Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The End of Another Adventure....

A shady, fun alternative? It was tempting....
except that it's not the TRT which is what I was supposed to
be following! =)
Today would be my last day on the trail. I had 9.3 miles to reach the Spooner Summit trailhead, which was where I started my hike nine days earlier. Including side trails, I figured I hiked about 170 miles for my Tahoe Rim Trail thru-hike, and it was wonderful.

My map didn't suggest that anything particularly noteworthy would be in my future for my last day on the trail. Oh, sure, there would be views, but I had no reason to think that these views would be any more special than all the other incredible views along the trail. It almost seemed like an anti-climatic way to end the trail. With a whimper.

But I wouldn't get to the end of my hike by sitting around camp all day! So I went through the motions, a little sadly at that.

The hike out to Spooner Summit was, indeed, uneventful. A few nice views over Marlette Lake and Lake Tahoe. Three different points on the trail were marked with signs saying "Vista" that pointed to rocky outcroppings, and two of the three had absolutely no views at all and I wondered why they even bothered. The third one did, technically, have a small view, but it wasn't at all impressive or expansive. I wouldn't have labeled that a vista either. Mostly, they were disappointments.

I quickly made it out to Spooner Summit where the trailhead was filled with cars but no people. I saw a few people hiking up as I hiked down, but I suspected most people hiked down to Spooner Lake which was a good mile or two of hiking off the TRT. A lot of TRT thru-hikers had to hike down to it for water--Spooner Lake would be the last water for nearly 15 miles. But since I was getting off the trail here, I didn't have to worry about that.

I read the signage at the trailhead, then walked to the shoulder of Highway 50 and stuck out my thumb looking for a ride into town. I had no idea how easy or hard it would be to hitch a ride from this location, but I certainly didn't plan to walk into town! =)

Moonset over the TRT.
I counted each car that passed me by. It was a relatively busy road, so I hoped I'd nab a ride within a half hour or so at worst, but who knows? That's what I hate most about hitchhiking. There's no telling how long it might take to get a ride. It might be seconds. It might be hours.

Twenty-five cars passed me when I noticed an older woman hiking down to the trailhead. So I wandered over to her car to ask if I could get a ride into town if that was the way she was already going.

Ultimately, I was trying to get to South Lake Tahoe where artTrekker lives. I stored a duffel bag with clean clothes, my laptop, and other assorted odds and ends at her place and I'd be able to take a shower and get cleaned up before heading to the airport. But I was willing to grab any ride that took me in that direction, even if it didn't get me all the way to South Lake Tahoe.

The woman said where she was headed, which was a location I wasn't familiar with, so I asked if that was in the direction of Incline Village (to the north) or Stateline (to the south). I wanted to go south. She said it was south (perfect!), but not as far as Stateline. That was fine by me--it was in the right direction. I'd take it. =)

I got in the car and we started off. I introduced myself more formally now, and she introduced herself. I've forgotten her name, though. It was an unusual one. I even asked how it was spelled to help me remember, but by the time I wrote in my journal later that day, I had forgotten it. *sigh*

When she found out I had just completed a thru-hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail, she told me that she would take me all the way to my friend's place in South Lake Tahoe even though it was a bit out of her way! Wow! That was awesome! She felt after walking completely around Lake Tahoe, that I deserved front door service, I guess. I'm not sure I agree, but I wasn't going to complain either. =)

So we chatted the rest of the way to South Lake Tahoe about nothing really important. I told her about my hike, as well as how it compared to when I did the PCT three years earlier. She told me more about herself and that she wished she could do something like I just completed but only does day hikes now.

Another moonset photo.
I offered to take her out for lunch, but she said she didn't really have time for that. I offered a bit of gas money, which I didn't really think she'd take, and she didn't. I really wanted to do something nice for her for going out of her way to give me a ride all the way to artTrekker's house, but she wasn't having none of it, so I just thanked her instead, waved goodbye, and bounded up the steps to knock on artTrekker's door.

I didn't even know if she was home, but she was. =) I took a shower, a wonderful shower that wiped off all the grime and dirt from the past week. Okay, my feet seemed to be stuck with a thin layer of dirt that was permanently embedded into my skin that all the soap in the world wouldn't get off, but no big deal. I'd wear socks over them and nobody could see how ugly they really looked.

The next morning, artTrekker drove me out to the casinos in Stateline where I could catch a bus that would take me direct to the Reno airport from which I'd fly home. My adventure at an end. Well, this adventure was at an end. Undoubtedly, I still have a lot more adventures left in me. =)

In completely unrelated news.... August is once again here, which means it's time for the annual Hike-a-Thon drive! Amanda and I are trying to raise money for the Washington Trails Association which does some great work building and maintaining trails in Washington state, and please, if you can help us out, even if it's just $5 or something, please do so! Sponsor us now!

This year, I've decided that anyone who sponsors me will be in the running to win an autographed copy of my book, A Tale of Two Trails about my exciting adventures on the West Coast Trail and Juan de Fuca Trail. For anyone that donates at least $40 to the cause, I'll send you a free autographed copy! The catch is.... you have to sponsor my page. Yeah, Amanda and I are a team, and everyone likes her more, but we also have separate accounts and I'll only be looking at those who donate under my account. So if you donate $40+, I'll mail you a free copy of my book. If you donate less than $40, I'll put all of your names into the proverbial hat and choose one at random who will get a free book. =)

That $40 also can give you a membership to the WTA which includes a subscription to the Washington Trails magazine. A book, a magazine subscription and all for a good cause--just $40! =)

That's Marlette Lake in the foreground, and Lake Tahoe in the background.

Oh, look, it's a vista!

Seriously? You call this a vista? *shaking head* Perhaps if we clear-cut
all these trees in our way we might have a view!

I always liked the long shadows early morning and late afternoons cast. =)

I didn't hike down to Spooner Lake, but I could see it (partially)
from my perch on the TRT.

Spooner Summit trailhead.

Only in hindsight did I think I should have gotten a photo of my
thumb sticking out. =) But this is where I tried hitching a ride from.
Twenty-five vehicles passed by before someone from the trailhead
gave me ride back into town. =)

Next up....

Stay tuned for my Grand Adventures on the Wonderland Trail--a nearly 100-mile trail circling Mount Rainer! =)  I'll probably already be done with that hike by the time you read this post!

In related news.... do you have the urge to hike the Tahoe Rim Trail yourself? Because I've added it as a route on --  just track how much you walk each day, enter it into the website, and it'll show you where on the trail you'll be if you took your steps on the Tahoe Rim Trail along with photos of the section of trail you would have covered. I took over 2,000 photos along the Tahoe Rim Trail--you haven't even seen half of them on my blog! But there are hundreds of more previously unpublished photos of the trail on the virtual walk of the TRT. =)

Happy trails!

1 comment:

Carianna said...

**banging utensils on table** PNT PNT PNT PNT!!!!!