Twig Adventures

PCBCRT Day 62: South Lake Tahoe in and out

Saturday, Sep 9th, 2023, 0650-1830
Spooner Lake\Hwy 50 to Edgewood Creek
16 miles, Gain 2240′, Loss 2510′, elevation 7190′

This was half a town day, so not much detail to record. The trail climbed from the HWY steadily to arrive at another sagebrush-capped hill top. It was a good warm up for the morning…not that I was very cold. It was remarkably warmer than the previous morning. I caught up to Natty on the descent from the hill and we talked while we hiked. When I told him my name, a bell rang and he remembered meeting me at Mt Laguna and Lake Morena, a few days before I finished the PCT in 2018. I remembered meeting 2 hikers at the restaurants and sure enough, went back to see that I mentioned him in my blogs. Again, what a small world. He was the second TRT clockwise hiker that I knew of or who knew of me. He was also a pleasure to talk to, with lots of great advice on hikes. He’d done even more miles than me and was around the 25,000 mile mark…the circumference of the earth. I had another 8K to go to reach that mark…easily done if I ever decided to do a Calendar-year Triple.

More great views of the lake. The bald-looking mountains in the distance are part of the Desolation Wilderness

We walked together to Kingsbury road, where I planned to hitch into South Lake Tahoe. Natty turned up the road towards a convenience store and restaurant that was about half a mile away. He planned to visit town from the next major road crossing, about 26 miles further. I had enough food to do the same but was really wanting town food.

South Lake Tahoe and the casinos of Stateline, right on the border in Nevada. The region was a playground for all types.

I got a quick hitch after only 5 minutes, from a local guy who had hiked the JMT. He dropped me off in the center of town when I spied a Pho restaurant. It was a warm day but soup sounded good. I spent a long time there, charging electronics and sipping the broth. Finally I walked nearly a mile and a half to the Safeway, where I bought way too much food. My anxiety over food recently led me to carry way too much. But I was so calorie deprived by this point, I couldn’t afford to run low. I ate a poke bowl from the Safeway while I repackaged my travel food. Then I walked half a mile back to the Chipotle to get a burrito to pack out.

As soon as I walked in, a very friendly lady, Pixel (Veronica), asked if I was doing the PCT or TRT. I noticed the TRT hat she was wearing and it turns out, she worked for the Tahoe Rim Trail Association. Imagine my luck in meeting her! I later learned that she was also a part of Mr. President’s tramily when he hiked the PCT…again, small world. I told her about my hike and she offered to give me a ride back to the trail. I followed her, her husband, and 2 kids back to their house nearby. They had hiked both the AT and PCT before starting their family. They moved from Texas to the Tahoe region because they liked it so much when they came through on the PCT. Her husband worked for Outdoor Gear Lab, the website that publishes gear reviews. And I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention her adorable 4 year old, Silas, who was the sweetest kid I’d ever seen. He couldn’t stop giving mom hugs before she left to give me a ride. What a cool family!

On the way back to the trail, we discussed the mountain bike versus hiker dilemma. Pixel handled outreach and fundraising, so she got threatening calls all the time with people stating they wouldn’t donate money unless mountain bikes were banned from the entire trail OR mountain bikes were allowed on the entire trail. Imagine being caught in between and trying to please everyone. It’s a tough line to walk. I was like her and many others in hoping we could co-exist. We all just loved the trail so much and wanted to enjoy it responsibly.

Pixel of the Tahoe Rim Trail Association…her hat matched the trail marker…which is an outline of the lake.

At the trailhead, Pixel bid me farewell and good luck. I’ll add a plug for her here: support the Tahoe Rim Trail Association! Trust me, they are doing amazing work in maintaining and promoting the trail! I made a donation myself.

Since I’d been on the fence about staying in town or getting back on trail, I hadn’t looked much into where to call it a night. Luckily the area was full of nice flat spots among the granite boulders. I found one with a view of the sunset over the lake… perfect. Imagine what I would have paid for such a view from a posh resort. They all sat below me while I perched high in my hikertrash kingdom. Admittedly, my site was right off the trail, so I got a few stares from late passer-bys as I was setting up. I didn’t note any camping restrictions in the area, since I believe it was national forest land. But there were many houses not far away. They would go home to their posh resorts and houses, while my tent would quickly fade into the night, and all would be happy.

I love how my tent looks almost like a boulder
Can’t beat this view!

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