Day 86-87

Day 86-87: June 27-28th
South Lake Tahoe

We decided to take a double zero in the town of South Lake Tahoe. It seems a number of hikers have reached this point and now need extra time to eat town food in order to build some fat reserves that have been depleted by the Sierra to Tuolumne Meadow hiking and the two subsequent sections (I and J).

We also used this town stop to buy (and ship) food for the next 3 sections. Deb is trading down to a Golite pack to help reduce her pack weight. Lon bought a new Jetboil, new hat, new socks and found new gaiters in the hiker box at the local outfitters. Deb also replaced her fleece gloves. Thanks to all the hikers who have given her advice on foods to eat in this next section to keep her energy level up.
Mike, our town trail angel, is giving us a ride back to Echo Summit at 8:30 a.m. Sunday.

Day 82-85

Day 82-85: June 23-26rd
Sonora Pass to South Lake Tahoe

This was a section full of trail magic.

The hitch out of Kennedy Meadow was not as easy as the hitch in but eventually Dina and George returned us to the trailhead. Dina was on her way to Levitt Meadow to complete the Tahoe Rim trail to Tuolumne so we gave her some trail info. Thank you Dina and George! We also encountered Coppertone, who serves root beer floats, at the trailhead for the second time this entire hike, but it was very early and we were on our way quickly.

Our hiking was uneventful all the way to Ebbetts Pass, where we found trail magic provided by Chipmunk. Scrambled eggs, topped by chili, followed by hot coffee. Just wonderful. Coffee on the trail is an incredible treat, especially for us since our stove was makeshift at this point and we had mostly given up on hot food. Thank you Chipmunk!

The very next day we hiked thru more and more forests and eventually heard from some day hikers that more trail magic was ahead! Unbelievable! Kermit and Jeannie Bug have us hot drinks and fresh and energy snacks to power us on our way on the afternoon. We haven’t been expecting any trails hoc because we began our hike ahead of the “hiker herd” but we appreciate every extra calorie and human contact on this trail.

We left the magic and the trail climbed a very exposed ridge, where powerful winds threatened to push us off the trail. There was no shelter so we struggled to stay upright and hiked until we made it down to, what we thought, was a sheltered campsite. The winds tested our tent all night. Eventually light rain drizzled about 3 am. The rain continued much of the next day. A highlight was the visitor’s center at Carson Pass where we were warmed by a fire and given even more breakfast snacks! The welcomes we are getting as PCT hikers is surreal.

This last day had us wet and cold most of the 18 miles up and down off the mountains to a trailhead 9 miles from South Lake Tahoe. We tried hitching on Highway 50 for 10 minutes (really fast car speeds) before calling from a list of trail angels providing rides to town. Mike answered our call and we were installed into the Motel 6 in no time. Thank you Mike!

Day 82-85

Day 82-85: June 23-26rd
Sonora Pass to South Lake Tahoe

This was a section full of trail magic.

The hitch out of Kennedy Meadow was not as easy as the hitch in but eventually Dina and George returned us to the trailhead. Dina was on her way to Levitt Meadow to complete the Tahoe Rim trail to Tuolumne so we gave her some trail info. Thank you Dina and George! We also encountered Coppertone, who serves root beer floats, at the trailhead for the second time this entire hike, but it was very early and we were on our way quickly.

Our hiking was uneventful all the way to Ebbetts Pass, where we found trail magic provided by Chipmunk. Scrambled eggs, topped by chili, followed by hot coffee. Just wonderful. Coffee on the trail is an incredible treat, especially for us since our stove was makeshift at this point and we had mostly given up on hot food. Thank you Chipmunk!

The very next day we hiked thru more and more forests and eventually heard from some day hikers that more trail magic was ahead! Unbelievable! Kermit and Jeannie Bug have us hot drinks and fresh and energy snacks to power us on our way on the afternoon. We haven’t been expecting any trails hoc because we began our hike ahead of the “hiker herd” but we appreciate every extra calorie and human contact on this trail.

We left the magic and the trail climbed a very exposed ridge, where powerful winds threatened to push us off the trail. There was no shelter so we struggled to stay upright and hiked until we made it down to, what we thought, was a sheltered campsite. The winds tested our tent all night. Eventually light rain drizzled about 3 am. The rain continued much of the next day. A highlight was the visitor’s center at Carson Pass where we were warmed by a fire and given even more breakfast snacks! The welcomes we are getting as PCT hikers is surreal.

This last day had us wet and cold most of the 18 miles up and down off the mountains to a trailhead 9 miles from South Lake Tahoe. We tried hitching on Highway 50 for 10 minutes (really fast car speeds) before calling from a list of trail angels providing rides to town. Mike answered our call and we were installed into the Motel 6 in no time. Thank you Mike!

Day 81

Day 81: June 22nd
Mile 1004.5 to Sonora Pass

An amazing walk high on a ridge top to Sonora Pass today. We ran into a little snow – one steep snow patch gave Deb some trouble with her vertigo but the rest were fairly easy to cross.

We hitched a ride 10 miles east to Kennedy Meadows, a resort and pack station to pick up supplies. Unfortunately a big event was going on there and no lodging was available so we camped in the woods nearby after an excellent dinner at the restaurant there.

Mileage: 14

Day 80

Day 80: June 21st
Mile 983.3 to Mile 1004.5

Tradition has it that June 21st is naked hiking day. Deb had been talking about it for weeks now. I’m not sure if she was planning on participating or just excited about the idea of the buff mostly male hikers around us. Unfortunately, the mosquitos have been especially vicious in this section of the Pacific Crest Trail and no one was seen participating in the event.

We have other reasons to celebrate today: we successfully hiked the often difficult Yosemite Wilderness, and we hit a major milestone. Shortly after climbing a very gentle Dorothy Lake pass, we exited Yosemite Wilderness and entered Hoover Wilderness where less than 2 miles later we reached 1,000 hiking miles! For some hikers this might be enough, but we pushed onward. We have many, many more miles to go…

We continue to be stoveless since the Jetboil broke yesterday. Starbucks Via coffee is not so good made with cold water. Mountain House freeze dried meals were not that bad if you let them rehydrate in cold water for an hour. We will be picking up supplies at northern Kennedy Meadow tomorrow. We may have to swap out some of the food we sent ourselves for no-cook food. When we get to South Lake Tahoe in about five days we will be able to replace our stove and cook once again.

Mileage: 21.2

Day 79

Day 79: June 20
Mile 965.8 to Mile 983.3

Today we had a minor disaster. Our Jetboil stove broke. The threads on the stove that are suppose to hold the gas canister are stripped. It even made a pretty impressive fireball when the canister popped off while we were cooking. Thankfully nothing caught fire. Unfortunately, we have breakfast and dinners left that work better with hot, rather than cold, water but we have worked out a meal strategy for the next 2 days.

Today’s hiking was mostly a repeat of yesterday’s: steep up and downs with fantastic views. There are a surprising amount of rock/stone staircases in this section – a little hard on the knees and feet, but very impressive trail building work.

Is tomorrow naked hiking day – Deb wants to know? Traditionally it’s the first day of summer, but we have lost track of the calendar out here on the trail.

Mileage: 17.4 miles

Day 77

Day 77: June 18th

Mile 933.6 (Lyell Fork) to Glen Aulin

It was a frosty morning as the entire meadow was covered in frost. Very pretty, but Deb doesn’t enjoy cold mornings very much.

We made it the nine miles to the Tuolumne Meadows store where we discovered that only one of our resupply boxes had arrived. The other was down in Yosemite Valley. Fortunately the Yosemite Valley post office had noticed about 15 boxes that were going to Tuolumne and sent them by car that morning so we had our second box by 1 pm.

According to the Tuolumne Post office the address is:

(Hiker Name)

General Delivery

c/o Tuolumne Meadows

Yosemite, CA 95389

But this address won’t work with USPS.com and the web site has a different address for Tuolumne Meadows that sometimes gets lost. Anyway both our packages arrived and we were soon back on the trail.

Wow, the next section to Glen Aulin could not be more spectacular. The Tuolumne river is filled with different shades of green – it looked like an artist had drizzled green paint in the river but each shade flowed separately and did not mix with the other shades. It is hard to imagine a photograph capturing the images we enjoyed. Day hikers saw us stopping often to admire the views and told us to keep walking because it gets better and better. And it did. We can’t wait for tomorrow!

Mileage: 14.8 miles

Day 78

Day 78: June 19th
Glen Aulin to Mile 965.8

Today surprised us. We knew we were in for some climbing from studying the elevation profiles, but we were not expecting such steep grades. Deb is guessing that this is one of the older (or first) trails built in Yosemite – not much hiker traffic today as yesterday. But we still felt very privileged to experience this trail today and enjoyed the green meadows high on the mountain crests, and the rivers low in the valleys.

We ate our dinner in Matterhorn canyon before ending our day with an additional climb halfway up the mountain. Deer are near our campsite so we hope our hiking pole handles are safe (they seek salt on the handles.)

Mileage: 17.4