Friday, July 25, 2014

Echo Lake to Donner Pass

Day 75-79:
I took an extra zero in Tahoe on day 75, and just as well, a major thunderstorm occurred which caused a widespread power failure for many hours that afternoon. The Matterhorn Motel is very hiker friendly.

The next day I got a ride with Rock Ocean who is shuttling hikers all along the PCT back to Echo Lake. 

Melissa , Jim and Finn the dog, gave me a spontaneous joyride on their boat, a big thank you to them!

I hiked 15 miles past Lake Aloha and Heather Lake 

to name the more meaningful ones to me and up over Dicks Pass where I camped on the bank of Dicks Lake with Goldmine and 3D. 

It was cold but sheltered at the campsite. I had a good day in spite of the fact that there were huge thunderclouds in the sky and it spat rain occasionally.  

The next day got off to a late start, it was just too cold to get out of my tent early. At this point the PCT and Tahoe Rim Trail TRT are one and the same. 

I hiked past many alpine lakes, through many forests and saw many TRT hikers going in the opposite direction. 

My Guthooks map app hadn't loaded properly so I was constantly thinking that I might be lost. I was hiking solo and had lunch on the bank of Richardson Lake in cloudy, windy conditions but it was still enjoyable. 

Sitting there, looking out over the lake reminded me of reading Walden Pond, "I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan-like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms."
Henry David Thoreau

The day ended well with me camping beyond Barker Pass with Pippin, Tinkerbell and Screagle.

 They had placed their lamp that  they carry with them in the camp circle for ambiance. So rad!

I woke up after a broken night of sleep. I dreamt a she-wolf was outside my tent. She was a very dark grey, with even darker grey flecks on her coat and she looked me right in the eyes, as though she could read me by doing so. I wasn't scared, just aware of her presence.

I hiked out of my cosy, sheltered campsite and emerged onto a ridge with multiple saddles and got blasted by a chilly wind for hours which often nearly knocked me off my feet. 

These ridges are ski slopes in winter. 

I enjoyed a lunch of Thai noodles and trail mix at a creek and met up with Goldmine and Guy on a Buffalo, who is charging through the PCT with a hatchet and fishing rod in his backpack. 

There was a lot if climbing today and I ended the day on an extremely cold and windy ridge at Tinker Knob (8590ft), 

walked across the crest of a mountain with panoramic views and camped there solo in the shelter of a grove of trees.

 I was so cold I had to wear 2 pairs of long pants, 2 pairs of socks, 3 tops (wool, fleece and down), a beanie and hood from my fleece and I curled up in my down sleeping bag inside my silk sack.

Day 79, I awoke to a beautiful day! The sun was shining, the wind had abated and the sky was blue.
I saw a beautiful huge Golden Eagle up close which was quite breathtaking!

I got off the trail at Donner Pass and went to Truckee to resupply and have a nero (half day off). 

Donner Ski Ranch gave me a free beer because I'm a PCT hiker. A wonderful woman called Renee gave me a ride to the post office to help me locate a lost resupply box. I had mailed it to "Pooh Corner" an Address listed on the PCT resupply list, but it does not exist anymore and so my box is MIA. I got another ride to the old historical part of town to see if the parcel was at the main post office, which it wasn't but it all turned out very well. This section of Truckee is wonderful! Quaint, historical buildings, very artsy, with an array if different types of people. 

Every thursday evening the main street is cordoned off for a street festival, with music, art and vendors. I am staying at the Truckee Hotel built in 1872, in the touristy district.

 The town was built around the railway industry and every second thing is named after the infamous Donner party with their tragic history.
"The Donner Party (sometimes called the Donner-Reed Party) was a group of American pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train. Delayed by a series of mishaps, they spent the winter of 1846–47 snowbound in the Sierra Nevada. Some of the immigrants resorted to cannibalism to survive, eating those who had succumbed to starvation and sickness." Quote from Wikipedia. 
Whilst ordering dinner, I saw none other than Kimchee, Avocado, Shrugs (Sarah) and Rock Ocean. What a great surprise! I'll head back to the trail with them tomorrow.

Grateful for:
1) All my trail hiker friends.
2) Staying healthy and intact mentally, emotionally and physically which enables me to continue this journey.
3) My family, friends and loved ones who give me constant support and encouragement and remind me of why I am doing this hike when I lose sight of the reasons.
4) All the wonderful trail angels I've encountered, who don't even know me, yet go out of their way to help me achieve my goal. Without these people, it would not be possible at times. 
5) Good weather again. I hope it holds out and being able to experience all these interesting little towns along the trail. It makes the entire experience so much more interesting and enjoyable!


  1. Heather, you're so awesome! Your pics of the Tahoe area are great. Tahoe is special to me and I visit often for the incredible hiking and beauty all around. So I really enjoyed this post. I'm on Oahu too and we have mutual dance friends. So I hope to meet you someday. Keep up the great writing and pics. Looking forward to your next post. And meeting you someday. Aloha, and may the wind be at your back and the clouds part in front! Mark

    1. Thank you so much Mark! It's wonderful to be able to share my journey in this way. Aloha 😃