28 Jun Echo Lake to Truckee
After listening to the wind howl and rain fall all night, we snuck out of our warm beds in the Called Lake Lodge and mustered all the optimism we could as we geared up for the cold and wet. The storm was to clear today. No sign of that yet.
We used the radio in the lodge to ask what time breakfast was served. A gruff voice on the other end informed us we woke him up. A few minutes later, a sleepy but pleasant lodge owner in his robe brought us muffins and bananas and offered us a ride to the trail head after he had a chance to take a shower.
We took the very nice man up in the offer and were hopping out of his 80s Suburban at the trail head a few minutes past 7. The rain and wind met us but today would be different.
As soon as we set in, the weather softened to an alternating mist and drizzle. Birdman, Backup, and I enjoyed an easy trail of 16mi into Echo Lake.
Sauntering to the store, there was a group of hikers standing outside in the cold. I remember wondering why they were all standing there. They informed us they were kicked out of the store and the store was closed due to the weather. Mind you, at this point it was the slightest drizzle.
I had planned to buy 3 days worth of food here. It was 60 miles to Truckee. If I rationed the few bars and instant potatoes I had left, I could make it but it wouldn’t be comfortable. I still had a package to get there but the post office looked closed too.
I knocked on one of the doors where I could see two guys in their mid twenties looking at Facebook in a warm dry room. With an annoyed look on his face, one guy came to the door and unlocked it opening it just a crack. “What sup?” He asked perturbed. Now I was getting pissed. This guy closed the store and is sitting on his thumb while I’m hiking 16 miles in the rain and now I’m getting attitude from yound blood here. I bit my tongue a bit and just politely asked if I could get a package from the post office. He closed the door briefly to ask some inside. Cracking it back open he said someone would come to the window. Alas, my package hadn’t arrived yet. Dang. No maps, no goodies, no fresh meal from the deli, no resupply.
Now I could go into South Lake Tahoe and burn the afternoon…or..I could just put my head down and get to Truckee as soon as possible. With a bit of a fire inside from the rude encounter at Echo Lake Store, I told Birdman I was ready to push on.
As the other hikers stood waiting for the drizzle to break, we said goodbye and started off. The going was tohgh as water flowed down the rocky trail for most of the afternoon. We’d do another 15 miles entering the Desolation Wilderness, passing gorgeous mist covered Aloha Lake, and topping Dick’s pass before calling it a day.
I paid for it dearly and still am. My ankle flared up from running downhill the day before and now struggling for miles over wet rocks. Also, my wet sagging pants began to chafe my inner thighs so bad that both were wet with blood when I took them off at the end of the day. I guess I over did it a bit.
The next day we were spitting distance from Lake Tahoe, able to sneak peeks of it through the valleys. The day after, Thursday, we’d walk the backside of Alpine Meadows, Squaw, and right through Sugar Bowl resorts dropping down to historic highway 40. I was in awe a bit that I had skiied all of those mountains many times and never realized the trail ran so close.
My friend Kelly, came and picked us up and we were off on our resupply errands. We decided to stay there the night and loved our time there. I met up with a highschool friend Josh at the Thursday Night Truckee Street Fair and caught up. When all the people at the fair got overwhelming we snuck away to Kelly’s restaurant, JAX. She was working so we continued the reunions over food.
To get my proper calorie intake, I had a 1lb patty burger that was stuff with bacon, blue cheese, and garlic. It was deelicious and came with onion rings. I topped it off with a vanilla banana milkshake and was nearly passing out in my seat. A quick taxi to Kelly’s abode and we were out cold.
This morning we said goodbye to friends, Truckee, and the gorgeous and inviting Donner Lake. It was slow going with my lingering ailments. The mosquitoes were a mixed blessing as they kept us moving quick enough to put a respectable day together.
Next stop: Sierra City on Sunday morning, then Quincy by the 3rd.
Special thanks to Kelly, Chance, and Josh for making Truckee such a great stop.