past a UL tent. There is met two identical, bearded twins who were in the their early twenties that went by their AT trail names of Time Cop and Danger Snake. Apparently after doing the AT on the East Coast, they were bitten by the Thru-Hiker Bug and decided to hike the PCT. After chatting a bit, I found another spot for us to setup came with a great view. The others were tired and reluctant to move. Jay had already setup his shelter and stayed while the rest of us moved to the site I had found. Jay then joined us to have dinner and make a fire before he headed back to sleep for the night. Next to our campsite was a group of four or five PCT Thru-Hikers. It seemed that they knew each other and pitched their shelters together, but did not hike together. They were a well oiled machine, getting their campsite quickly setup and chores done. No doubt from the countless days they had already been on the trail. One of them had a guitar of some sort and played a bit by a fire before going to bed.
Cameron Gets Ready for a Well Deserved Sleep.
Montbell Breeze-Dry Tec UL Sleeping Bag Cover as a Bivy.
Jeremy's Home Make Bug Shelter.
Mountain Laurel Designs Superlight Bivy & Golite 20F Degree Quilt.
The hard part for Jeremy was getting into this and then using rocks to pin down the edges of the netting. Later in the night Jeremy had problems with the breeze blowing the netting.
July 6, 2009
Showers Lake to Heather Lake. 18 plus miles. The second half of the day was a beautiful hike through the Southern half of the Desolation Wilderness. We met my Dad for a resupply at Echo Summit and then hiked on to Echo Chalet for a fresh lunch and some additional groceries before entering the Desolation Wilderness. -Jeremy
Cameron Preparing His Feet for the Long Day.
Jeremy Lacing Up and Jay Having Breakfast.
Snow Melt Across the Trail.
A Beautiful Morning.
We were on the trail by 7:04 AM.
Temperatures were prefect for hiking, cool with the warm sun on our backs to chase anyway any lingering chill from the night before.
Look Back at Little Round Top.
Note: While hiking on this section of the trail, behind us was an the orange and white dot of a hiker. No matter how quickly we hiked, the orange and white dot of a hiker behind us quickly and casually ran us down. It was the female PCT Thru-Hiker who camped next to us the night before. I was amazed at how quick her pace was despite carrying a larger and heavier load than us. No doubt, after 1100 miles on the PCT, this was now her normal pace. Humbling and very cool to say the least.
Jeremy Takes a Break to Attend to a Problem.
Blue Kenesio Tape is our friend.
I can not stress how important it was for all of us to be aware of our feet to address any hot spots on our feet before they quickly became a debilitating blisters.
Losing the Trail in Patches of Snow and Mud.
During this stretch of the trail, we had to pay attention to where the trail might have disappeared into a snow patch and to see where it emerged on the other side, while winding out way through the forest.
We Give Our Thanks For the Trail Crews and are Grateful of All Their Hard Work.
Moving Toward Benwood Meadow.
Approximate Elevation 7475 Ft.
Rusty and Corta Waiting for Us on the Side of the Trail.
Rusty's Home on the Road.
Rusty, Jeremy's dad, was our support team on this trip, meeting us at Echo Summit Snow Park with supplies we had given the Jeremy to take to his dad a few weeks before.
He had water and drinks for us. I took the opportunity to shave with a disposable blade and clean up a little bit inside Rusty's camper.
Loading Up on Supplies & Swapping out Gear.
I had packed my 18.0 Oz Tarptent Contrail inside my Resupply box, just in case the bugs were bad on the trip. No problems with bugs on this trip, so I left the Contrail behind with Rusty. In fact, I had managed to forget packing my BPL head net, which really had annoyed me that I did that, but I found that I wouldn't have needed it. In my case, resupply meant loading up on oatmeal, dehyrdated dinners, power bar, cliff bars, mix of baking soda and salt for tooth paste, hand sanitizer, toilet paper, Nuun tablets, Salt Sticks/electrolyte pills, Aleve and Asprin.
Father and Son.
It was great to see Rusty again. When Jeremy and I had hiked the High Sierra Trail from Sequoia National Park to Mt. Whitney in 2007, Rusty, a retired teacher, was nice enough to meet us at the Mt. Whitney Portal and drive us for about 5 hours back to our vehicle we had left at Crescent Meadow at the start of our journey. Jeremy is lucky to have such a cool Dad.
Crossing Highway 50 after Leaving Echo Summit & Rusty.
Elevation 7220 Ft.
Pacific Crest Trail & Tahoe Rim Trail Markers.
Hiking in about 1 mile from Hwy 50, we reached Lower Echo Lake and the Echo Chalet. Inside is a general store and post office.
Elevation 7525 Ft.
In the store, I ran cross one of the twins I had met back at Showers Lake. Time Cop or Danger Snake. The General Store had some basic camping supplies, clothing, a deli, dry goods, cold drinks, and some perishable food. In this case, we all got a deli sandwich and a drink. I think that Cameron and Jeremy might have gotten an "It's It" ice cream sandwich. Of course, people did stock up on beer.
Jeremy's New Best Friend.
Jay Talking to One of the Twins about Past Trips.
Crossing the Small Dam and Boat Docks to Rejoin the Trail.
Apparently, there is a water taxi that you may be able to pick up to take you across the Lake.
Little Trivia/History of the Lake.
Moving along the Northern Side of the Lake.
Homes Around the Lake.
Think that these are a combination of private homes and vacation rentals.
Close Up of One of the Houses.
North Western End of Lower Echo Lake.
Upper Echo Lake.
Elevation 720 Ft.
Entering Desolation Wilderness.
Elevation 7700 Ft.
Jeremy Hiking with his UL Fosters Beer.
That is Ultra Light isn't It? Alcohol is duel usage and it is lighter than water, right? Those who had decided to buy beer from Echo Chalet would question the wisdom of carrying the extra weight until they cracked open the can and took a drink.
View of Tamarack Lake from the Side of the Trail while taking a snack break of Chips Ahoy Cookies and Some Biscuits from the Echo Chalet General Store.
Gaining Elevation in the Woods.
Lake Magery, which is approximately 1.4 Miles from Tamarack Lake and approximately 1.0 Mile from Lake Aloha.
First View of Lake Aloha.
Elevation 8116 Ft.
The Whole View with Mt. Price.
Elevation 9975 Ft.
Cameron Swapping Batteries in his Steri Pen.
Jeremy Enjoying the Lake Side View.
Jeremy has the BPL Head Net and Mountain Laurel Designs Small Exodus Pack left of him. To the Right of Jeremy is my Golite Jam2 pack, which is laying on its back, and Red Leki Poles.
There was a little bit of debate on whether to camp here for the night or to press on. In some ways, I wanted to stay to hopefully get some nice night shots of the moonlight reflecting off of the glacier polished granite peaks. However, there really were not many suitable sites to camp. Mostly rocky or muddy. So onward we pressed after taking a good break to soak in the views of this magnificent place. This was my first trip to the Desolation Wilderness and everything great they say about it is true.
View of Lake Aloha from the North Eastern Shore.
Jeremy & Cameron Crossing Over the Snow.
The Trail Winds Along with Jacks Peak in the Distance.
Jacks Peak Elevation 9856 Ft.
Looking Back at Lake Aloha.
Ice & Algae.
Nearing the End of the Lake.
Saying Goodbye to Lake Aloha.
Pretty Stream on the Way to Heather Lake.
Unnamed Lake South of the Trail.
Heather Lake Shot from Northern End.
After we found a campsite for the evening, I decided to walk down the trail to see what was ahead. Just rocky trail with nowhere else to camp. From this shot, our campsite was around the bend on the right side.
Camping by the Water's Edge.
The water was only about 20 feet away and I was a little concerned about bugs, but there was a constant breeze that cut through our camp that all but eliminated any concern about bugs.
Here is my 13.0 oz Mountain Laurel Designs Soul Side Zip Bivy with eVent top, 2.0 Silnylon bottom, and in Wide Size. In this case, I have the removable wire hoop installed at the head area to give the bivy some shape and increase interior head room. There is a tie out loop above the head area, to which I have tied some shock cord and Kelty Tripstease line to and tied it around the tree trunk. Inside is my Marmot Atom 40F sleeping bag at 1 lb. Under my legs, under the bivy is my 1 lb 7 oz. Golite Jam2, which I am using to give me some additional ground insulation. I use a Gossamer Gear 2.0 oz 1/8" full length Thinlight and 4.0 oz Nightlight Torso Pad. I am a cold sleeper and this pad setup works well for me. I do sleep with all of my clothing on and lay my Montbell 8.7 oz Thermawrap Jacket over my chest to stay warm. At the base of the tree is my 8.0 oz Ursack for food storage, MSR Pocket Rocket Stove, MSR 0.9 L Titan Kettle, Platypus 1.8 L Hoser Hydration System, and Platypus 4L Water Tank, which I use with my Home Made Sawyer Gravity Filter System.
Over the course of nine days, effectively 7 full days of cooking a hot meal & drink in the morning and at night, I used 4.5 oz of fuel. Using homemade dehydrated food allowed me to use so little fuel. Part of my trick to pulling this off was two things: 1. Once we arrived in camp, I would soak my food in filtered water and let it stand in my kettle for about 20 to 40 minutes to rehydrate, while I setup camp and filtered water to reload my hydration system. Then I would slowly, on low heat warm up my food. 2. I never boiled hot water for drinks. As the water was filtered, I only need to bring it up to less than a boil for my drink. Why waste fuel on getting the water to boil and make it too hot to drink right away?
View of the interior head space of my bivy.
Here you can see the tie out loop and how the wire hoop helps create extra head room. I am 5'6" and 145 lbs. One thing I appreciate with my bivy is the generous amount of space above my head, which allows me to empty out my pack at night and store everything inside my bivy.
Jeremy Gets Creative with Sticks.
Jeremy slung a cord from a branch above and attached it to the center loop of three on his bug netting. Using a short twig, he ran the twig through all three loops to set this up. Jeremy uses a 6.0 Oz. Mountain Laurel Design Superlight Bivy in Regular, 19.0 Oz GoLite Ultra 20F quilt, sleeping long johns top and bottom, 12.0 Oz. Patagonia Micropuff Jacket, and we use the same Gossamer Gear Sleeping Pads.
Jay's Dancing Light Gear–"Arapaho"
At the resupply point, Jay swapped out his shelter.
Jay uses a custom Nunatak Alpinist 20F Sleeping bag and a NeoAir Mattress.
Jay, What's Cooking?
Jeremy Has a Beer Before Surgery.
Jeremy's left foot, pinky toe managed to get a blister on the top of it and another on the bottom of it. Jeremy used the red lighter at his feet to sterilize a bent needle, which he referred to as his "nail" to perform surgery in the field. Jay used his hands to cup the flame of the lighter so Jeremy could heat up the tip of the needle. Then Jeremy attempted to lance the blister on the bottom of his toe with limited success. After a while he was able to pop the blister on the top of his foot, sending a stream of blister juice about 3 inches up his foot. Then he drained it by squishing the blister with his thuDec 24, 2009 at 1:23 pm #1556737
Thank you for sharing the photos. It has been decades since I have been to Tahoe. I remember it as an incredibly beautiful place with great hiking and scenary. Thanks so much for bring back so many wonderful memories!Dec 28, 2009 at 8:15 am #1557535
Tony: Thanks for posting the pics. Great reminder of a great trip.
-Jeremy.Dec 28, 2009 at 8:41 am #1557540
@creachenLocale: East Bay
Thanks Tony for the pictures–Such a great 2009 summer!
-JayDec 28, 2009 at 9:22 am #1557554
Tony, Looking forward to the rest of the tale and photos. A great hike!Dec 28, 2009 at 9:52 am #1557559
… this will be one of my 2010 trips, likely a 5 day in early July.Jan 10, 2010 at 8:29 pm #1561523
Tony: Can't believe you finally made it past halfway through the trip on posting photos. Your photo essay has been more of an undertaking than the trip itself, which was considerable.
I'm enjoying reliving the play by play, except for the blisters part. Always drink beer before you perform amateur surgery with a hot nail, at least that's my policy.Jan 10, 2010 at 10:29 pm #1561560
@redmonkLocale: Greater California Ecosystem
Good pictures. I can't wait to see what happens after the resupply !Jan 12, 2010 at 6:07 pm #1562149
@kennyhel77Locale: Scotts Valley CA via San Jose, CA
Guys….Awesome!!!!!!!!!!!! I have never backpacked around the Tahoe area and you guys have inspired me to do some this summer. Fantastic pics Tony!!Jan 12, 2010 at 7:23 pm #1562167
@trevor83Locale: ATL -- Zurich -- SF Bay Area
Thanks for posting Tony! I feel like I actually know what the TRT is really like without even hiking it. I'll be looking forward to the second half!Jan 16, 2010 at 3:43 pm #1563446
@doorknobLocale: West of what you think is west
Maybe Tony should just hire out as a trail photographer during the summer months. People would pay him for photographing their trip and doing the essay's. Great job as usual Tony. I too am looking forward the second half.
MahaloJan 27, 2010 at 7:09 am #1566731
Tony: Unbelievable detail on the photo essay. Lots of good memories. Thanks again for posting all of this.
-Jeremy.Jan 27, 2010 at 10:21 am #1566779
@dubendorfLocale: CO, UT, MA, ME, NH, VT
Wonderful read! Many thanks.
JamesJan 27, 2010 at 10:57 am #1566793
@dharmabumpkinLocale: San Gabriel Mtns
I enjoyed watching this trip unfold over the couple weeks. It felt almost like its own journey. I wish all trip reports were this good. Thank you very much for taking the time to post. I definitely hope o experience this trail sooner rather than later.Jan 27, 2010 at 12:26 pm #1566838
Great report Tony. Thanks for taking the time to put it together. Helped pass some slow time here on the east coast. Looks like you guys had a great trip.
I didn't recognize the name of the blue tape y'all used on your appendages? I know I saw it in there somewhere but can't find it now. Any reason you prefer it over duct tape or leukotape?Jan 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm #1566899
@tothetrailLocale: So. Cal.
Wow, what a great trip report. I especially appreciated all the gear and food photos and the commentary about them.
All of your insight will help temendously with the planning my future thru hikes.Jan 27, 2010 at 2:10 pm #1566907
@tothetrailLocale: So. Cal.
Brad, Tony talks about it around day five:
"Jeremy Takes a Break to Attend to a Problem.
Blue Kenesio Tape is our friend.
I can not stress how important it was for all of us to be aware of our feet to address any hot spots on our feet before they quickly became debilitating blisters."Jan 27, 2010 at 2:17 pm #1566911
@b-g-2-2Locale: Silicon Valley
Kinesio Tape costs almost a dollar per foot. No thank you.
–B.G.–Jan 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm #1567066
Brad: The reason we used Kinesio Tex tape is that it is more flexible (stretchy) and breathable than Leukotape or duct tape, though in the future I will probably use Leukotape on heels because it provides more durable protection. Kinesio is really helpful for toes. And yes it is pricey, but it really helped for my toes so I ordered more as soon as I got back from the trip.Jan 28, 2010 at 8:32 am #1567181
Wow, now that's a trip report. Looks like you guys had a blast. I'm jealous. :)Jan 29, 2010 at 1:07 pm #1567655
Thanks so much for taking the time to share with the BPL community. It is fun to hear about others' trips and enjoy the beautiful pictures!Jan 29, 2010 at 9:38 pm #1567784
Ben 2 WorldParticipant
@ben2worldLocale: So Cal
Love the pic showing "sparkling clean mountain water". :)Jan 30, 2010 at 5:32 pm #1568024
@tomclarkLocale: East Coast
Great report & scenery. It really a shame to hear about the break-in. Thanks for all of the work on putting it together.
What was your (and the others') favorite/least favorite parts and why?
TomJan 30, 2010 at 5:48 pm #1568034
.Jan 30, 2010 at 7:21 pm #1568070
Tom: For views of Lake Tahoe, my favorite sections were from Marlette Lake to Spooner Lake and the Mt. Rose Wilderness. The Desolation Wilderness is also fantastic because of its classic Sierra granite look, but it doesn't have views of Lake Tahoe, so its more like hiking in other parts of the Sierra (which is a good thing). My least favorite section was probably from Tahoe City to Brockway Summit. It was mostly forested with not a lot to see, but in my book a day spent hiking in a quiet forest is a day well spent, so even though it was my least favorite, still no complaints.
Edit: Of course hiking the 3 miles of road to Heavenly Valley was not exactly wonderful, but I didn't mind the oddity of that part.
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