TRT Day 12
Miles: 160.8 - 174.0
Photos: Done, Done, Done, and Done
I woke up to the smell of smoke around me. I panicked a bit thinking that there was a fire up the trail and that I wouldn’t be able to finish my hike. It didn’t help that helicopters were going back and forth not too far away from me. With the limited cell reception I had, I looked up to see if there were any fires around me. Nothing showed up. I was so anxious that I tried calling some rangers but none picked up. Oh well. I calmed myself down knowing that there probably wasn’t a fire and just tried to go about things as planned.
Since I was now at the top of Spooner Mountain, the walk to the next water source at a creek 11 miles away was all downhill. It seemed easy enough but I still ran into some hiccups along the way. I think I was mildly dehydrated because of the gap between water sources, and my post-tib was in the same pain as yesterday despite the taping. I took the tape off, walked a bit, and realized the pain wasn’t going away. It was my last day so I didn’t care at this point.
I had to take many breaks to sit down and relax due to the pain, more than I would’ve liked. I also disliked the fact that I didn’t have a solid plan of how to get back into town while running low on phone battery. I also kept hearing helicopter noises when I was walking despite there being none during that time. It made for a strange morning.
I made it to the creek, my last stop for water on the trail, and just plopped there for a bit to get my bearings. I also noticed that my CNOC Vecto water bladder had ANOTHER! leak that I was NOT going to patch on my last water stop on this trip. I just filtered water with my finger blocking the pinhole leak as best I could. It was a mess and I hated everything at that point.
After my water-filling escapade, I looked at FarOut’s elevation map. The last 2.5 miles until the Kingsbury South Trail junction was uphill. So be it. I was now full of water, Cliff and Kind bars, and was ready to end this hike.
The miles went by in a flash and before I knew it I was at my starting point, Kingsbury South Trailhead. I was overwhelmed with emotions. Mainly joy. I cried there at the trailhead, on the way down, and when I finally hit the Tahoe Rim Trail board at the bottom. Finishing this trail made me feel so much more optimistic about thru-hiking in the future.
After I got myself together, I tried calling every single trail angel to see if I could get a ride back to Stateline with the small amount of phone battery I had left. Nobody was available. I then tried hitching and after 10 minutes I got a ride. It was an older couple in Tahoe for the week checking out possible houses to buy. When they dropped me off they said they picked me up because of my big smile. Orthodontic work paying off!
I first went to the grocery store to get some orange juice and snacks, then went to the Mellow Mountain Hostel once again to stay the night. This time they had rooms still available. In the evening I celebrated with my hostel roommate Stephan with 3 beers, a burger, and an entire BBQ plate. It was divine.
I am so happy with how this hike turned out. While it didn’t go all according to plan due to the Oak Fire at the end of July, I am still glad that I have at least one trail completed this year. I won’t be completely satisfied until I finish the PCT, but this is just one of the steps I feel like I need to take in order to get there.