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2007-07-04 Sore on the 4th of July

July 4th, 2007

I woke to see a thin sliver of light breaching the horizon. The pale grey surface below was Lake Tahoe and the air was warm, much warmer than the last few days when I have been walking with my jacket and gloves for quite a way. I set off around the rim of a steep gully heading north towards a butte to watch sunrise. As I got closer I saw a figure come over the little ridge towards me. It stopped and took a photo of me with the moon behind. As I got closer I recognised GottaGo, a lady I met at the ADZPCTKO back in April and before that on the PCT-L email list. She was a bit miffed at how I was heading north but going in the opposite direction to her. It turns out she had paced back and forth so much trying to find a camping spot that when getting up and moving in the dark she’d set off south. Luckily she’d lost less than a mile.

PCT sign

sunrise over Lake Tahoe from my sleeping bag

We caught up on trail news as we walked and then I picked up my pace to keep on target for the day. The first few miles were along the crest. Much like the final approach to Mt. Whitney, the trail was on the west side but kept getting gaps to peer down the steep eastern slopes and across the valley.

The first climb was to Granite Chief and I was quite disappointed not to see any major rock formations. I thought there would be something chiefy up there but I didn’t see it. A dip down to South West Fork American River and then the afternoon climb to the crest just below Tinker’s Knob. Up there the trail is right on the crest. A broad ridge very wind-swept and giving the crows some cool vents to ride on. I watched as they took off from a big rock, sailed down the hillside to a thermal where they’d rise back up and glide back to the same perch. All without flapping even once.

I ate what I could and then wound my way past Anderson Peak, Mount Lincoln and Mount Judah. It was here I found one more snow patch and crammed as much of it as I could into my water bottle. Mmmm slushie. The final few miles of most days are hard, and today was no exception. I came down steep switchbacks of fist sized granite boulders. Each of which was a twisted ankle just waiting to happen. Eventually I reached Old Highway 40 and staggered into the Donner Ski Ranch. The friendly barman had an icy glass of water waiting for me before I’d set my pack down and gave me his own phone to call for a lift.

Roger and Lori are friends of my parents’ neighbours and offered to host me as I came through the area. Back at their house I met a bunch of locals all gathered for an Independence Day BBQ. They all seemed interested in the trail and my adventures along it but I was so exhausted I couldn’t help but fumble my words and concentrate more on eating than conversation. Night drew in and the party dwindled. After a whole tub of ice-cream (they must have read my blog and prepared) I was full and ready for bed but somehow the computer sucked me in and a few hours later I finally crawled between nice clean sheets and shut my eyes. A very long day, but tomorrow is all about ice-packs, eating and giant-screen TVs.

More photos of this day’s journey can be found at Sonora Pass to Donner Pass

Distance today: 28.5 miles. Total distance: 1154.8 miles

Google Maps

One Response to “2007-07-04 Sore on the 4th of July”

  1. Peter Says:

    Haha! Trust you to get suckered into a couple of hours online despite exhaustion :D