Date: Sunday, 24 September 2017
Start: Camped by the trail at Mile 1072.5, 8533 ft
Finish: Echo Summit Trailhead on Hwy 50 at Mile 1090.0, 7388 ft
Daily Miles: 17.5 PCT
Total PCT Miles: 2410.7
Weather: Cool and sunny
Accommodation: Room at Motel 6 in South Lake Tahoe
Lunch: Tuna sub & choc chip cookies
Dinner: Pizza & ice-cream
Aches: Nothing new
Highlight: Crossing Carson Pass, in the early morning light, a beautiful and peaceful park-like forest with wide easy hiking trails and nobody about but me to enjoy it.
Lowlight: None really.
Pictures: Click here
I froze during the nigbt, perhaps due to not having my sleeping bag liner, which had ripped too badly to use the previous night. It already had a small tear and was showing wear like my down sleeping bag which no longer seems as puffy, or my beloved rainpants which now have rips at the cuff, or my socks which have a big hole. Everything is wearing out, including me, I suspect. Anyway, it was a freezing cold night and I slept badly, checking my watch seemingly every 15 minutes. Despite the cold, I forced myself to get up just before 5:00am, and was hiking in the dark by headlamp before 6:00am, determined to reach Hwy 50, 17.5 miles away, as early as possible in the afternoon.
Conscious that there might be hunters around, I left my headlamp on, even after it got light enough to see where I was going, and sure enough, I was waved to a halt by a hunter on the trail whose companion was using a high-powered telescope to look at something further up the hillside. I dutifully waited for about 5 minutes while they decided what to do, then they waved me on with one, in an English accent, explaining that there were five deer up on the mountain, but they were does, so could not be shot. He joked about having a shot at me after I had gone through, but they seemed professional, and I took it as a joke.
As the sun rose, the trail climbed up a bare snowy mountainside to Carson Pass (9067 ft) then decended to a beautiful park-like area (see above). My pack was light, I was making good time, it was a beautiful morning, the scenery was great, I was headed for a break in South Lake Tahoe, and everything was right with the world.
The trail crossed a road soon after Carson Pass and it seemed busy for a while, but then it climbed away over a saddle to a high meadow which I had to myself. It was still very cold and the snow was crunchy and the puddles and streams were frozen over.
After the meadow there was some more ups and downs through pretty boulder-strewn forest with more snow on the ground than I expected. I had a break around 11:00am and called my friend and this week’s hiking partner, Rob, who was already in South Lake Tahoe to give him an estimate of my arrival time at the Echo Summit Trailhead, wbere he had offered to pick me up in his rental car.
The last few hours involved an unexpectedly snowy/icy descent down a rocky switch-backing trail on a north-facing slope which had me taking great care, but I had no mishaps before the trail evened out for the last few miles. With about a mile to go, I met Rob coming the other way, the first time we have seen each other in 14 years, and we enjoyed catching up as we walked to his car.
After lunch we drove to the motel and I checked in before doing my laundry and then joining Rob for dinner. A pleasant end to a good day after a tough ten-day stretch of hiking. Zero day tomorrow.