Miles Hiked: 30.5
PCT Miles: 18.3
TRT Miles: 12.2
Everything is sore when I wake up. I am completely exhausted from yesterday. Last night I put myself to sleep with an edible and Benedryl to counteract the morning caffeine rush that lingered far into the evening. I know once I start moving I will feel better. It’s the first morning in a while that it’s not uncomfortably cold outside. My right ankle is still stiff. It makes me worry all day. This is at least the tenth time I have rolled the same ankle really hard on this trail and I’m waiting for it to recover in a few days. Bahama Mama leaves camp first as I finish packing up, eating breakfast, and filtering water.
I am on trail at 6:40am. It’s late for me, but at least I’m moving. After a mile I dig a cathole and take off my warm layers. Today I try a new eating strategy. Eating once an hour. According to a backpacking podcast about nutrition, this is a technique to keep energy levels high throughout the day. I have crackers and dried fruit in my pockets for easy access. Five miles in, I pass Bahama Mama taking a break. She is tired too. I keep going. My goal was to get to Carson Pass (mile 15) by noon. I feel how exhausted I am the whole way up Carson pass. My upper body is aching and I know I’m very tired when this happens. I’ve felt like this for six out of the last seven days. I wonder if I don’t eat enough. Eating more than I already am sounds impossible.
The trail today reminds me of the Continental Divide Trail. Wyoming Possibly. When you hike enough, everywhere reminds you of somewhere else. There are few trees for a long time. The mountains are green and round. I listen to my Audio book about the Donner party since it expires in three days. I will hike over Donner Pass in about a week. I imagine 1840s Emigrants trying to find their way across this mountain range without modern technology. How much tougher those people must have been than me. Near the top of Carson Pass the trail goes through some steep snow patches. Nothing crazy but a fall could still suck. A man named Helio takes a fall in front of me and starts sliding. It scares me. I talk him through safely standing back up without slipping again. That’s what I’d want someone else to do for me.
I arrive at Carson pass at 12:30. Close enough. It is a busy trailhead parking lot with a large information center staffed by several volunteers. I receive a Pepsi, an apple, and watermelon from the volunteers. They tell me that over 50 hikers passed thru yesterday. I sign the trail register and check to see where my friends are. One day ahead of me. Bahama Mama and Duck catch up. We hang out before I hike on first.
Three miles north of Carson Pass, I take a junction to the Tahoe Rim Trail. I start hiking off the PCT. The TRT is a 170 mile long trail that circumvents lake Tahoe. The PCT overlaps with 50 miles of this trail in the Desolation Wilderness. A goal I have for myself besides finishing all the triple crown trails, is to backpack in all 50 states. Half of the Tahoe Rim Trail is in Nevada. Since I didn’t get to do any extra hiking in Yosemite such as half dome, I figured it would be fun to try doing a short thru hike that’s connected to the PCT and will get me one step closer to my goal of all 50 states. Nevada will be state #24. I’ve been thinking about it since the beginning of the trail but wasn’t sure if I would try it or not. As of today I’m officially committed to trying some of these extra miles! It will add 120 new miles on to my hike between Mexico and Canada and I’ll have to repeat nine miles of the PCT to make sure all my footsteps are connected.
On the TRT I feel like I’m really on my own hike. No one else from the PCT is doing this trail. It’s very pretty with gorgeous meadows and very old large pine trees all around. I take a break at the Big Meadows trailhead before continuing on six more miles uphill to camp on a ridge. I feel exhausted and stop several times on the climb up. Luckily there is some cell service so I get to chat with my mom on the phone for a while as I hike the last mile to camp. Despite the rain clouds overhead, I set up a cowboy camp with a great view of lake Tahoe. Bugs swarm me as I do my chores but I know they will go away once the sun sets. The sky was epic tonight. Maybe the best Sunset of the whole trail so far. I think that even if I bail on my attempt to add on the Tahoe Rim trail, this night will be worth it just for the sun set view.