Day 89 – Sierra City

We enjoyed a leisurely morning at the resort. Even though we were extremely low on food, the other guests at the resort generously fed us with their left over tofu and vegetables. 

I didn’t take pictures of the actual hot springs due to the abundance of bodies in birthday suits, but here are some snapshots of the grounds. 

The warmest spring was pumped into this geodesic dome where there was a circular bath with a sandy bottom. Behind it was a swimming pool that was several degrees cooler and a sauna.

The coed shower house was located in this building.

Dale and her friend picked us up around 1 pm and we headed back to Sierra City to collect our resupply packages. 

Thanks Ladies!!! 
Thanks Ladies!!! 

There were 50+ boxes stacked in a pile in the back of the store so it took some time to sift through them, but I felt richly rewarded once I found the one with my name on it.

My dad’s cousin, Denny, sent me a box full of edible goodness and included some most excellent items in the package. 

Thank you Denny!!! 

I shared a large tub of ice cream with some friends and then caught a ride back to the trail with a local firefighter.

the sky was hazy with the smoke of a nearby forest fire but he assured me that it was well away from the trail and not a threat to those hiking. Pffew! 

A hazy shade of summer in Sierra City. 
A hazy shade of summer in Sierra City. 

I hiked a couple of miles up the trail, completing the first half of a 2,400 foot vertical climb that Denny had warned me about and found a nice flat spot to camp for the night.

I could smell the nearby forest fire and hoped for the best. 

❤ Will

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Day 88 – Sierra Hot Springs

I woke up thinking I had until 7 or 8 pm to hike the 16 miles into Sierra City (the time the general store closes according to my guide book), but apparently they close several hours earlier now.

We reached the general store around 5, just as the store keeper was locking up. We asked if we could pick up our packages but she declined.

There were several hikers milling about and a local asked if anyone would like a ride to the hot springs in nearby Sierraville.

We said YES! 

But before all this, there was hiking. 

We finally hiked past this beast that had been lurking in our vision for a day or so. 

And hiked past more unique rock formations. 

There were roads and bridges. 

And the first anonymous trail magic in many moons! 

Fresh fruit, muffins, and Gatorade. Thank you!!! 
Fresh fruit, muffins, and Gatorade. Thank you!!! 

Here is a video I took about a mile from the highway:

Once I reached the road, I caught a ride in almost no time. Things were looking good until I met the lady closing up shop.

And then things got even better. 

We made it to Sierra Hot Springs  compliments of Dale, and soaked the evening away in this very unique and welcoming setting. 

It was a wonderful silver lining to not being able to pick up our packages at the store.  Shoot, that could wait until tomorrow! 😉

❤ Will

Day 87 – Peter Grubb Hut

I didn’t think to take pictures until everyone had hiked out but I want to share some of this beautiful building out in the woods.

Most of us camped up in the loft. 
Most of us camped up in the loft. 

Hear is a look inside the lower level. 

And a plaque that was on the wall. 

There was even a two story privy, something I don’t think I’ve ever seen before.

Wow! 
Wow! 

And then I was back on the trail. 

The skies were friendly and the temperatures cool. 

Lots of exposed hiking and the sun felt good.

We got closer and closer to this jagged mountain

But didn’t reach it yet… 

I turned in early and set up camp around 6 pm, here is an end of the day video I shot around the campfire.

❤ Will

Day 86 – Interstate 80

During my late night hike, I accidentally hiked past the rendezvous point where my friend had saved me a camping spot and I ended up camping on the side of a mountain, just off the trail.

I woke up to friends hiking by, it was a nice way to start the day. 
I woke up to friends hiking by, it was a nice way to start the day. 

I walked past more chair lifts, apparently still within the boundaries of the massive ski park. 

There was more ridge walking, with some interesting geological formations along the way. 

This one even had a name. 

I reached highway 40 at Donner Pass around lunchtime and sat beneath a shady tree near this building to post a few blog entries. 

The Donner Party got stuck trying to go over this pass back in 1846.
The Donner Party got stuck trying to go over this pass back in 1846.

Thankfully we fared better, arms, ears, and bodies all accounted for.

I had a nice view of a lake and the intersecting highways off in the distance, one road was carved into the side of the mountain, with a tunnel bulging out the side of it.

A few miles further up the trail, I reached another milestone.

From here it was a 4 mile hike to Peter Grubb Hut, a two story Sierra Club cabin where I camped out with about 20 other hikers, including three of my friends from the Appalachian Trail. It reminded us of the nicer shelters on the A.T.  and I fell asleep to the gentle sound of snoring.

❤ Will

Day 85 – Squaw Valley

I woke up still in the land of lakes and hiked toward Squaw Valley, one of the largest ski areas in the U.S. and home of the 1960 Olympics. 

Before I got there, though, I had some weather to contend with.

And then things got even more interesting.

Yep. 

Thankfully the storm didn’t last long enough to soak me to the bone and I was able to carry on after shielding myself beneath a collection of pine trees. 

It was a rather long, exposed walk in the afternoon, with rain ahead and behind me and lightning striking randomly about.

But, there was a rainbow! 

And a chair lift. 

And a group of half drunk older gentlemen camping beneath the chairlift who offered me all sorts of wonderful trail foods. Thanks so much guys!!! 

I hiked on into the evening, eventually making 26.5 miles for the day. 

❤ Will

Day 84 – Lots of Lakes

I would definitely hike this section again. Over the course of the day I hiked by and enjoyed the company of several lakes and even got to climb up a pass. It reminded me of the John  Muir Trail where this was a daily occurrence.

I had breakfast at Lake Aloha and saw my friend Katie there. Aloha Katie! 

Next up was Heather Lake and Susie Lake, and then a big climb up to Dick’s Pass. 

There were more lakes on the other side of the pass, Fontanillis Lake and Middle Velma Lake.

Who names these things?

I thought we may have a thundershower but it held off for the time being. 

And I was thankful for the cloud cover.

❤ Will

Day 83 – Lake Tahoe to Echo Lake

We woke up still stuffed from the night before but still found room for bacon and eggs compliments of our kind host. 

We headed out around noon and I took this video before leaving the lake. 

We had such a wonderful time with Mark, thanks for sharing all that you have with us, we hope to see you again! 

Once back on the trail, we soon had a 20 minute encounter with a black bear, also hiking the trail and foraging about. 

We admired the beast from a safe distance and eventually made our way around when it headed a bit further from the trail. 

We stopped for a few minutes at Echo Lake and found some treasures in the hiker box. 

Score! 
Score! 

And met Chris at the lake, who shared cold beverages with us. 

Thanks Chris!
Thanks Chris!

Around the lake were many tiny cottages, accessible only by boat or trail. 

There was a camping restriction in the Desolation Wilderness so we hiked a few miles until we reached the boundary. 

It was a beautiful way to end the day. 

❤ Will

Day 82 – Hello Tahoe!

We got up early abs felt motivated to move. We had only 12+ miles of hiking and 8+ miles of hitching between us and South Lake Tahoe.

It was a fairly easy walk and I saw several weekend campers scattered around a nearby lake. 

I noticed a rather peculiar rock formation. 

And a flower unlike any one I’ve seen yet. 

At one point the flowers were as tall as me!

We caught a ride with our friend Katie who had just pulled up to the trailhead with a good friend of hers visiting from out of town.

We were greeted with hugs and root beers and were whisked into town.

I spent the afternoon at the hiker lounge at the most excellent Lake of the Sky Outfitters, and worked on finding a place to stay at the very busy resort town.  

Apparently Justin Timberlake was in town for the NBC televised celebrity golf tournament and the cheapest rates were in the $200 range. 

And then Mark walked in and saved the day, offering Britt and I a room in his home for the evening. 

An avid hiking enthusiast and a very kind and generous soul, Mark showed us around town and treated us to the finest meal I think I’ve ever had. 

I usually don’t take pictures of my food but I wanted to see what I was capable of. 

Round 1: Shrimp gazpacho, crab legs and BBQ ribs. 
Round 1: Shrimp gazpacho, crab legs and BBQ ribs. 
Round 2: Prime Rib, sirloin steak, salmon steak and some roasted veggies. 
Round 2: Prime Rib, sirloin steak, salmon steak and some roasted veggies. 
Round 3: Chocolate mousse, 2 canolis, and Tres Leches cake.
Round 3: Chocolate mousse, 2 canolis, and Tres Leches cake.
Round 4: cantaloupe, honeydew, fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, and assorted sushi. 
Round 4: cantaloupe, honeydew, fried shrimp, shrimp scampi, and assorted sushi. 
All down the hatch! 
All down the hatch! 

I was beaming throughout the meal, so grateful for our new friend and the delicious nourishment that filled my belly. 

Thank you so much, Mark!!! 

He drove us by the lake on the way home and we called it a night. 

❤ Will

Day 81 – Meiss Cabin

It was a long and windy hike of mostly exposed and desert like conditions. 

Although unlike the desert, we walked by a series of bright blue lakes. 

And after descending, fields rich with vibrancy. 

I met my Swiss friends at a small lake and they spoke of ending their hike in Tahoe so they can explore more of the west coast before heading back to Europe. 

Happy Trails my friends! 
Happy Trails my friends! 

Near the trailhead at Carson Pass, I met a couple who are friends with the person who leases Meiss Cabin over the winter to serve as a backcountry ski hut. 

He wasn’t sure of the combination of the lock but gave me 4 digits to try and see if I could get a look at the inside of the historic cabin. 

The excitement carried me the remaining few miles of my 22+ mile day and here is a video of me reaching the cabin door.

The mosquitos were it in full force, probably protecting the cabin, so we set our tents up nearby and called it a night. 

❤ Will