Sierras J

Sept. 6, Tues.–no miles–Zero day at Tahoe

Tues. Sept. 6           No miles today         Zero day at South Shore Lake Tahoe

After “sleeping in” till 7 am, we got up and walked down the road for a buffet breakfast.  Yum!  We were joking about how the buffets ought to have some sort of warning system–“Red alert!  Red alert!  Incoming thruhikers fresh from the High Sierras!”  so they would know to put out lots of food!  One of the places we passed had pictures of their food, and one of the menu items was a hamburger named after Bill! 

After breakfast,  Bill and I went on separate “errand trails.”  Bill went to look for trek poles and materials to do some pack repair, plus mail the bear cans home.  I went hunting for new shoes to replace the ones I’ve worn for over a thousand miles, which were beginning to fall apart.  They were in such bad shape that my feet were really getting beat up on the rocky trails we’ve being doing.   Unfortunately, the resupply box that never showed up in Tehachapi had contained a pair of new shoes, because I had planned to tackle the Sierras in nice new shoes, not the same ones I’d worn all through Oregon and Washington.  Oh well.  I tracked down a good sports store and started trying on shoes.  The folks in the store said they get a LOT of PCT hikers coming in to replace worn out gear!  No kidding!  I guess I became ANOTHER one of their statistics!   It turned out that they did not have any larger size womens’s shoes (I needed size 11), so I ended up having to buy a MEN’s shoe that would work.  Then I hunted up a grocery store to get a few more things for our food bags.  We don’t have such a long stretch till the next resupply, so we can afford a bit more food weight.

Shopping in South Lake Tahoe was sort of fun, though I don’t think I looked like a tourist!  The town is pretty, busy, and “touristy” but nice.  I finally went back to our nice peaceful room at the South Shore Inn to sort out all the food and load the food bags ready to be back on trail tomorrow.  Then I rested and did writing till Bill came back.  He’d mailed the bear cans, but had no luck finding anything else, other than finding a secondhand sweatshirt for me to tie around my waist instead of the now-ragged quilt stuffing I’d been using since Tehachapi.  I trimmed a lot of fabric off the sweatshirt so that it was just the right size and shape to “fatten me up” so I can cinch my pack tight and get the weight off my shoulders.

After a rest, we went back to the sports store to find Bill some new shoes.  Along the way, we met three SOBO’s walking along the main street, looking for the South Shore Inn.  We were happy to give them directions!  We’d met them before, up north.  Then it was buffet dinner time, and back to the Inn to do final preparations and rest.  Our feet feel better already in our new shoes, we are well-fed, and we’re ready to go on!  Ziggy said he’d call us early tomorrow morning when he was ready to take us up the hill and back to the trail.  He and his wife have only one car, and she needs it to go to work, so he can only use it early in the morning or after she gets back from work at night.

Sept. 5, Mon.–9.5 miles–Sierras J Echo Lake Resort

Mon. Sept. 5       Miles today: 9.5       Total so far: 2,008.5         End Sierras Section J     Echo Lake

We were very quick to load up our packs and get on the trail this morning!  Early on, we made quick progress along a relatively easy trail through thriving forests and bright green meadows, silver with frost in the low spots.  Views of Lake Tahoe got better and better.  Then bummer, the trail went from “nice downhill dirt” to rotten rocks.  Instead of zipping along to Echo Lake, I was slowly picking my way down the rocks. GRRR!  We did come to a section where a volunteer trail crew had been hard at work.  Much better!  The crew were lined up for breakfast when we went by their “base camp”.  Oh man, bacon, eggs…did it ever smell good! 

Finally we reached busy Highway 50 and scurried across, only to face a stiff climb up to the top of the hill and down to the Echo Lake Resort. The post office was still open, our resupply box was waiting for us, and we ate an early lunch (10 am) of big roast beef sandwiches, ice cream, etc.  A call to trail angel “Ziggy” of the South Shore Inn in South Lake Tahoe assured us that he had room for us, but couldn’t pick us up till 5:00 pm.  We said we’d hitch a ride down, and he promised us a ride back to the trail.  So we grabbed our packs, strolled up the resort exit road to what looked like a good hitch-hike spot, and tried flagging down a ride.  But the problem was, everybody was headed HOME for points to the west–nobody was going to Lake Tahoe!

I was starting to be a bit concerned, when whom should we see but the three older backpackers we’d been leapfrogging with!  They offered us a ride, and we were thrilled!  I got a picture of one of their very unique backpacks.  It turned out that one of them really wanted to meet the famous Ziggy of South Shore Inn.  So not only did we get a ride down the mountain, but were taken right to the Inn door.  There was Ziggy himself, very warm and welcoming.  The Inn turned out to be very comfortable, and close to everything.  We washed ourselves and our clothes, sorted through our packs, took out everything we felt we didn’t need anymore, and put those things in the now-empty bear cans to mail home.

Then it was time to EAT.  We went to a buffet and totally pigged out, before going back to rest and make phone calls.  Oh yes, we also did check out the nearby shopping center to see the resources there, and try to find trek poles for Bill at the sports store.  No luck–they only had ski poles.  We decided to try some other places tomorrow, since we are taking a BADLY need “zero day.”  It was wonderful to return to the Inn and collapse on a nice, soft, comfortable bed.  We both slept like logs.