July 1, 2015 (13th Re-Ration – Reno, NV)
Lower Sunset Lake (1064.3) to Carson Pass – Reno/Tahoe (1078.7)
14.4 PCT miles today
1123.2 miles total
Today’s Elevation Gain/Loss: + 2,646 ft, – 2,165 ft
In case it wasn’t clear from yesterday’s blog, Pickles and I were pretty burnt out by the time we woke up this morning. It’s been a long, long journey so far and for some reason, this week has felt especially challenging. I still forced myself to look around at the views, smile at the lakes and mountains, and smell the wildflowers, but my heart wasn’t fully in it. Our plan was to hike about 14 miles to Carson Pass, where we had made plans to meet up with both Mama Bear and a close family friend named Kelli who was bringing us one of my favorite meals of all time – lunch from The Old Spaghetti Factory. From there we hoped to hike another 6 to 8 miles, camp, and then hike the remaining 10 miles or so to Echo Lake tomorrow morning. We figured tomorrow would be a nero in Reno, followed by 3 much-anticipated zeroes in our home town in North Lake Tahoe. That was the plan, but as we all know, sometimes plans change.
We did hike our 14 morning miles, and were excited to meet up with Mama Bear on the trail for our final 3 into Carson Pass. We got there around noon and started taking care of a little business while we waited for Kelli to arrive. We needed to dry out our tent and begin planning all of our re-ration locations and mileages for the second half of the PCT, and the wonderfully convenient Carson Pass Ranger Station provided the perfect “office”. Kelli, our day’s trail angel, arrived around 2pm fully loaded with food, drink, and good company. It was some of the best trail magic we’d experienced yet, and it made us even more desperate to take a real break from life on the trail. We were stuffed full by 3, just as rain clouds gathered overhead and thunder rolled in the distance. The idea of beginning our multi-day break early by getting off trail at Carson Pass instead of Echo Lake had been bouncing around all of our minds for a few hours, and as the time got closer for us to put our packs back on and continue hiking, it sounded more and more appealing.
We knew that if we kept hiking, we weren’t going to enjoy the next 16 miles, we would only endure them. It made no difference to Mama Bear whether she dropped us back at Carson Pass or Echo Lake on the morning of the 6th, and the extra 16 miles actually fit perfectly into our first 5-day ration to Sierra City. The decision was made more out of necessity than choice. We knew we needed to listen to our bodies, and they were screaming at us to stop. So before we knew it, we were waving goodbye to Kelli from the comfortable seats of Mama Bear’s Volvo, our original plan out the window, and the accompanying anxiety that changed plans usually gives me dwarfed by the extreme relief that I felt flood my very being.
We drove all the way to Reno, where we checked into a hotel, showered and unpacked, and then firmly planted ourselves on the bed in front of the TV. Pickles actually took the opportunity to get dinner at Red Robin this evening, but I stayed right here in our room, finishing up spaghetti leftovers, ordering a tasty salad from the hotel, and doing everything in my power to do nothing at all. This is the break that we’ve longed for and dreamed about, and now that it’s finally here, we plan to use every minute wisely and return to the trail as refreshed and healed as we were on Day 1.