We got away at 7 from our stealth camp and we knew it was only 13 miles to the busy highway for our hitch into South Lake Tahoe.
Growler was off like a shot and I knew that I wouldn’t see her until the highway. The ups were tough. It was too hot. I was dehydrated. I have never been so hungry. I stopped twice for water and I ate my snacks which staved off the hunger for about 10 minutes before it felt like the front and back of my stomach were touching again. But you don’t stop hiking when you’re so close to town.
There was a fairly intense down section where I made up a bit of time. After not seeing very many people at all for the last few days I was a bit overwhelmed when I saw about 15 people coming down the trail towards me. It turns out they all work or volunteer for the PCTA and they were on a day hike. I wish I had been able to talk to them more but most of them rushed by. One lady gave me a lemonade. I could have kissed her! They told me I was only a mile from the highway. I skipped along the last mile.
I got to the highway at 12:15. No Growler. Hmm. We were supposed to meet here. The road is so busy, I don’t want to hitch on my own. I walked up and down. No sign. For 45 minutes I looked and I pondered. I decided it was impossible that she was behind me so she must have either hitched already (unlikely) or continued the mile to Echo lake. I walked to Echo lake. Hundreds of cars in the car park. Good sign. No Growler. I went and bought a soda and an ice cream and sat and wondered what to do.
I decided that if she couldn’t find me she would make her way to Motel 6 – our plan for South Lake Tahoe. So I walked to the car park to try and hitch. 10 minutes later the first car that came by picked me up – two ladies who had just been out on a day hike. I apologised profusely for the smell (they said they couldn’t smell me but I’m sure they were just being polite!) and they said they would drop me near where I wanted to go. They were really interested in what I was doing and they ended up taking me right to the door of the motel! Result!
Still no Growler. I went into Motel 6 and explained that I’d lost my friend and she offered me a nice tree providing shade to sit and wait. Half an hour later a car pulls up right next to me and out she gets! Where the have you been?!?! – said in unison.
She lost the trail and it turns out she may have actually ended up being behind me! She got lucky with a hitch on the highway and got a ride from a man who had been driving along picking up hikers, I don’t think she even had to stick out her thumb! Reunited again! We sat under the tree explaining our versions of events and eventually checked into the motel.
We spent the afternoon mostly on our phones catching up with the real world. We went to get our food and soda fix and Growler opened all her packages from home!
Showered. Updated the blog. Slept – in a bed!