We awoke to a chilly morning (for July) and Paul’s infernal alarm clock (if I could figure out how to disable it, I would). We packed up and drank our remaining water in the form of Via coffee. Considering how we felt the night before, it’s amazing how a decent nights sleep, 600mg of “Vitamin I” (Ibuprofin) and 8 hours off your feet will do for one’s soles. We marched quickly to Galean Falls where we cameled up, drinking 1 liter of water each in-between bouts of brain freeze, and filled our water bladders with 1 liter as well. With no one around, we took a quick wash in the frigid flowing water, which was an interesting form of invigorating. We were on our way to meet up with our “trail angels”, Vern and Patrice, for our resupply at the Tahoe Meadows trail head. En route, we met another thru-hiker, “Butters” (who of course was traveling in the opposite direction) as well as several other day-hikers headed to the falls…one, even with bells on. Once at the Mt. Rose Campground, we met up with our trail angels +2 (Sonja and Hawk – their daughter and grandson) and crammed like circus clowns into their Subaru wagon for the short drive to the Tahoe Meadows trail head for the next section. They brought us our supplies, PLUS two awesome Tri-Tip sandwiches and fresh cherries. We each devoured half of our sandwiches (of which I doubt we actually fully chewed or tasted much), to the sounds of Hmmmm and mouthfuls of exuberant exclamations, “Oh my God! Thank You! Thank You! These are Awesome!” I think I even did a little dance. From here, the four of them walked , well Hawk (6month old) actually rode (lucky guy), with us for about 1.5 hours, where we stopped for “lunch” and finished the other half of our sandwiches. Once we parted ways, we went back to our “plow horse” pace, as we had to “step up” to “thoroughbred” pace with them. Our pace differences we chalked up to “altitude” and weight (our packs and our fat asses)…ya, that sounds good.
We found this section of the trail to be “easy” compared to the previous two days. Dare I say we were starting to get the hang of this, or was it because the 750 ft elevation climb was over 1.8 miles as opposed to the 800 ft climbs in under 3/4 of a mile we did the last two days? We were, however, confident that we had worked those sandwiches off. Plugging in our iPods and Sony Walkman (Paul’s -he still uses his bright yellow waterproof Walkman with AM/FM) we charged the uphills like we were ON FIRE…thinking why the hell did we not think of this before, especially during the arduous ascent (at the end of the day…of course) to Relay Peak? In any event, we we delighted to walk on mostly decomposed granite, as opposed to slip shale and volcanic marbles, for most of the day.
While this specific section of trail is popular with the mountain bikers, we lucked out as we were hiking on an odd-numbered day, which meant no mountain bikes allowed. Of course there were some “Special Needs” cyclist, who think they are “special” and don’t “need” to follow the rules. But for the most part, today was a treat, as more than half the TRT is open to mountain bikes. Per the signs, the mountain bikers are supposed to give the right of way to hikers, regardless of direction. In theory this sounds like a good idea, but in practice, I prefer to move out of the way of fast moving objects. We walked the edge of the Mt. Rose ski area, and enjoyed bird’s eye views of Lake Tahoe, and could now spy the other side of the lake from whence we started. We reached the Marlett Lake campground, which ironically is not at Marlett Lake, and surveyed the campground. It was complete with water (via a hand pump), a bathroom and bear boxes…and what we thought were flat campsites. Yet again, a non-slippy site eludes us. Here we thought we would ditch the Tyvek ground cover in hopes that maybe the tent bottom would stick to the dirt/pine needles/DG…whatever. At the campground, we met another thru-hiker, Rick aka. “Desk Jockey” who was actually hiking in our same direction (clockwise). This solved the mystery of the large single and untouched foot prints we saw as we worked our way to the campground. We were curious about the prints because there were no “fresh” or similar prints heading back to the Tahoe Meadows trail head. Generally the further you get from the trail head, the fewer people you see. We joke that we now know when we are about 5 miles from a trail head, because we no longer see day-hikers. After a pleasant conversation, and a small fire, with Desk Jockey we all retreated to our silicone impregnated rip-stop nylon “mobile homes”, wondering how necessary are those bear boxes.