17.6 miles (Miles 1072.1 – 1089.7)
PCT Mile 1072.1 – PCT Mile 1089.7
The hike this morning provided so many great things. First, it brought us through some fresh-smelling pine forest, then it opened up and took us along a rocky hillside. Soon it wound around and opened up to some great views of far-off mountains, meadows, and a few lakes. Then the flowers started. I think Tears and I both were stopping every few steps to get photos of all the different colored flowers. I think it’s safe to say we hit their peak.
We stopped for water by a small stream this morning, but other than that we cruised on to Carson Pass. We heard rumors of trail magic there… and even if there wasn’t trail magic, there was a visitor’s center. There’s at least the hope for a soda machine, or even a picnic table would be great. We knew when we were close. First we saw couples with daypacks looking fresh, clean, and not tired. Then we saw families with children – happy children wearing backpacks. Then a couple that smelled of soap. Then we heard cars. Then we were there. The parking lot was full, and they had a pit toilet. We were standing there for a few seconds when a lady on the porch of the visitor’s center asked if we were thru-hikers. When I replied that we were, she told us to come up on the porch where we were given chairs to sit on. A cooler with cold sodas came out, a trail register to sign, a plate of cut-up veggies, chips, two kinds of dip, nectarines, bananas, a muffin, apples, boiled eggs, banana bread, and Babybel cheese wheels. Wow! Those rangers working there just kept bringing new stuff out. We felt like royalty! Thank you to the folks at the Carson Pass Visitor’s Center! Awesome!
After a couple of hours of eating, lounging, and talking with the rangers, Delaware Dave, Filthy and Junko, we hit the trail. What a great break. I was excited since I woke up because we were working our way towards our first views of Lake Tahoe. After about a half hour of hiking uphill we saw it – far off in the distance, the bluist of blue lakes… big, sparkly and beautiful Lake Tahoe.
Another reason we were hiking with purpose was Showers Lake where we were looking forward to a possible swim. Once we arrived, we claimed a spot by some rocks, stripped down to our hiker’s bikinis and jumped in. Tears actually got in first from shore while I scoped out a rock to jump from. I was able to find one, but it was only deep enough for a short cannonball. Worked just fine for me! I brought my camp suds with me and washed my hair, and that felt great. After getting out I sat around in the sun to dry and ate lunch. Another successful long break. I could get used to this!
We hiked on for a couple more hours through more and more flowers. They really dominated our day. I remember hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) in 2009 and seeing a lot of these same types of flowers. It was really cool to run into the TRT again. We share trails until somewhere around Dick’s Pass, I think. The place I’m most excited about is Desolation Wilderness. Before going over Muir pass a few weeks ago, Desolation Wilderness was the most magically beautiful place I’d ever hiked through. I cannot wait to see it again.
I miss my mom and dad today a lot after seeing Lake Tahoe. They both thru-hiked the TRT with me in ’09, so lots of good memories are flooding me from that. I know they would love to be out here with me, so I’ll take lots of photos for them! Mom and dad – you’re here with me in spirit! Love you!
Tomorrow we have a short hike out to the Echo Lake Chalet where we will have a milkshake (oh, goody goody goody goody goody!!!), while we wait for Aloha to pick us up and bring us into South Lake Tahoe. I plan to eat either a big salad or salmon. Not sure what I’m more hungry for yet. Cottage cheese for sure. Then he and I are going to spend some time together – maybe even catch a movie. And I’ve got tons of blogs to update! It’s going to be a busy day and a half!
Tonight I love woodpeckers. We had two of them pecking away at a tree right above us, entertaining us with their back-and-forth chirps as they dropped small pieces of bark on the tent.