I took a few days off recently to adjust to my new living situations (As you will soon read). On day three I had made it to Blue Lake and was taking a rest day. On day five I was going to go to either Echo or Aloha Lakes. That plan however, did not play out.
As I was nearing the peak of the Carson Pass I caught my first glimpse of what I recognized to be Lake Tahoe. From then on I was in for the kill. Nalah and I simply pushed and I encouraged vocally as much as possible, being quite short of breath. I think it helped Nalah drive through the last of the mountain passes.
We arrived in Tahoe around 4:00pm, but not before having many encounters and adventures first. We saw many people along the trail on day five. This combined with the previous day’s rest made it very easy to want to go very fast. This last day was definitely our fastest of all.
When we started approaching Highway 88 I began to see more and more people. Then came the tell tale sign of wheels on pavement. I have never been this excited to hear the highway before. We crossed many highways along the trail, but this one meant we were only about fifteen miles from Tahoe.
I checked in at a volunteer-staffed ranger station. There were two of the kindest ladies I have ever met there. They immediately took Nalah and I in with cold water and fresh fruit! I hadn’t tasted fruit in quite some time, it was very tasty!
They also informed me that my shoulders were bleeding from the chafing of my backpack straps. I knew I had some mild irritation, but looking into a mirror for the first time in five days, I realized that I looked a little torn up haha.
They informed me that they were both mothers and were well equipped to bandage my wound. Then they gave me some more fruit and I was on my way. I got a bit lost at first, but we found the trail again and off we went! It was at the top of this first hill that I saw Tahoe. I spent the remainder of the day estimating and judging distances and arrival times in my head. One foot… in front of the other… over and over and over again.
Finally we reached Highway 50 and from here, I had determined earlier in the day, we would hitchhike the last ten miles in on the highway. I got a ride from a very unexpecting vehicle. As I was at the point where I tend to give up hope in humanity and start walking down the road, one of the largest semi trucks I have ever seen screeched to a halt in the turnout in front of me.
Cars backed up behind him and all, a long haired man with a thick brown beard hopped out the passenger side and helped my in with my bags as well as Nalah. The truck step was too high for her low energy level. These particular truckers were hauling carnival equipment across the country for a contracting company. They looked the part too. The inside of the truck was decorated with all kinds of trinkets and treasures one would only find in carnival culture.
The rest of the trip into Tahoe was relatively easy. I found a small patch of grass and called my Mom and girlfriend. Nalah, although reluctant to leave the nice grass we had found, walked with me down to the beach to make camp. Along the way we also stopped at a pizza joint called Blue Dog Pizza for a few 20oz beers and a large pizza to celebrate our arrival. Nalah got all the crusts and proceeded to fall asleep.
We caught the sunset and found a good spot on the beach after some time of walking down the road. Nalah also got to play with a well mannered doggie companion for the first time in weeks. The sand felt nice and cool on my back compared to the granite rocks and bare dirt floors I had been sleeping on the previous nights. The air was also much cooler that night due to the fact that we were sleeping below 8,000ft for the first time on the entire trip.
We also faced two of the biggest fears I had on this night, oddly enough. It would be my luck that the night we make it to our destination we see our first bear and pack of coyotes! Well, we heard the coyotes, but they were close and Nalah and I both got chills and looked at each other with worry.
It was a great night full of great sleep though. And in the morning something very interesting presented itself to me in a very unexpected way. The man who’s dog Nalah had played with was back out on the dock and asked me what I was doing in Tahoe. I informed him that I was trying to get set up with a house, job, and enrolling in school.
Long story short, he had a house that he was moving out of in a couple of hours. It was right next to where I was sleeping on the beach. He offered to lower the rent for me if he could come up and use it as a vacation home once or twice a month and I accepted. More than accepting, I was thrilled! The house is amazing and has been quite substantial in my becoming set up here.
I also now work at the pizza shop I stopped at when I first arrived in town. The house and job had come in four days! I was and currently am stoked! This last week I spent working monday through friday at Blue Dog Pizza. I like it there and have awesome coworkers, I could not ask for more from Tahoe.
I have been working a lot, and will continue to be. But tomorrow I am reconnecting with my roots. Nalah and I will go from six to ten thousand feet as we attempt to summit and return from the largest peak in South Lake Tahoe. It should be doable but it will be a whole day trip. I will bring my camera along and show you the view from the top next time!
Stop back in soon!