As you are probably wondering how, I am updating the blog...from the comfort of my families cabin 45 minutes south of Lake Tahoe. Here is how we ended up here...and here is what is coming up next!
Day 1, we started strong, 12.5 miles with lots of elevation as we worked our way towards Watson Lake. Zach starting getting "hot spots" (the beginnings of blisters) less than 6 miles in. We made it safely to camp though, and had a sleepless night because a group of high school kids was throwing a HUGE party on the same lake as we planning our peaceful evening.
Day 2, we started early...no thanks to the lack of sleep. We had a VERY big day ahead of us. 17.5 miles, with the last 11 being a constant climb. We literally climbed NONSTOP! We finally arrived at Gray Lake late in the afternoon and found a very peaceful camping spot! Through out the day Zach was showing signs of major foot fatigue, erratic gate, awkward foot placement, and changing socks mid-day....these are not good signs at this point in a 168 mile hike, but we soldiered on. Topo was also starting to struggle. The temps were in the mid 80's all day and well into the evening. Water was non-existent on the trail and Topo developed a bit of a limp early in the day (could be from his solo whitewater river trip when he jumped in the creek at the cabin...another story altogether).
That brings us to Day 3...today. BIG CLIMB right out of the gate. We lost the trail from Gray Lake back to the TRT, and ended up climbing one mile straight up a boulder field...tough on the legs and feet! Zach's feet were already killing him. We pushed on though, and summited the high point of the TRT on Relay Peak and were high in spirits! Topo was still a wreck, but a good nights sleep and an Ibuprofen seemed to help him out. Once we summited Relay, we knew it was 4 miles down a road to Tahoe Meadows, then another 13 miles to the next camp (and only water source in the area) which made Day 3 a 21 mile day. 2 miles below Relay we came to a trail crossing. We thought the TRT went down the road, but on inspecting the map it actually shot off another direction, which added 3 miles to the 4 mile road and a lot of climbing. We finally popped out on the Mt. Rose highway completely out of water and running nearly 3 hours behind schedule. Zach was in worse shape than ever before. I followed him for the roughly 1 mile from Mt. Rose trail head to the Tahoe Meadows trail head where we were to start the last 13 miles of the day. When we stopped at Tahoe Meadows, I knew we were in trouble. Zach was down to roughly 1 mph, limping, no appetite and shaking uncontrollably. Which brings us to Plan B....which we invented on the taxi ride back to the car from Tahoe Meadows.
Plan B - I would have liked to have left Zach and Topo at Tahoe Meadows to fend for themselves, but it was just to late in the day to make it on my own to the next camp, and damn it...we started this as a team! So Plan B has been hatched.
Topo and Zach are going to lay low at the cabin for the rest of the week. I am going to get back on the trail the day after tomorrow (the only reasonable spot I can pick up the schedule) and solo my way to Echo Summit. At this point Zach and Topo along with Zach's wife Anne, and my buddy Dan are going to join in the fun and we will all hike together through Desolation Wilderness.
So the bad news is that nobody in our group is going to thru-hike the Tahoe Rim Trail this trip. The good news is, we are all ok, Zach's feet will heal...I think. And Topo still loves me...I think.
I have been told the GPS updates weren't coming. MY BAD! I thought I knew how to work that thing, I will get that ironed out and fired up for my solo 2 days on the trail and for the rest of the hike. Thanks for sticking around! Check back in a couple days and I will be back on the trail!