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Four and a Half Days to Tahoe (Day One – Sonora Pass to Golden Lake)

Good Morning All,

Today I write to you with great enthusiasm and joy. My dog Nalah and I have made it to our destination in South Lake Tahoe, CA, and we made our hundred and ten mile trek in just under five days! If you read my previous post you would remember that I was only able to bring enough food for five to eight days, so this is quite a relief. 

Nalah and I on a dock in the lake our first night in Tahoe.

We finished the hike early this week and ended at a beautiful spot on the beach in Tahoe. This was of course after drowning myself in beer and pizza for a couple hours.  I had to let my legs settle down, for my left foot hurt so bad I could barely walk anymore. The distance also took its toll on Nalah’s legs. She suffered elbow rashes on the second day from her backpack, and once we were finished it was difficult for me to even convince her to stand up. 

Over the next few days I will be blogging about our adventure. The twenty-six mile per day pace took us over many landscapes and put us through many trials and experiences, some I could have never imagined or planned for. Emotions were high on the trip, as I have never attempted anything quite like this before and may have been slightly underprepared in certain aspects. 

I hope you enjoy reading my thoughts and viewing the images to go along with them! Stop in tomorrow to catch up on day number two…here we go……


Day One – Sonora Pass to Golden Lake

It is day one of my trek to Tahoe. I got dropped off at the Sonora Pass around noon and have finally eaten, brushed my teeth, made my bed and placed my food “safely” on the tall flat side of a big rock. 


It is much colder than I anticipated. I should have recalled many brisk High Sierra mistakes, but I was too involved with my plan most likely. Or it just skipped my memory. Either way, I had to choose my camping spot carefully tonight.

I am on top of a large granite dome in between a large deep crack in the dome. I am mostly protected from the wind, and I think even Nalah found a cozy spot. We are both very tired tonight. 

The Summit of the Sonora Pass took a bit longer than seventy minutes. At the top of the pass we were just under 12,000 feet. We descended north into a lush valley that runs parallel to the west fork of the Carson River. We stopped for lunch and played in the ice cold stream around 3:30pm.



My sandwich I was able to make at home before I started. The last real food for a while.

From there it was a series of climbs and descents (mostly climbs) heading northwest. We made it all the way to Golden Lake today around 7:00pm. I am estimating the day around twenty miles. Hopefully tomorrow we can get an early start and put in another twenty or thirty miles.

We took a few breaks along the trail, but before long I noticed that we simply got into a groove and only rested five or ten minutes to check the map and drink water. It is amazing how you can simply zone out and put one foot in front of the other. 




When we arrived at Golden Lake, which is a small and swampy place, I began to look for a suitable place to set up camp. I approached a large dome with all the requirements. Almost ready to find a way up, cook, clean and go to bed, I heard a very intriguing noise.

From far off it sounded as if many people were gathered in the meadow below playing music and singing strange songs. As I got closer it turned into the clanging of pots and pans, hundreds of them! I got even closer and it sounded as if someone had hid wind chimes in the branches all around me. 

Suddenly a large brown cow appeared from out behind a tree. Then suddenly I was right in the middle of a forest cow pasture. Nalah jumped at the sight of the cow and began to run. I shouted “STAY!!” at the top of my lungs and cows from all angles ran past us and began to retreat into the dark. 

I was happy to find out what the noise was, for it interested me quite some bit. I am sleeping near the pasture tonight and the sound of the bells now comforts me instead of confuses me.

Nalah keeps barking off into the distance. I keep thinking I see things too. It is just the night and its tricks and I am tired of it. I am sleepy and sore. So is my puppy. It is bed time now, or time to try at least…9pm on the dot. At least I have Nalah to warm me up (hopefully) and a big ole knife to try and protect myself if some animal were to decide to become fierce. 

No fire tonight either. It is windy and dry and it does not feel safe. Hopefully my wilderness karma will improve for it haha. Thats all tonight. See you tomorrow.


And that was day one 🙂 Check back in tomorrow to hear how day two went. Having the whole day ahead of us proved to be where the real journey actually started.

See you soon!


-Kyle Simmons



Hey there, My name is Nalah! My dad, Kyle Simmons, tells me I am 4 years old. We love to go outside and run! I love finding all the friendly people and places where I am allowed to be. I will do my best to give you the best beaches, trails, and squirrels to chase ALL OVER THE COUNTRY!! Hope you tag along for the best dog spots, workouts and advice on how to stay in great dog shape. Love, Nalah

9 thoughts on “Four and a Half Days to Tahoe (Day One – Sonora Pass to Golden Lake)

  1. Sounds like an interesting night …

    Hope Nalah is ok … those kinds of rashes can get infected easily. That’s probably a lot of miles for a dog her size…

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