PCT Day 70: Donner Pass

Miles Hiked: 31.6

PCT Mileage: 1156.5

This morning I woke up to my alarm buzzing on my wrist. It was 5:30am and I was laying on the floor of a motel 6 in South Lake Tahoe. I quietly packed up my things in the dark and slipped out the door. Trail Diva and her boyfriend picked me up at 6am. We stopped by McDonald’s so I could get an iced coffee and then drove 45 minutes to the Barker Pass PCT/TRT Trailhead where I started hiking at 7am. I was so thankful for the ride to exactly where I needed to go. It was nice to stay in town last night and get to hangout with Josh aka “Long Story” and meet Diva’s boyfriend. I really needed the extra rest.

The first six miles of my day were repeated PCT miles that were all uphill. It kinda sucked to have to rehike all those miles but I’m really thankful I had the opportunity to do the Tahoe Rim Trail. I hardly remember the trail I was on only a few days ago. When I got to the TRT Junction six miles in, I sat down for a short ten minute break. Afterwards I hiked along a gorgeous Ridgeline for the rest of the day, occasionally dropping a thousand feet into a valley and then going right back up again. The trail meandered along the Ridgeline of several ski resorts including Palisades and Alpine Meadows. I walked around a few ski lifts and thought about the last three winters I worked in Telluride. Apparently the Tahoe area has more ski resorts in a concentrated area than anywhere else in America. I believe it Because I got to see so many of them on the TRT. It’s something like 22 individual resorts.

Sometimes the trail went through fields of miles ears and lupine all in bloom. It looked like a sea of purple and yellow. I was sad I didn’t get to see many flowers in the Sierra but this made up for it! I hardly saw any other hikers on trail today. After being on my own separate adventure for so long I’m not sure where anyone I know is at. I am planning on hiking some long miles the next five days to catch up to Diva on the trail so I can hike with her. She is taking six zeros with her boyfriend Kurt while her hiking partner “Midnight” goes to a wedding. It’s more miles than I’ve ever hiked but the 30s are coming pretty easy these days. I’m excited to see how it goes although I have some moments of doubt. The only people I met today were Sea Biscuit, Galileo, and Sing Song.

At 28 miles into the day I reached Donner Pass where Donner Ski Ranch is located. The restaurant 0.2 miles off the trail gives hikers a free 40oz beer since it’s located on historic route 40. There were several hikers there when I arrived but the only person I recognized was “Ranger” who was shocked to see me. I ordered the Thai Special and some sweet potato fries. The 40z of malt liquor store wasn’t as terrible as I expected but I still only drank about 12oz before giving the rest to the other hikers. I hiked out around 7pm. I’ve been trying to hike into the evening as much as possible to take advantage of the long days. It makes it so easy to do big miles while still taking lots of breaks. I only ended up hiking out 3 miles before setting up a solo cowboy camp on top of a granite rock above the trail and close to interstate 80. I was planning on Crossing the highway tonight but decided against it. I thought my camping spot would be better for sleeping alone. Unfortunately I was closer to the rest area than I realized and a car was playing loud music into the evening. Mosquitos attacked me as I wrote this blog post but luckily I had a big net someone gave to me on the TRT. My first time using one on this trail and I’m glad I had it!

Happy Trails!

-Early Bird

Published by Deserrae Potts

Thru Hiker Blogger

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