Wednesday, Sep 6th, 2023, 1230-1800
Tahoe City to Watson Lake
14.5 miles, Gain 2830′, Loss 1310′, elevation 7770′
I milked every hour and then some out of the hotel room, not checking out until noon. They were nice to give me an extra hour plus let me store a bag of some extra stuff for when I returned. I highly recommend the Americas Best Value Inn if staying around Tahoe City. It was the most inexpensive hotel in the greater area, including Truckee, and had everything I could want. The hot tub really sold it. I made another trip to Safeway for breakfast\lunch and more resupply items. It was hard to break away from town but finally I shouldered my heavy pack and carried on. I had about 4 days of food, which was probably too much. I saw 3 hikers heading into town but didn’t stop to chat with them.
The trail was busy with day hikers, mountain bikers, trail runners and dogs. There were also a few more backpackers. I climbed above the Truckee river valley, enjoying views of the ridges to the west where I just hiked on the PCT. Twin Peaks was easy to pick out among the many mountain tops. The conditions were perfect: clear blue sky, dry and with temps in the 70s.
My heavy pack was the only thing bothering me this day, so I tied in my fanny pack to serve as a hip belt. I also stopped to eat some food and redistribute my food bag lower. This all helped and the rest of the day passed easily. There were some really nice views of the lake and looking down onto Tahoe City…most of which was hidden by the trees. Right before Watson lake, I ran into Close Call and Teflon, the sweet couple I met at the hotel the day before. At least I thought to get a picture of us together. I hoped to see them again, possibly near the bottom half of the loop.
It was easy to call it quits at the lake as there were good tent sites, nice privies, bear boxes, and water. In weeks prior, I would have gone straight into the lake for a swim but I was already feeling a slight chill when I arrived. I barely worked up a sweat all day, so I felt no need. The water was pretty warm, though. I was a bit apprehensive about this campground because there was 4wd access, but I hoped it wouldn’t be too crazy on a Wednesday. There was one thru hiker (the Durston tent gave him away) and a few guys on motorcycles just hanging out. Some jeeps came and went as well, but none of the motorheads seemed to be camping overnight (thank goodness). Darkness fell and it was only us thru hikers left, just the way I liked it. Peace and quiet, lights out at 8 pm.