September 16: 9 miles

It was a cold night. Very occasional wind gusts alternating with total calm. The weather pattern, or pressure system is changing. I don’t know enough about the rate this happens to know if this change in the wind and temperature over 3 days is a normal pattern or not.

Ready to go. Feels like come on! What’s the holdup?

Last goodbye to Starr Lake

The welcome change is the sky being an endless clear blue. It reminds me of reading a few Mongol Empire histories and their culture’s honoring, “worshiping”, the Endless Blue Sky.

We start walking knowing that most of the day is downhill. My intent is to get as close to Kingsbury South Trailhead, so that we can get to the Tramway Market early in the morning to pickup our food drop.

After a long dry stretch of trail where the only water was trickling water, this gushing spring was a magical occurrence. Such abundance! Clear. Cold. Water with no taste. Completely refreshing.

As we near the Trailhead we pass a couple out for a day hike. As we talk they say that the Ridge Resort where they are staying sometimes has overnight rooms available for hikers. I look at the map and we’re only 3 miles from the Resort. The opportunity to have a shower, eat some non-dehydrated food, give Sherman a bath. Wash or rinse clothes.

When I get to the resort checkin I’m told I need to call the reservation line. She gives me the number and they’re closed on Sunday. I return. She goes to ask her manager and the manager gives the OK to give me a room directly. And, the hotel-like rooms are all booked, so they are upgrading me to the smallest resort room they have. Nice!

We get shuttled to the building and enter. This is a very nice suite. Large double bed, Jacuzzi tub, deck, living room space, kitchen, and stacking washer/dryer. Yea!!!

First business is a Sherman bath. I always has that hung head look during a bath, but is highly energetic, happy and prancing after one. This time is no different. He explores the room more and finds a pillow on the couch with his name on it and curls up.

I call the Market to see how late they’re open. Til 11. Great! This means I can get the food box tonight, get food from the Fox and Hound next door and do the organization of food, etc. tonight instead of taking half of the day tomorrow. This probably saves us about a day.

I look at the Fox and Hound menu planning on getting 2 hamburgers so I can have one and Sherman can have one. But, they’re $12. Just can’t see buying Sherman a $12 hamburger. We’ll share. I’m hungry. So order a hamburger, bowl of chili, and chicken burrito for breakfast tomorrow.

I call for a shuttle — a car comes instead of a bus — get picked up and taken to the restaurant for pickup. I ask the driver if he’ll wait while I get my to-go order. He says yes. Sherman and I go in, flag a waitress, say I have a to-go, sign the check, get the food and walk back outside just in time to see the car driving away. I’m pissed…

We go next door to get the food box. The guy there is very unfriendly to me and Sherman. I get the box and thank him for being willing to hold the box for me. He nods. He’s obviously not really upset with me. Something else is already going on and we just get rained on.

I call the transportation number and tell them what happened. As she’s calling for a shuttle to come one pulls in to drop people at the restaurant. I tell the woman on the phone and ask the driver if he can take us to our building. He says yes. I thank the shuttle dispatcher. We go back to our room.

Sherman is very happy to have his half a burger. Goes back to his pillow. I open and empty the food box. This is the first check on the amount of food I prepared and cached. I unpack the box and organize by type: oatmeal, Cliff bar, foil tuna, etc. Then I unpack what I have left and look at how much was actually used over our past days. What’s left is the excess. I calculate the delta and apply the new quantities to our next segment.

I get out the map and look at what’s next. This is the hardest section of the trail. 40 miles with almost no water. Virtually the whole western side of the lake. I have an existing plan and think about what will be required for me and Sherman to do this section. I’m not sure we can do it. It feel borderline. It’ll require 4 10 mile days in a row. There’s water half-way. So carrying water for 20 miles means I’ll be carrying 5 liters. That’s an additional 11 pounds of water. Plus food for 8 days til our next resupply. This will put my pack over 50 pounds.

The alternative would be to skip this 40 miles and shuttle to Incline Village and restart the trail a Tahoe Meadow Trailhead. From here there is frequent enough water again. I’m going to sleep on it.