beautiful desolation

tahoe

Lake Tahoe

Day 93 After consuming 6 lbs of cereal and a gallon of milk for breakfast, we set off to do a few errands around South Lake. We just needed to go to the post office, pick up a few things and visit the world wide web so we thought that’d leave us plenty of time for relaxing. Except for the fact South Lake Tahoe is about 5 miles long and only a block wide. It took us AGES to walk all over town and run errands. We did enjoy a picnic on the lake and ran into Andy and met fellow thru-hiker Freebie but by evening all we had energy for was to watch 5 back-to-back episodes of Bear Grylls in Man vs. Wild.  I don’t know how many actual survival skills we learned (Run at all times!  Go into deep dark labyrinth caves!  Jump in roaring rivers and drift to civilization!) but it was entertaining.

Lake Aloha

Lake Aloha

Day 94 – Day 96 After getting a hitch in 5 minutes flat we were back on the PCT. The trail through the non-desolate Desolation Wilderness and Granite Chief Wilderness was captivating beautiful. Deep shimmering lakes, lovely ridge walks, fields of purple Lupine, golden Woolly Sunflower and fire-engine red Indian Paintbrush. But in the woods of red firs dressed in lime green sweaters of lichen the mosquitoes were intense. Motivated by the first Trail Angels since Kennedy Meadows, we did 27+ mile days to make it to Pooh Corner by the evening of Tuesday June 30th.

Heavenly

michaelDay 92 So upon arriving at Echo Lake Resort on the morning of June 26th the talk was all about Michael Jackson’s recent death. So tragic. He was a troubled and strange man but there’s no denying his musical genius. But re-uniting with Oklahoman Adam eased our mourning. He was there sorting out re-supply along with big foot Lenny, Rogue, Frisbee and Highlander & Gingersnap, two friends from Massachusetts.  We enjoyed some good chill-axing before hitching a ride into South Lake Tahoe from a super-nice couple from Quincy who’d hiked the PCT in the 90s.

There we made a bee-line to Baja Fresh where we ate gallons of salsa, then got some food from the supermarket for our Zero Day at a family friend’s condo by Heavenly Ski Resort.

Now all we had to do was get our packs, the ridiculous amount of groceries we’d just purchased and ourselves to the condo a few miles away.  Since it was way too much to carry, we decided our best bet was to load it all into a shopping cart and push the trolley up the hill. We were in the middle of loading up the shopping card for our hobo hike when the Quincy couple returned and said they’d give us a lift. The kindness of strangers!

Having a whole condo to ourselves was LUX! After eating & showering we planted our a$$es on the couch to eat dozens of enormous soft-baked cookies, drink Corona and watch Sister Act.

I know why they call this place Heavenly.

great expectations

Day 89 – Day 92 Leaving Sonora Pass it was back to just Dan & I hiking together. Andy had stayed on in Toulomne and Jean Michael had gone to Bridgeport from Sonora Pass. So it was just DnA. We missed our hiking companions but it was also nice to just be a duo.  We did met some other thru-hikers – Tomato, who’d hiked the AT & PCT before and went FAST,  and Booty & I Spy a friendly couple from Colorado. Plus we did a bit of a “detour” with Rogue after loosing the trail amongst snowy woods & swampy meadows.

Dan got nostalgic as we passed by Asa & Noble Lakes where he’d first heard about the Pacific Crest Trail while leading a trip for Outdoor Ed at Georgetown.  There was still some snow – grr! In a way this was one of our more difficult sections because I naively expected a fairly flat snow-free trail. Combined with the anticipation of the free condo we had waiting for us in South Lake Tahoe (thanks to the Shockey family!) the days passed by rather slowly. It’s remarkable how much your expectations and mind-set matter. But at last we arrived at Echo Lake on June 26th!