September 21: 6 miles

Brockwood Summit Trailhead to Watson Lake

The night time temps are still around 30. The wind has calmed to light breezes, which makes the “feels like” temp much more pleasant not only in the tent but outside.

I keep “wanting” to get up early and get going… But the warmth of the tent, the quilt, Sherman under the quilt with me is a more immediate and present experience of coziness, stillness and peace. So, we doze together until the sun is above the mountains and the air begins to warm.

Sherman’s support while I am outside gathering our Ursak bags, organizing packs, breakfast, etc.Our campsite from where the Ursak bags are tied up.

Today is a “short” day. About 6 miles to Watson Lake. Over the day we’ll gain about a 700 feet in altitude. My mind always imagines that this is a straight line, until I’ve walked a quarter mile and I remember that there are no straight lines.

The app I use for the hikes I’ve done is called Guthook. It’s a company, service that was started in 2010 by a two PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) hikers. In the app there are two views of the trail. A map of the trail looking vertically from above, a birds-eye view, like any road map we’re used to seeing and an elevation view that’s like a horizontal cross-section of the terrain. I tend to use the birds-eye view to know where I am on the trail until I hit an unexpected terrain change when I switch to the elevation view. Also on long mile days, I want to get a sense of how many up and down tracks are there between the start and finish.

So, today with a total elevation gain of 700 feet you can see the elevation map below. The total elevation change is more like 600 up, 700 down, then 1400 up. No straight lines…

The views of Lake Tahoe today are spectacular. We’re looping around a mountain spiral toward Tahoe City so the lake is a very frequently visible companion.

Sherman has been playful and wanting to run, so it being a shorter mileage day, I leave him off the leash. He’s fabulous. Exploratory, but very near the trail and completely responsive to voice commands. He’s 2 years older than the last hike we did in Vermont. He was only 2 then. Still had puppy energy. He’s demonstrating that he’s a mature young adult!

About a mile before Watson Lake we take a side trail for a half-mile to get after from Watson Creek. Watson Lake is currently land locked. No water flowing in or out. I get what I think is going to be enough water for this evening and our 14 mile hike to Tahoe City tomorrow.

We get to Watson Lake at about 2pm. I look for campsites on the near side on the loop trail. There are 3 very near the beginning of the trail then in get’s quite steep and rocky down to the lake. We return to the 3, set down our packs and hang out under a couple large pine trees.

As the afternoon sun begins to shade the area I setup camp. We then walk around the lake on the loop trail.

Upon return we have dinner, sit outside until in gets chilly, go in the tent and organize for sleeping. Sherman curls up right away. I read and write awhile. Then the internal lights go out in sync with the outside lights.