TRT Day 1
Miles: 0.0 - 13.4
Photo: Starting the Tahoe Rim Trail
Started my hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail today! Feels good to be hiking what should’ve been my first big shakedown for the PCT. Better late than never! The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 174-mile trail that loops around Lake Tahoe, the largest alpine lake in North America. I am doing the trail clockwise, starting and ending at the Kingsbury South Trailhead.
My journey here started yesterday at 4:00 AM with my Dad driving me an hour to the train station to start a 6-hour train + bus ride from Central Valley to Lake Tahoe. He has been driving me all around southern California the last few months during my PCT attempt so it was nice to have a shorter drive.
I eventually arrived in the middle of Stateline, the touristy part of Tahoe where California and Nevada meet. I ate some lunch, got food for today’s dinner, and instead of going to the trailhead as planned, I went to the Mellow Mountain Hostel. I tend to get extremely poor sleep before a big trip that I’m excited/anxious about, and the Tahoe Rim Trail was no exception. It was so bad that I got no sleep the night before heading to Tahoe. I planned to just push through the sleep deprivation and do a small number of miles yesterday, but my Dad suggested that I should just relax in town for the day. That way I could get a good night’s rest while acclimating to the new change in altitude. Seemed like a smarter move to me. I’m in no rush, and it’s what Captain Leisure would do ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
This morning I got a ride up to the trailhead from a local trail angel, Leilani. I originally planned to do 4 extra non-TRT miles to hike directly from Stateline to the Tahoe Rim Trail, but after doing some more research I realized that there was a better starting place, the Kingsbury South Trailhead. Skipping unnecessary miles on the first day seemed like a win to me!
The hiking itself was fairly mellow. While the climbs did wipe me out due to the 8,000 ft of elevation, the descents more than made up for it. There was also a nice breeze throughout the entirety of the day which was sooo so nice. The views so far have been spectacular. It wasn’t until the middle of the day that I was out from behind the mountains and was able to finally gaze on Lake Tahoe from up above. Just absolutely gorgeous.
I was worried that I wouldn’t meet any backpackers doing the Tahoe Rim Trail in the same direction as me so I was thrilled to see quite a few hikers at the first lake I stopped at, Star Lake. I made sure to dip my feet into the cold water while talking to @annika_remme15 about long-distance trails and hiking. It honestly seemed like such a great place to camp, and I even saw a few people who had already set up their tents, but it was only 4 PM and sunset wasn’t for another 3 hours.
I pushed on, aiming for a campsite that was only 4.85 miles away so I was excited to get there a bit early. Since I knew I was going to dry camp, I stopped at the last reliable water source and filled up to my max capacity of 5 liters. It was only once I was filtering my water that I realized my THIRD! CNOC Vecto water bladder had a pinhole leak in the middle, the exact same issue that happened to me on the PCT. I let it dry out, patched one side where I initially saw the leak, tried to filter water again, then realized the leak was on both sides. Repeating the process again until it was leak-free meant filtering water went from a planned 15-minute stop to nearly an hour.
It wasn’t all bad though since during that time Annika caught up to me. We hiked through the dusk in order to make it to the campsite. Always nice to have another hiker to talk to while hiking and settling into camp. Despite the hiccup near the end, it was a great first day and I can’t wait to see what’s up ahead.