I woke up at around 6:00, SpaceJam was already getting ready. He left 40 minutes before me and said let’s try to do 20 miles (32km) today. I just said ‘sure’ and he took off. After I got going I could see SpaceJam’s footprints in the snow for about half an hour before I started to notice that nobody had walked here today.
Well, I was on the trail so I just kept going, assuming that SpaceJam is just somewhere in the bush either bushwhacking, lost or just enjoying his cell service. Anyways, I wasn’t too worried about him as he more or less knows what he is doing and there weren’t really any steep cliffs to fall off on the way.
The weather was beautiful again: no clouds, no wind, just blue sky, sun and beautiful nature all around. I love evergreen forests, the different piney smells that are coming in and out of your nose are just so soothing. I felt really great so all I wanted to do was just push miles. The terrain was fairly easy with many smaller ups and downs, at least for the first part of the day.
I met a few other hikers on the way and they confirmed that they hadn’t seen anyone matching SpaceJam’s description so I was sure he is somewhere behind and I knew that he will just catch up. After around 5 hours and 15 miles (24km) it was time to have a lunch break. I sat next to the creek, eating and hydrating, getting ready for the big climb of the day. I was 33,5 miles (53,6km) from South Lake Tahoe so I figured out if I do 11 more miles (17,6km) today I could get to South Lake Tahoe a day early. The goal was set, now I only had to execute.
There was still a small uphill before the trail decended to the foot of the big climb, so the first 6,5 miles (10,8km) went rather quickly. All I had to do was to get over the climb and descend on the other side to the Lost Lakes, where I planned to camp. The uphill was quite gradual and as I went higher the wind picked up more and more. The climb didn’t end up with yet another mountain pass or peak, the trail just went up the side of the mountain with a peak called The Nipple and then skirted around it.
Once I was high enough I got some cell service so I could message Stiina to update her about my plans. That’s when I got the message from SpaceJam that he had walked down the wrong valley and did a 6 mile (10km) detour. I told him where I planned to stop and kept going as the wind was already cooling me down pretty fast. I was only a few miles away from the desired tentsite and once I got to the highest point of the climb it was sort of a ridge and the wind was almost galing. The view was gorgeous, a large blue lake right under the mountain face on which I was standing, being pushed around by the wind. I managed to snap a few photos and basically had to run away from the viewpoint before I got blown off.
I descended as quick as possible and as soon as I was back in the treeline the wind was much more tolerable. I got down to the Lost Lake (west) where I set up my tent and started cooking my dinner, after a 26 mile (42,6km) day I was pretty hungry. There was just a slight breeze coming through the area where my tent was and as I was ready to get to bed I thought I heard someone shouting from far away: “Coyotee!” I responded, but there was no answer I really thought it was just my imagination, a result of a long day, but then 5 minutes later I heard an excited voice. SpaceJam had managed to catch up and find me! We just talked for a few minutes and I then proceeded with my bedtime while SpaceJam proceeded with setting up the camp and cooking.
The plan was to get to South Lake Tahoe, which was 22,5 miles (36km) away. It meant another long day or at least longer than usual. We wanted to get there sooner than later so it meant we had to go swiftly, which we managed pretty well.
As we were approaching Carson pass we saw more and more day tourists coming towards us on the trail, we could smell them before we could see them. Meeting clean people makes you feel so wild and feral and I think people feel that about you aswell as they pass by. So just after a few hours of up- and downhills over the snow and mush we managed to get to Carson Pass.
There was a nice mountain hut next to the highway where we could buy some souvenirs and snacks. The people working there were really nice and gave us a few free fruits, bars and sodas, so we just decided to hang out there for a bit longer even though it wasn’t even lunchtime yet.
We pushed on and climbed the ridge from which we could get our first view of Lake Tahoe. It seemed to be closer than it was. As we decended there was still a little bit of snow on the slopes but once we got down to the meadow it was a snow-free cruise for a few miles with lots of small stream crossings. The weather was still just as great as all the previous days: no clouds and full sunshine, so it was truly enjoyable hiking.
Then we hit the next uphill, which was all snow and mush covered with deep and exhausting postholes for the last 8 miles (12,8km). We stopped for a lunchbreak somewhere in the woods and kept pushing on. We got to highway 50 a bit after 16:00 o’clock and started to hitch down to the little town of Meyers right outside of South Lake Tahoe, which was where Stiina was hanging out and we could stay too.
The hitch went really fast: the third car we showed our thumbs to stopped and it was a nice old lady who drove us all the way to the house where we were staying. I finally got to meet Stiina after 8 days of being apart! She had made an awesome dinner for us and we had a great time just hanging out on the porch and getting to know our new family.