After hitching into Lake Tahoe we arrived at our Airbnb. This was an awesome place for us as it was a large house with loads of space for us to relax. Emily also got to live up to her trail name (Baked) as she made some scrumptious brownies and shortbread. We spent most of the time in Tahoe chilling here and getting off our feet, and on the plus side got to get rid of our bear canisters. From now on we need to hang our food in trees at least 10 foot off the ground and 6 foot from the trunk.
What was also really exciting was both of us had new shoes delivered here along with a replacement sleeping pad which Tim had sent on. Joal’s shoes came courtesy of Nike and also came with two great breathable shirts for us. Thanks again to Dawn and the team at Nike for sponsoring some of the kit we will be wearing going forward.
In town we hit an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant which was actually really awesome. We all sat around the bar where the sushi was being made which also meant we could keep ordering. Safe to say this cured our hiker hunger. Joal also did his usual town thing of eating a whole tub of ice cream for pudding.
It was then back to the trail for Charlotte’s last day. This was really surreal as it feels like we know her like a sister yet it has only been about a dozen weeks that she has been in our lives. For her last night we packed out a couple cans of beer and some s’mores (which are marshmallows, chocolate and crackers) to have over a campfire on the banks of the beautiful Aloha Lake. At this point when we realised just how heavy beer is, but it certainly made bad tasting beer taste a lot better.
The next morning after a hug and a goodbye that didn’t feel real, we carried on. The next section walked through mossy pine forest and lots of glimmering lakes. Whilst beautiful we had something else on our minds: England in the World Cup. This meant we hiked 24 miles to get close to a turn-off from the trail. The next day we woke early and did 5 miles off trail down a hill with Pete and Emily due to a road closure. At a junction we met Kaleb and his dad who gave us a lift to a local town, where we hit a bar at 11 in the morning.
As you probably know, England lost, which made the 5 mile uphill road walk back to the trail brutal. In total we only did 5 miles of the PCT but on the plus side were fed and watered.
The scenery from here changed again. We are walking across areas that turn into ski slopes in winter. The area is filled with long ridge walks, yet at this point of the trail the undulation hasn’t calmed down, with 5000 foot of uphill a day still common.
One night we stopped on the top of the ridge with a brilliant view. Unfortunately Joal found a bit of an awkward place to hang our food bags: right over the trail. At this camp spot we were introduced to Texas country music by Kaleb, which sounds very similar to Irish folk music.
As we headed into Donner Pass we started to hit day hikers again and also lots of trail magic. One day we had four different people give us trail magic of fresh fruit, soda and beer.
Donner Pass was named after a group of California-bound settlers. The Donner Party were American pioneers who set out for California in a wagon train in May 1846. They were delayed by a series of mishaps and mistakes, and in early November 1846 the Donner Party found the route blocked by snow and was forced to spend the winter of 1846-7 snowbound on the east side of the Sierra Nevada. Of the 81 settlers, only 45 survived to reach California. After eating the family dogs and other animal meat, some members ate bones, hides, twigs and string. Human bones were not recovered but researchers believe some Donner Party members resorted to cannibalism.
We then headed to Donner ski ranch where we received a free 40oz beer when we showed our PCT permits. 40oz is the equivalent to 3 and a half cans, and being 6% and 11 in the morning this hit us hard! The rest of the day was walked a lot slower! This day also had a thunderstorm warning, but luckily for us we didn’t get anything apart from a few small drops of rain. Up until now we haven’t had any rain which is probably the longest time we’ve not had rain since Joal lived in Thailand.
One night we also stayed at the Peter Grub Hut. This is an beautiful stone building that is used year round by hikers and cross country skiers. When we were here there was a family with younger kids here out for a day trip. It was great not to have to pitch a tent for the night and a different experience, which we are told is more similar to the Appalachian trail where these huts are more common. The room we stayed in was nice and cozy.
To finish this section we decided to push ourselves to see how fit we’ve become. On our last day we ended up doing our first 30 mile day which gave us a great sense of achievement. This is the furthest we have ever walked in a day! It was then into Sierra City for a large American breakfast.