Editor’s note: This the second part of El Dorado Hills hiker Shawn Burton’s journal as he hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail last month.
Ninety-eight miles complete, 69 miles to go. Day 8 was a relatively easier day compared to others since we only hiked 11 miles and ascended 1,500 feet. Although, if I do the math for the remaining six days, we only need to hike 11.5 miles per day so hopefully the faster pace I had in the first week will mean a more leisurely pace the second week. This shorter distance allowed us to take more breaks and more pictures so I appreciated that the day didn’t feel as rushed. We started the day at Round Lake and within 2 miles we were on the Pacific Crest Trail overlooking a huge meadow with brilliant mountains in the background. In fact, this day was filled with several meadows and lakes along the way including Benwood Meadows, Meisse Lake and Showers Lake. Right after we passed Showers Lake, we came across a detour to a mini peak that had amazing views of South Lake Tahoe and Lake Tahoe. We decided to eat lunch there and soak up the sun. Right now we are staying in a forested area just outside Benwood Meadows and are enjoying a second campfire to help us stay warm since the temperature at night is dipping into the 20s. This area of the TRT allows campfires but the remaining six days campfires are restricted ; I’m going to miss the warmth of a fire. On Sunday, Jeff and I will walk 1.5 miles to Echo Summit on Highway 50 where we will meet my brother Jon and continue our journey which will move into Desolation Wilderness.
Day 9 started out with a bang. At 4:30 a.m. it started to snow. I immediately turned on my iPhone to see if there was any update on the weather and weather.com said 0 percent chance of snow. Thanks Mr. Weather Man. We all know mountain weather is unpredictable. I wasn’t as concerned for me since all my gear is four-season including my bivy. However, Jeff’s gear was three-season so when the Campmor bivy he had bragged only cost him $9 collapsed, I knew this wasn’t going to be fun. What’s worse than being in a snowstorm? Having to go to the bathroom in a snowstorm. I just tried to look at the bright side of things as the snowflakes hit my bare butt and considered it a “nature bidet.” The fun kept coming too. To make it even a more memorable experience, when I turned on my light in the bivy to prepare my gear, there was a giant spider crawling on the roof of the bivy right next to my head. Yes, I did scream like a girl. Good times.
One hundred and seven miles complete, 60 miles to go. Today I met up with up with my brother Jon, who came out from Chicago to hike with me until Thursday. Jon and I entered Desolation Wilderness today after passing numerous alpine lakes including Lower Echo Lake, Upper Echo Lake, Tamarack Lake, Lake of the Woods and Lake Margery. Basically, if you like alpine lakes Desolation Wilderness is the place to be. Right now we are camping on the outskirts of Lake Aloha and I am enjoying the new and much larger tent we brought. I can actually sit up in the tent and even get in and out with ease. Tomorrow we will see many more lakes as well as cross Dicks Pass at 9,300 feet.