Date: July 15, 2017
Miles: 13.8 miles (22.2km), from Sonora Pass to mile 1,030.7.
Health: Feeling great.
Now that we are done with the Sierra, it's time to start moving again. From today I have exactly two and a half months until the end of September and when I'd like to be at the Canadian border – the Northern terminus of PCT. Which means I have to do about 1,620 miles (2,607km) in that time. That means some seriously long days.
While we're done with the Sierra, it doesn't mean we're done with the mountains and the snow. I feel like it's going to be a really tight run to the border to make it before the winter sets in.
I woke up in my hotel room a little later than on the trail, but I was still up before 7 am. Why do I have to wake up so early when I could sleep late? I try to use the shared bathrooms but they are all occupied so I go back to my room. I go through my food and make a list of things to buy. I also start packing my pack. While I really liked the MLD Prophet, I love the Pa'lante Packs Simple Pack.
I try to use the bathrooms again but no luck so I head down for the breakfast. It's nice to eat breakfast inside, by the table, without any hurry. And freshly squeezed orange juice. Yummy!
After the breakfast, I go back up to the room and finally one of the bathrooms is available. After a quick shower, I head out to get the groceries for the resupply and to get more bug spray. On the way, I run into Airplane Mode. She's going to get breakfast and as I wonder why she didn't eat the breakfast included in her room, she notices that she completely forgot that.
I get the bug spray from the sporting goods store and try to resupply from the General Store but the options are very limited. Unless you're looking to eat a lot of canned goods. After a lot of back and forth, I manage to scramble something together. Luckily it's only four days in South Lake Tahoe.
I cross the street back to my hotel and go finish with my packing. Everything fits easily inside the 32 liter pack. I'm excited to get back out without the bear can and microspikes. Even though I still have the ice axe my pack is so much lighter.
After checking out from the hostel I head to the Jolly Kone for one more taco salad before heading out. I'm still full from the breakfast so I only manage to eat about half. White Rabbit and Reroute join me and we start hitching out of town together.
We walk to the end of the Main Street, put our packs down and stick our thumbs up. It's hot in the sun and none of the cars stop. To make the time go by faster we make a game of hitching. We each get ten cars to try to get a ride and the first one to succeed wins. We try our best moves – I lift up my short sleeves to show a little leg, Reroute tries dancing, and White Rabbit goes for the good old looking happy. But to no avail.
White Rabbit tries to yogi a ride from the gas station across the street but again nothing. We notice a large white cardboard close to us and think about writing on it, but as none of has markers, we skip that plan. I go get the sign and suggest that if we just hold the empty sign, maybe people will stop to just ask what our sign says, or why it's empty. It’s as good of a plan as any, as it seems we're not getting a ride anytime soon. I get the sign, get to the side of the road, lift up the sign, and literally, the first car stops to pick us up. Epic!
Our savior can only give us a ride to the Sonora Pass junction as he's continuing to Tahoe. We happily accept as it takes us a lot closer to the pass. Once at the junction it's time to stick out our thumbs again. After about 15 minutes we're picked up again and make it all the way up to the pass.
On the way to the trail, we run into James who's getting his resupply package deliver here. We chat for a while and then head out. The trail climbs instantly and we spend the next hour climbing. There's some snow on the trail and few of the stream crossing on top of the snow are a bit sketchy and I fall through on a couple of them.
On one part the trail is washed away and under a vertical snow wall. I decide to climb upwards to drop down from there, while White Rabbit and Reroute decide to take the lower path. As I’m dropping down the steep snow and sand face, the rocks beneath my feet slip off and I lose my footing and tumble down towards the deep canyon beneath the trail. I manage to grab a couple of bigger rocks and gain my balance long enough to stop my slide. This was stupid! Luckily I got out of that with just a few scrapes and a bruised ego.
After climbing the southern facing side we get on the northern side and we’re back on snow. As it’s already late in the day so we slip and slide on the slushy snow. I travel faster in snow and soon White Rabbit and Reroute are so far behind that I don’t see them anymore. I boot ski down the slope, towards the valley where I think the trail leads to. I can’t see the trail but there’s really no other way the trail could go.
Right before I reach the end of the snow I stumble upon the Jew Crew having a break on a snowless patch of grass. As I haven’t seen them for a while I stop over for a short chat and we head out the same time. They keep asking me all these questions about snow and hiking in it. It’s funny how granted I’ve taken the snow hiking skills.
I soon leave the guys behind too and reach the dry trail. I pass couple obvious camp spots as I want to still get more miles in. Finally, I reach a small stream and it’s getting dark. I don’t see anyone around but a quick glance at Guthooks tells me there aren’t any other spots to camp ahead so I stop here.
I set up my camp, filter water from the stream, and make my dinner. I keep my eye on the trail hoping to see either the Jew Crew or White Rabbit and Reroute. Just as I’m about to call it a night the Jew Crew comes up.
We sit on the rocks next to my shelter and talk as they quickly start making their dinner. We end up talking late into the night eating some of their resupply as they had sent too much food. Who can say no to sugar covered donuts after a day of hiking? As it gets dark we call it a night and I fall asleep listening to the soothing sound of the stream next to my shelter.