Back on the trail, Lake Tahoe to Truckee (Donner Pass)

Back on the trail after 5 days off. I needed the time off to replace my backpack, my shoes and heal my body. 

My backpack had to go. Other than the fit (it simply never fit right, no matter what I did) the hip belt had a seriously flawed design. (Two 1.5″ pieces of Velcro prevented pulling the belt tight)

My shoes were worn out. They still had tread, but the insides were broken down and wouldn’t protect my feet from rocks.  They were more like bedroom slippers. 

I used the time off to heal my back and abdominal section (from wearing the pack) and bruises on the bottoms of my feet. Mostly I was successful. (My feet could use a month off…)

So I went to REI in Stockton and exchanged the pack. I was re-measured and confirmed my torso is 22″. This is XL in a pack, and most large packs don’t go this long. The old pack, Osprey Atmost was supposed to handle this, but didn’t. I settled on an Osprey Aether and it DOES fit. 

The new shoes feel wonderful. The old ones lasted over 500 miles, so I got my money’s worth. 

Two other items if note: The Professor’s brother owns a company that sells portable Solar Panels (SolariCell) and he loaned me a 6 watt to use on the trip!  So far, I like it. 

Spotted this novelty item you should NOT buy:

John Wayne Toilet Paper: “It’s Rough, it’s Tough, and it doesn’t take crap off anybody”

Yeah, don’t buy that brand…it won’t end well. 😜

Wednesday July 15 ——-

There are five of us are starting today at Echo Lake, heading north. The Professor’s brother, John is joining us for this section, Professor, Rocky, Turtle and myself.  We called several Trail Angels and got two to ferry us from South Lake Tahoe, up I-50 to to Echo Lake. More awesome people I can only thank and cannot repay. 

There is a tiny store/Post Office at the lake and the Professor had a resupply package waiting. They didn’t open until 11am, so we didn’t get on trail until almost noon. But it’s only 65 miles to Donner Pass and we gave ourselves five days; So the 10 miles on the first day was good enough. 

Boy, it was crowded!  Lots of people doing day hikes, and many doing short backpacking trips. There were two different Boy Scout groups; one coed!  There is a loop trail that goes around the perimeter of Lake Tahoe called the Tahoe Rim Trail. 30 miles of the western side use the PCT, which was a lot of the volume we were seeing. 

Still, as we got 5 miles out the people thinned out and we could enjoy the scenery in piece. (Yeah, I know: curmudgeon PCT hikers) 😄  Upper and lower Echo Lakes were nice. Aloha Lake, with its hundreds of Rocky islands was grand. We passed Heather Lake and stayed at Susie Lake. 

Pictures: some Post Offices are very limited hours.  

 The five hikers, John on the left.  (AARP division)

 Echo Lake from the back side.  

 Aloha Lake and one overloaded Boy Scout.  

 Thursday, July 16 ——–

We made up the short day on Wednesday with 15 miles to Richardson lake. This was just outside the wilderness boundary and was in the national recreation zone. Lots of 4WD roads, including around the lake. After spending months in pristine wilderness, it just seemed wrong to see so many tire tracks. 😣 I know they need their fun, too…But…


Friday ——–

Today we chose to do a short day; just 11 miles. It was either that or 17 miles due to where the camping was. This had us up on ridges most of the day with awesome views. This is some beautiful country. Our camp is on a ridge and the wind blew all day until late evening. 


 Saturday ——–

A day of high ridges, ski runs and views of the northern end of Lake Tahoe. It started with a cloudy, brisk morning which was a pleasure to hike in. Until we reached the high ridges and the wind made it damned cold. We walked around and behind Alpine Meadows and Squaw Valley Ski Resorts, which looked deserted. At least until we curved around the northern end of Squaw Valley and could see a lot of something. Passing day hikers said it was a “Yoga and Wellness Retreat”. Ooooh Kay. 



Sunday, July 19

We’re down! Walked the last 14 miles in record time. John had his van parked at the summit and is driving us to the Sacramento Amtrak station.  Below is Donner Lake. 


4 thoughts on “Back on the trail, Lake Tahoe to Truckee (Donner Pass)

  1. I’m one of the old farts at Lake Edison (provided you a beer). Love to read your posts. Glad you got refitted with shoes & pack. Your pictures are wonderful too.
    Best regards to the 360/AARP group

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I could only imagine a poor fitting pack and never-ending headaches. I’m also glad that you have a properly fitting/functioning pack! Awesome pictures and loving the stories. Reading yours and Hand’s adventures and trials of the trail I can only imagine I should be able to survive a hour’s worth of p90x for 90 days. No whining for me allowed. I just won’t get the spectacular mountaintop views for my sweat equity.


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