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 thumb. Cleaned and covered with antibiotic cream. Universally, those of us watching ranked it as just plain nasty. Rumor is that we have a video of this technical procedure done in the field.
The Day's Damage to Jeremy's Feet.
July 7, 2009
Heather Lake to Richardson Lake. 17 miles, plus 4.2 mile detour by accident on the wrong trail when we took a 2.1 mile wrong turn at Middle Velma Lake and had to back track to the trail. This day included a beautiful hike up and over Dicks Pass and some marching through minor snow fields. It also included being entertained by a group of 3 singers hiking the PCT for a charity for disabled veterans. They sung in camp and the next day on the trail, and definitely added some color to our evening by the lake. Amazingly, they had never backpacked before their thru hike. -Jeremy
Cameron Early to Rise at 6:06 AM.
Note: Cameron uses an orange POE (pacific outdoor equipment) ether thermo 2/3 sleeping pad with a Gossamer Gear Toros Foam Pad with Backpackinglight.com 90 balaclava in red as part of his sleeping system.
Jay Says Good Bye to Heather Lake. 7:12AM
A Little Morning Color.
This lake was less than 1 mile beyond Heather Lake and we all agreed that it would have been a more scenic place to have camped. In fact, the evening before, we saw a few people on the trail that continued on past us to Susie Lakes. Being flat tired, we were happy to stop at Heather Lake. A bit of advice that I have read and will pass along, "Don't always take the first campsite that you see. Take the time to drop your pack and scout ahead and you might be rewarded with a much better campsite."
Walking Around the South Eastern Shore we came across a good number of backpackers at various campsites. Plenty of spots to pick around the lake that still would afford you some privacy or solitude.
Heading Upward, Higher and Higher.
From here the elevation changes very quickly in only one mile we went from 7680 Ft to 8290 Ft. Ultimately rising up to 9380 Ft at Dicks Pass. All of this elevation gain in about 3.2 Miles from Susie Lake.
Half Moon Lake & Alto Morris Lake in the Background.
An Amazing Climb.
View from the Trail Looking Back Towards Susie Lake.
Dicks Lake & Fontanillis Lake in the Distance.
Contrast of Colors and Textures.
Getting to this point was a bit of a challenge for me. I was feeling the thin air and having trouble keeping up with the rest of the group. As we climbed higher, we were hit with a fair amount of wind, which forced me to put on my wind shirt to stay warm.
Looking Back from the Top of Dicks Pass.
Aloha Lake in the distance, Susie Lakes, and Half Moon Lake in the foreground.
Cameron at Dicks Pass.
Elevation 9380 Ft.
The Highest Point so far on our journey.
Barren at the Top.
Climbing Across Islands of Snow Obscuring the Trail.
Jay Following in the Foot Steps of Others.
What was nice about having other go ahead of us was that we did not have to pull out compasses for navigation. Once over Dicks Pass, we quickly lost elevation, dropping quickly with a series of switch backs through the shade of the pine trees. Along the way down, we passed a few other backpackers who had crossed the pass as we had.
Approximate Elevation where photo was taken: 8500 Ft.
Meeting Two Friends Thru Hiking the PCT.
I was impressed how clean they were, despite the long distances they had traveled so far.
Jay Sports a 15.75 oz. Mountain Laurel Designs Ark Pack, the largest offered by Ron at MLD. Jeremy has the mid-size 14.70 oz. MLD Exodus Pack in small. Both are wearing Sunday Afternoon Hats, which is also the hat that I use. Dorky looking, but the best to protect your head and neck from the Sun.
Heading to an Unnamed Pond.
Scruffy Looking Cameron at an unnamed and unmarked pond with a less than white shirt.
Note: Cameron is carrying a Gossamer Gear Mariposa with retrofitted aluminum frame. Weighing in at just over 1 lb, which he specifically bought to use on a John Muir Trail trip, which he hopes to take in the near future.
Another View of Dicks Lake.
View of Fontanillis Lake Looking South.
View of the North Eastern End of Fontanillis Lake.
Water Coming in from Upper Velma Lake.
Jeremy Taking Lunch at the Northern End of Foutarillis Lake. 11:20 AM.
Just Above the spot where we were taking our lunch, on the granite above us was a man flying a kite high up into the gusty, blue skies. We also saw a number of Boy Scouts at the Lake.
Cameron & Jay Taking Lunch.
Cameron is using his Steri Pen to purify a mug of water.
Cheese and Tortillas from the Echo Chalet General Store.
Crossing the Logs on the Stream from Upper Velma Lake.
It was pretty gusty coming across this log after we finished lunch. Both Cameron and I were almost blown off the logs from the strong winds coming off the Lake.
View of Middle Velma Lake.
Elevation 7965 Ft.
Area Around Middle Velma Lake.
Much of the Same the Rest of the Way.
Interestingly I don't have many photos beyond this point with 8.5 Miles to go til Richardson Lake. Much of the trail was through wooded areas or on dusty and dry ridges that were full of trees and offered few good views for photos.
Screwed, We Were Make Good Time.
This Is Not On the Map!
Jeremy & Jay Cutting Across a Refreshingly Cool River.
Photo Courtesy of Cameron.
Tony Cutting Across the River to Camper Flat.
Photo Courtesy of Cameron.
After Crossing this River and Taking a Snack Break we all pulled out our maps and tried to make sense of where we were. No where on our maps did it show a river for us to cross at this stage of the day. After taking a snack break and having time for our shoes to dry off a bit, we headed further down the trail and found a trail marker where three trails intersected, one leading to Camper Flat.
We had traveled 2.1 miles off the Tahoe Rim Trail and had gone from an Elevation of 7940 Ft to 7200 Ft. We had been making great time. With the great time we had been making so far, we had hoped to advance more than twenty miles today. All thought of getting ahead on our pace went out the window. Wordlessly, we all hit the trail, going back up the way we came with me leading. For forty five minutes we marched along saying very little, simply pissed at having made such an navigational error. Before we knew it we were back at the top where we had gone astray. I think we were all a bit shocked of how quickly we had traveled up the relatively steep 2.1 miles of trail back to the junction where we had taken a wrong turn.
Clear as Day, We Had all passed this trail Marker and Missed the Arrow pointing to the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Somewhere Along the Trail This Day.
Richardson Lake, 7:01 PM after 21.2 miles, including a 4.2 mile wrong turn.
Second Round of Surgery, but on the Right Foot this Time.
This time around it was a bit more humorous in a twisted way. Once again, Jeremy had his trusty bend needle at the ready. As he attempted to puncture the bottom of his right pinky toes, he wondered aloud if it was a thick callus or a blister. After using the needle to pierce the skin of his toe he declared, "I think it is just a callus." To which we roared back with laughter, "The fact that the needle didn't go through was a good indication!" To which Jeremy replied with confidence, "The one on top, definitely a blister!" As he was wiping the top of his pinky toe clean I asked, "Is there a toe nail on there?" To which Jeremy simply replied, "Barely." You know when you have been on the trail too long where the night's entertainment centers around a guy using a needle on himself.
View of Richardson Lake with the Fading Light.
Nice Warm Way to End a Long Day.
After Setting up Camp, Jeremy went over to an adjacent campsite, attracted to the sound of singing. There he meet three guys who "were thru-hiking the PCT to raise money for wounded war veterans. They had never been backpacking before their thru-hike. I remember them saying they had underestimated how difficult a PCT thru-hike was. One of them said he “wouldn’t recommend it.” They sang the star-spangled banner the evening at Richardson lake and they were singing songs when they passed us on the trail at Barker Pass the next day. They all had Granite Gear Vapor Trail packs and wore their 02 Rainwear around camp to keep the mosquitoes from biting." -Jeremy
Bed Time Setup, Ready for the Morning.
At night I will fill my 1.8 L Platypus Hoser Hydration System with clean water and will toss in two Nuun Tablets, so I am ready to hit the trail the next morning. My MSR Pocket Rocket is setup and sitting on top of my MSR Titan Kettle, which is filled up with filtered water, ready to heat up for my oatmeal. Next to the Kettle, I have laid out my Titanium folding spork. To the Right of my hydration system is my Platypus 4 L Water tank, filled with unfiltered water, ready for me to quickly attach my Sawyer Inline Filter to use as a gravity filter. Between my oatmeal and a warm drink, I will easily suck down a liter of water. I like to tank up on an additional one to two liters of filtered water from my water tank, depending how much time we have before we start hiking. This system allows me to wake up and quickly eat and rehydrate without out really needing to leave the comfort of my sleeping bag- save for retrieving my UrSack from a spot some 100 ft away or so from the campsite.
Jays Love Shack.
July 8, 2009
Richardson Lake to Tahoe City. 23 miles. We left the PCT 5 miles after Barker Pass and descended to Tahoe City. Had dinner at a pizza place, resupplied at the grocery store and stayed in a motel in Tahoe City. Fair game on a thru hike if it passes through town, plus the hot tub at the motel soothed aching muscles. Jay dropped us back at the trail head the next morning and headed back to the Bay Area to attend to family obligations. Cameron, Tony and I pressed on. -Jeremy
Morning at Richardson Lake with Cameron wearing his BPL Hoody.
I recall that it was a bit of a cool night by the lake. I woke up in the middle of the night itching away with the grim of the trail lingering on me for the past few days. I took a small cloth and went to the water's edge and gave myself a bit of a sponge bath. The recalled that the light of the moon illuminated the small ripples on the water, which were there because of the breeze. I remembered how nice it felt to be clean as I returned to bed.
Cameron Prepares His Feet for the Day.
Despite all the photos that you might see of people's feet in some sort of distress, this was not always the case. Jay and I were fortunately to not require as much attention to our feet. The most that I needed was using some tape on my right heel to alleviate some rubbing and to cushion one or two small blisters.
Calm Waters at Richardson Lake.
Hillsides of Woods and Green Plants.
Back onto the trail by 8:33 AM after a leisurely start.
Approximately, 6.5 Miles from Lake Richardson to Barker Pass. Our pace was quick, as the wood gave us a cool shade to march along to. This section of trail was fairly easy with and easy grade and not much elevation gain.
Season of Color.
An Open Stretch to the Woods.
Break Time at Barker Pass Parking Lot.
Elevation 7650 Ft.
As we were chatting away, we did not realize that next to us was a truck and in the bed for the truck with a shell on the back of it was a man sleeping inside.
Pretty Full Parking Lot.
There seemed to be a lot of day hikers and some backpackers here. I can not recall if there was a water fountain here.
Pit Toilet at Barker Pass.
Fields of Toilet Paper Plants.
I have no idea of these plants are called, but we all recalled an essay by Mike Clelland on the use of "Natural" Toilet Paper and thought that this velvety leafed plant has to rank high as being one of the best to use in the field.
Mike Clelland's Article:
http://www.backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/toilet_paper_free.html (Viewable only to members of BPL).
Sea of Color.
First View of Lake Tahoe Today.
Jeremy & Cameron Onward and Upward.
The South Western View from the Trail.
Sharing A Big Trail with a Group of Day Hikers.
One thing about the Tahoe Rim Trail is that it is very accessible from a number of points, allowing just about anyone in decent shape to be able to hike the whole trail in short sections.
Jay Working His Way Up.
Something Pretty By the Trail.
Tony Finds His Trail Legs.
Typically, I have always favored going down hill vs. up hill, where Jeremy is the opposite. On prior trips, I usually was struggling to keep up with him on the up hill sections of the trail. For whatever reason, this section of trail was a turning point for me. I had managed to get a head of everyone else on a series of switchbacks that headed up and up and I just kept going til I lost sight of them and waited for them at the top. Since this moment, I feel as if I don't favor the up or down hill sections and can manage either of them fine.
Still Some Snow on the Trail.
Granite Chief Wilderness.
View to the East of the Trail at Granite Chief Wilderness.
Ridge Top Just After the Switchbacks.
Two PCT Thru Hikers in the Distance, Flying Down the Trail.
Enjoying the Warmth of the Sun at Lunch Time.
Note: At this point we had lunch together, though Jay decided to take lunch a few yards from us to have some solitude. After lunch, he wordless put on his headphone for his iPod and took off down the trail. Jay has a wide stride and is in amazing shape as a former professional athlete. We thought we would catch up to Jay in just a few minutes. Turns out that we would not see him for the rest of the day until we met in Tahoe City at his truck. Apparently, he arrived at his truck about thirty minutes before we did. We were worried and a bit puzzled if we had someone offended or bothered him in some way. Turns out that Jay just wanted to have a little time on the trail at his normal pace of hiking and all things were good.
Leaving the PCT after about 50 Miles.
The Tahoe Rim Trail Splits to Head North East towards Stanford Rock and 6.7 Miles to Ward Creek Blvd.
Elevation 8420 Ft.
Twelve Percent is his trail name. Apparently, when he was first getting into backpacking, he took some sort of outdoor aptitude test and scored only 12%. Pretty funny considering that he was now Thru Hiking the PCT for seven months, enjoying an adventure that only a select few will ever experience. Hats off to you 12%!
Western View from the Trail at Granite Chief Wilderness.
Losing Elevation on a Scenic Route.
An Unexpected Sight along the Trail.
Dusty March Through the Woods.
Jeremy & Cameron Crossing Ward Creek Blvd.
Cutting Through Page Meadow.
An Unusual Choice of Trail Building Material.
Last Stretch of the Trail Near Granlibakken Ski Area.
Walking along the Truckee River into Tahoe City.
Back at Jay's Truck for a Resupply
Jay Takes A Drip at the Truckee River Access by the Parking Lot, Under a Bridge.
Cameron Ends the Day as He Started It.
Caring for your Feet, It Works.
Pizza, Beer, and Salad by the Truckee River.
Can not remember the place, but it was just West of the Hwy 89 & Hwy 28 Intersection by the Side of the Road.
It was great that we could eat outside, as I am sure that we did not smell so good and looked worse. A little cool in the shade of the building, but a nice little reward for a long day on the trail to eat hot, tasty food and look out over the Truckee river.
Dirty Bag Cameron at the Grocery Store Parking Lot in Tahoe City.
We stopped by the local grocery store and stocked up on some more bars, snacks, and drinks. One nice thing with this trip is that with the trail cutting back into civilization so often, we only needed to carry about three days of food at any given time.
We debated whether to press on past Tahoe City or to grab a room. Hot water and a shower won out. Cameron & Jay shared a room while Jeremy and I shared another. I literally walked into the shower with all of my clothing on and just turned on the hot water and had mud water come off of me in sheets. The sweat and dust from the trail just covering me. It was great to be fat and fluffy with pizza and beer, to get really clean again, sort out our gear to figure out what to leave behind with Jay, and to soak in the hot tub they had. Given that my cloths were soaking wet and drip drying in the shower, I made for an odd sight wearing only a white towel and my underpants underneath as I walked through the parking lot to look for the hot tub. There Jeremy and Jay were soaking and enjoying a beer. It was great to soak away and relax the muscles.
July 9, 2009
Tahoe City to a mile or so past Brockway Summit. 20 miles. We had cached water at Brockway Summit, so after hiking 19 miles to Brockway Summit, we loaded up on our water cache, and dry camped after ascending the first switch backs past Brockway Summit. -Jeremy
Free Breakfast at the Inn.
It was nice to sleep in a soft bed for the night and it was odd to watch television after being so unplugged from the modern world. However, I found that I missed the fresh air of sleeping outdoors and the creeping light of dawn to wake me versus the hard sound of an alarm clock.
Note: Tony's GoLite Jam2 pack with 2.1 Oz. Gossamer Gear Thinlight full length sleeping pad rolled up and stored on the side of the pack. Bear Vault on the ground was used to store food in Jay's truck at the parking lot as a means to resupply ourselves. Excess supplies and food were left with Jay in the bear vault as a means for us to go as light as we could for the next two days.
Getting off the Road & Back onto the Trail at the End of Fairway Drive. 7:22 AM
Elevation 6300 Ft.
12.5 Miles to Watson Lake on a dry stretch of Trail.
After breakfast, we all climbed into Jay's truck where he drove us a short distance to the trail head where we walked up either an asphalt road to get to the trail head. Jay had to get home to pick up his son, who was staying with a friend for a few days. Initially, we planned on finishing in nine days, but hoped that we might be able to finish the trip in seven days, but it was not meant to be. Though Jay has previously hiked the upcoming sections of the Tahoe Rim Trail, we were still a bit disappointed as we said our good byes.
The Day's First Good View of Lake Tahoe.
View North East of the Trail.
Logging or Clearing of the Trail.
Forest Trail on the Ridge.
This was the typical view that we had as we steadily gained elevation on the trail leaving Tahoe City behind us. On the trail we met many retired people who seemed be part of a regular hiking group that met to hike on the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Cameron Attends to his Feet close to the Painted Rock.
Jeremy Adjusting his Shoe or Cleaning Debris.
Looking at Lake Tahoe from the North Western Section of the Trail.
The Trail Towards Watson Lake.
Water Break by the South Easter Edge of Watson Lake.
Here we saw a number of day hikers, families, and mountain bikers. Just to the left of the photo, the Western Edge of the lake is accessible by vehicles by paved road. There looked like there was a boat launch at the parking lot. As we left and hiked around the Eastern Edge of the lake we could hear the busy sound of chain saws at work.
Elevation 7760 Ft.
Cameron and Jeremy Enjoy a bit of Water and Shade.
Onward to Brockway Summit, 6.7 Miles Away.
Shades of Green Along the Trial.
Details of Purple.
Tea Cup of White & Yellow.
Grains of Summer on the Petals.
Yellow & Velvety Leaves as Far as the Eye Can See.
Another Trail to a Different Adventure.
The only Guy Who Gained Weight by Going Ultra Light.
For Cameron's first camping trip he showed up at his friend's place with a brown paper bag full of food and a wool blanket. No one really told him that it was going to be a backpacking trip. Undetered, Cameron when on the trip with a grocery bag under his arm and slept out with a wool blanket for multiple days. So going Ultra Light really has made is load heavier, but no doubt more comfortable and safer.
Note: Funny thing happened just before this photo was taken. On this particular stretch of the trail, we came across quite a few day hikers. One particular group was of a family of five. The father, upon seeing Cameron hiking towards them on the trail, immediately stepped in front of his teenage daughters to stand between them and Cameron. Jeremy and I laughed, "As filthy looking as Cameron was, he kinda looked like Charles Manson or some sort of crazy mountain man!"
Jeremy, Leading Me into Adventure Never Imagined.
I really have to count myself lucky that Jeremy loves to plan out all of the trips that we go on. He really enjoys pouring over the details of the map and planning out where we will end up each night, how many days of food to carry, where we will resupply, where the water will be so we will be safe. All stuff that I am too lazy to figure out for myself. As I like to say, "I am just the photographer." Cameron gave me the trail name "Snapshot", which seems appropriate.
Nothing that Blue Kinesio Tape Can Not Solve.
After about 120 Miles on the Trail I had two unexpected problems come up. The first was the the flap of cloth on the inside of the REI Zip off Leg Adventure Pants that covered the zipper started to rub my inner thighs raw. The second problem was that the webbing between my thumb and forefinger started to get rubbed a little raw from the swinging action of moving the poles, which I solved by putting some blue tape on my hands. Funny the problems that you come up with when you hike long distances.
Water Cache at Brockway Summit East off to the Side of the Trail.
On the Drive up from Tahoe City to our Starting Point at Tahoe Meadows, we dropped off five gallons of water for us to resupply ourselves as this is a very dry section of trail.
Tony's Indian Food Dinner
I bought this from my favorite Indian Food Restaurant and tossed it on my Excalibur Home Dehydrator and 6 hours later, I had my meal, which I vac sealed with my Food Saver at home. Simple, easy, and tasty.
Cameron's Trusty Bush Buddy Wood Burning Stove.
At 5.5 Oz, this little marvel took care of all of Cameron's cooking and hot water needs for the whole trip. With plenty of fuel at his feet where ever we went, I was a bit envious that he never needed to conserve fuel. Getting it started up was pretty easy. Cameron had a large ball of cotton, which he would pull off a piece and use his fire steel to land sparks on to get some flames going. Tossing that into the stove, he would feed is small twigs and pine needles and then larger sticks. Does not take much to get a decent fire going to cook or boil water with. Definitely going to be on my shopping list for the near future.
Tony's Kit: Base Weight for this Trip About 11 lbs. with Camera & Batteries.
Sharing the Wealth.
Since Jay was no longer with us, we had extra water, which we left by the side of the trail for any other hikers to use. When we returned at the end of our trip to pick up the empty water bottles we had left behind, this extra water jug had been already been taken.
Brockway Summit East.
Elevation 7000 Ft.
Jeremy & Cameron Crossing Hwy 267 at Brockway Summit.
Looking for a Flat Spot to Camp for the Night.
View Point 1.5 Miles from the Hwy, 7:40 PM
Elevation 7640 Ft Approximately.
After hiking in a short distance from Brockway Summit, we found this flat spot just next to the trail and decided to make camp for the night.
Jeremy Having an Evening Snack with Some Bugs.
Note: Jeremy is using an UrSack with an odor proof zip lock bag for food storage, which all of us were using too.
Cameron with Backpackinglight 0.33 Oz. Head Net.
Tony Heating Some Water for a Hot Drink Before Bed.
Note: 4.0 Oz. 0.9 L MSR Titanium Kettle and 3.0 Oz. MSR Pocket Rocket. Photo taken while laying in my MLD Bivy.
Tricks with Your Hiking Sticks.
Jeremy and I both used our hiking poles as a point to tie out the head of our bivies to keep the bug netting off our faces and to create more interior head room inside the bivy.
July 10, 2009
A mile past Brockway Summit to Tahoe Meadows. 18 miles. We staggered into the finish line only to be immediately jolted back to real life. Tony's car window had been smashed and our clean clothes and other items stored in the trunk had been stolen, including wallet, cell phone and keys for Cameron. A reminder that Tahoe, while beautiful, is not exactly a remote wilderness. We drove into town for post-hike celebratory beers and chow before the drive home. -Jeremy
Last Day's Start at 6:52 AM.
By the end of this day, Cameron was in quite a bit of pain with strained or cramped muscles. Here Cameron is attempted to use the tape to help pull or lift his muscles to alleviate some early discomfort.
The Big View of Lake Tahoe.
Our Last Day on the Trail was the Most Scenic of the Lake, offering an amazing wild flower filled hillsides and grand views of the Lake.
Cameron and Jeremy on the Last Day.
Jeremy's Routine on the Trail.
Last of the Blue Tape Feet.
Jeremy, The Lake, and Tahoe City.
Your Photographer, Tony.
High View of the Lake from what might be Mt. Baldy.
If this is Mt. Baldy, Elevation is 9271 Ft.
A Beautifully Built Trail.
Entering Mt. Rose Wilderness.
View of Incline Village and Crystal Bay.
Look to the North East Portion Around Lake Tahoe.
In the Distance is Hwy 43 working its way down towards Incline Village and Hwy 28.
This one is Red, Orange, and Yellow.
Possibly Rifle Peak.
Another Wide View of the Lake.
Trail Through Wild Flowers, Carpet of Color.
Rose Knob Peak in the Far Distance.
Bouquet of White Flowers.
Full View of the Lake.
Remnants of Winter.
Textures and Elements Along the Trail.
Full View of Crystal Bay and Incline Village.
Skirting Around Rose Knob Peak.
Elevation of Rose Knob Peak 9710 Ft.
Pushed off the Trail by a Snow Embankment.
Despite that we did have plenty of water still with us, in part to the fact that walking along the amazing ridge overlooking Lake Tahoe was breezy and cool, it was good to know that if we need water we could tank up here if we needed to. This section of trail was bone dry.
A Trail for Everyone Young and Old.
Guardians of Stone Hovering Over the Trail.
Jeremy & Cameron Taking Lunch at the End of a Switch Back.
Surrounded by Green & Yellow Along the Trail.
Fallen Baby Blue Jay at Our Feet.
While walking along this section of trail, this baby Blue Jay fell out of a pine tree and onto the trail.
The End in Sight.
Ginny Lake in the Foreground, Hwy 431, and Tahoe Meadows in the Background.
Descending Down from the Ridge a Bit.
Heading Back Up.
South Western View from the Long Switch Backs to Relay Peak.
North Western View from the Trail.
Jeremy Gazing Back.
Big Sky, Big Lake.
Another View North West from the Trail.
Snow Pond with Tamarack Peak in the Distance.
Tamarack Peak Elevation 9897 Ft.
Relay Peak, The Highest Point of Our Journey.
Elevation 10,338 Ft.
North Western View from Relay Peak.
Tony and Cameron Enjoying a Break after a hard Climb.
Hitting a Patch of Snow Leaving Relay Peak.
Cameron Carefully Navigating the Slope.
Hike Poles are Our Friends Crossing Streams, Mud, and Snow. As Jeremy likes to say, "Better to be a four legged animal." For myself, I can honestly say that without the poles, I could not have completed this journey. They have helped me use my arms to propel me up steep switchbacks and saved my knees on jarring down hill descents. They also allow me to pitch my poncho tarp into a shelter when needed.
Clearing the Last of the Snow.
A Better View of Snow Pond.
Turn Out of Humbold Toiyabe National Forest.
Elevation 10,130 Ft.
4.7 Miles to the End.
Jeremy Sees a Sign that the End is Near.
Note: There are two trails that you can take to get to Tahoe Meadows Parking Lot. A Backpacker/Hiker's route, which is 4.7 Miles and a Mountain Biker's Route, which is 4.1 Miles.
Losing Elevation Fast on a Rocky Road.
Felt a bit odd and hard on the feet to be pounding away on a hard packed, rocky trail.
We were not sure what this was. Some sort of cable system that went to the radio tower a few pictures back. Reminded me of a ski lift.
Past on the Road by a Ranger or Utility Worker.
At this point in our long day, we joked about getting a ride down vs. walking the rest of the way.
Snow Pond Up Close.
Turning North onto the Hiker's Trail to Mt. Rose Summit.
Elevation 9380 Ft.
2.6 Miles to Mt. Rose Summit.
Wet and Green Descent 0.7 Miles to 9160 Ft.
A nice change to get away from the barren, rock terrain, we came across wet patches of water stained trail, green grasses, and some mud.
Looking South From the Trail Towards the Tamarack Peak Range.
Cameron's Painful Last March.
Suffering from strained muscles & ligaments that he had previously taped earlier in the day, Cameron Gutted it out with little complaint.
Looking North as the Trail Turns South East.
Elevation 9160 Ft.
Walking Along the Base of the Tamarack Peak Range.
Last Water on the Trail Less than 0.25 Mile from Elevation Point 9160 Ft on the Map.
The Lake Comes Back into View.
Tahoe Meadows Parking Lot, I Can See My Car.
Back to a Humorous Reality.
The Day was Long and All of Us Wanted to Be Done with the Trail, The Best Behind Us. As I walked along the trail, I came across a father and son, who had hiked in a little bit from the parking lot. The Silver Haired Gentleman simply asked me two questions, "Where are you from? Do you know how tall Mt. Fuji is?" I could only answer one of his questions: I am from California, the East Bay. Guess one out of two is not bad? Though I have to say that after meeting this man, I was chuckling to myself quite a bit and the soreness in my feet and legs did not feel so bad. Oh, by the way, Mt. Fuji is 12,388 Ft. tall.
Mt. Rose Summit Trail Head and Parking Lot.
Elevation 8900 Ft.
1.1 Miles to Tahoe Meadows Parking Lot.
Crossing Hwy 43.
Mt. Rose Campground.
Passing Through to get to the Trail.
0.2 Miles to Rejoin the Trail.
Any Easy Path to the End.
0.9 Miles to Tahoe Meadows Parking Lot.
Tahoe Meadows Interpretive Trail to the Left.
Jeremy Crossing the Finish Line at 3:35 PM.
Cameron Survives the Tahoe Rim Trail.
Cameron's "White" Shirt weighed 2.3 Oz heavier than the start of the trip with all the dirt and grim he had picked up. Someone on the trail asked him after looking at the state of his shirt, "Did you leave any dirt on the trial?"
Welcome Back to Civilization.
Upon Returning the car we found out that just one or two nights ago someone had smashed the windows of four vehicles in the parking lot and stolen things out of the trunks of the vehicles. We lost spare clothing. Cameron got hit the worst, with his wallet, cell phone, and keys stolen. The thieves were not too smart about what they took. They took the old clothes, but left a brand new pair of trail runners and did not take my cds from the cd changer. Smash and grab in the dark.
A park ranger was there and called the police to take a report from us. The Ranger was kind enough to lend us a garbage bag, broom, and dust pan to help clear the bits of glass from the car seats and floor.
Packing It All Up with Plenty of Good Memories.
Elevation 8740 Ft.
Food and Drink in Either North Tahoe Beach or Atagam Beach.
Tony and Cameron Enjoying A Drink.
Reveling in the Accomplishment of a Trip of a Lifetime.
This was a trip of many first for all of us. The longest number of days on the trail, longest number of miles, and the first trip with a resupply.
Jeremy Has Another Well Deserved Beer.
For Those Who Might Want to Know About How Much Food We Carried and How We Handled Our Resupplies:
At the start, we carried about 2.5 days worth of food excluding dinner, plus 4 dinners. After 2 nights, we reloaded on food and beer except dinners at Tramway Market. Then we went to the Fox & Hound for breakfast and beer. After 2 more nights, we got our resupply from my dad, which had 3 dinners and some other food, plus a six pack of beer, plus we hit the Echo Chalet market for food and beer. At Tahoe City, we got food and beer at the grocery store and one more dinner from our second resupply at Jay’s truck. Jay, who had hiked ahead, had beer waiting. We had pizza and beer for dinner, beer in the hot tub, and pastries at the motel’s continental breakfast before departing the next morning. At Brockway Summit, we got our water cache. After completing the trail, we got tacos and beer. You’ll notice that one key component of the Tahoe Rim Trail, at least for me, was its regular access to beer, a very big plus for any thru-hike. -Jeremy
I want to thank the Tahoe Rim Trail Association for creating an amazing trail that is accessible to everyone and provides such breath taking views of not only Lake Tahoe, but of a wide variety of strikingly beautiful landscapes. The people who we shared the trail were quick to share a smile and always courteous be they mountain bikers, trail runners, or fellow hikers. Its relatively easy accessibility to civilization makes this a trail that just about anyone can enjoy. This truly is a special place to experience, be it in a series of day hikes or something long like what we did. Give yourself a bit of adventure and go experience this unique trail.
Photos Taken with Canon PowerShot SD880IS 10.0 Mega Pixels
Wide Angle Lens & Edited with Photoshop Elements Version 7
Other photo essays by Tony:
BPLers GGG: Henry Coe State Park, CA.
BPLer's GGG: Point Reyes, CA. 2nd Annual Trip
BPLer's GGG: San Francisco Bay Area, CA.; Mt. Diablo
BPLer's GGG: Yosemite: Hetch Hetchy Resevior to Rancheria Falls
BPLer's GGG: Point Reyes, CA
High Sierra trail to Mt. Whitney
Lassen Volcanic National Park
Sequoia & Kings Canyon National Park: Deadman Canyon
Tahoe Rim Trail
Yosemite: Glacier Point to Red Peak Pass to Lake Merced
Yosemite in Winter: Crocker Point & Dewey Point
Yosemite: Lake Vernon & Hetch Hetchy Reservoir
Yosemite: Tenaya Creek
Photo Essay by Linda Vassallo: Mt Whitney Summit Hike: A photo essay
Trip Report & Article by Jeremy Pendrey: Hiking The Diablo Trail: A Conservation Success Story