06 July 2008

Toulumne Meadows to Echo Lake (S. Lake Tahoe) [PCT mile 1094]


I’ve reached South Lake Tahoe approximately 150 miles north of Toulumne Meadows, Yosemite NP. I hiked in Sunday July 6th to Echo Lake and caught a ride into SLT, where I found my way to the Campus Crusade for Christ’s Summer Project. Emily had helped me arrange these accommodations.

Leaving TM, with six and half days of food was not exciting. As I packed up extra food at the TM P.O. to mail ahead, I put ever extra clothing item I could spare too. I left the small P.O. slightly disoriented trying to find the PCT. I immediately missed my detailed maps from the past 150 miles. I made it to Glen Awlin’s campground and was pleased to have piped water to refill before I hiked northward.

The trail seemed to have an erratic trajectory. Losing the gentle changes in elevation, I had grown to appreciate over past 940 miles the PCT would cross a meadow and then snap upwards find a pass and charge down. Thankfully these climbs were usually brief. Less enjoyable still was the mosquito gauntlet. These little buggiers were everywhere and endlessly biting. I often was hiking with my rain pants on and bug netting over my face.

I was hiking alone but over these last several days I would pass some hiking friends such as Prison Rob and Squatch. My hiking style was in full stride, as I began hiking by 5:30 am and continued until 8 or 9 at night. I would stop for water, and three main meals cooking breakfast and dinner. My spirits were often very high, especially as the views changed.

A fun story: I was heading towards Sonora Pass from Kennedy Meadow Creek when I met up with Squatch heading southbound. He reported a rocky expanse from our location until the pass with limited camping. So I decided company tonight was better than miles. I hiked south a mile with Squatch and we laid out our groundsheets to cowboy camp behind some trees.

In the middle of the night, I was awoken by something at my feet. I’m trapped in my mummy bag as I peer into the shadows. Squatch says, “oh it’s just a pesky marmot.” I pull my arm free and swing a trekking pole around the shadow and it leaves. I pull my head lamp out and flash it into the fields. I find a pair of eyes charging me as a gray fox’s body exits these shadows into the light. The fox goes for my bear canister and pulls a Ziploc from it and runs off. My heart is racing with it. I’m annoyed at 2 am to repack my food and then try to get some sleep. An hour later I awake to my backpack being pulled from under my feet by a fox again. A trekking pole swing later and I’m left alone. I don’t get back to sleep but wait for the sun to break and pack up. I’m really tired that day.

The views changed to vistas of black volcanic rock from my foxy campsite. I really enjoyed the change of pass. I didn’t realize I was ‘full’ on all the big peaks along the JMT. I was hiking approximately 25 + miles a day. I probably broke 30 once or twice but I had accidently mailed my data pages with my extra cloths from TM to SLT.
I had two pieces of great trail magic. First as I spent my final night before town at Lost Lakes, I daydreamed of canoeing. And as I dropped from the ridge to camp, some weekenders let me take their canoe for a paddle. Then in the morning about 5 am I left Lost Lakes and made to Carson’s pass by 9 am where I was treated to some Former PCT and friends breakfast feed. I figured drinking beer at 9 am wasn’t too bad as I had been up since 4:50 am.

Love you,

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