So yes, today – 21st June, the summer solstice – is also known as ‘hike naked day’. And no, I won’t be hiking naked. There are plenty of activities that can be done without clothes but I feel that hiking is just not one of them. The chafe, the sunburn, the bugs. Just not a pleasant thought! (Thankfully we didn’t see anyone else hiking naked either!)
This morning I went to the grocery store across the street with the intention of beefing up my resupply, but I ended up just buying chocolate milk, Fritos and guacamole – all to eat now.
We called trail angel Mel to take us back to the trail. He was already picking someone else up so he picked us up too at 9am and took us to Echo lake. Mel was such an interesting character, a painter who divides his time between Tahoe, Florida Quays and New York! He was also a forest ranger in Yosemite in 1976. How cool. His dog Peak, a 4 year old golden retriever still thinks he’s a puppy and sat on my lap.
Echo lake is a really nice place. We went to the store and got freshly made sandwiches and ate them on the worlds lowest picnic table that has just sunk into the ground over the years.
At 10:30 we decided we should really start hiking. The first couple of miles of the trail follows the edge of the lake where there are houses of some kind. Peoples summer homes or something. Anyway, I have decided I’m going to live here. It’s spectacular!
The trail climbed gently over the first 5 miles and the wind kept away the bugs. Then we descended for 5 miles and the views were just beautiful. Lake after lake that I just wanted to jump in.
We passed 1100 miles!!
We had a little rest just before the main ascent of the day 1500ft to Dicks pass. It was only 3pm and we only had 6 more miles to make our 16 mile day. The climb was easy, only made slightly less easy by the amount of pollen in the air, it leaves a yellow coating over everything and I could feel it affecting my breathing.
I stopped at a point where I had a super view of the lake and I checked to see if I had phone service. I got a message from my mum saying that a dear family friend had lost her battle with cancer. I cried.
Now I don’t normally go on about my fundraising much on the blog but part of why I am walking the 2660 mile from Mexico to Canada is to raise money for Cancer Research so in the future we don’t have to lose the people we love to this shitty disease. So far I have raised £2892.81 which is great, but we can raise more. If you haven’t already donated please give what you can afford, a little or a lot – it all counts. Maybe one day we will beat cancer.
So I continued walking and got to the top of the pass Unfortunately for Growler – because I was a bit emotional – there was little celebration and we made our way down the other side to the intended camp site at Dicks lake. Waaaay too many mosquitoes. So we hiked on another mile and I camped in a nice little nook by the lake and Grower clambered up onto the rocks to where she wanted to camp. I was in my tent at 7, and with an hour and a half of daylight left I leisurely ate my dinner. I also removed all the purple skittles from my packet. In England the purple ones are great, they are blackcurrant flavour. Here they are grape flavour. Yuk.
I was filtering some water and iPod came by. He hiked the PCT in 2012, so I asked him if he knew Blackbeard, Destroyer and Double Tap – people who have given me great advice and help prior to and during the trail – he knew them all! So we chatted for a while and he carried on along the Tahoe rim trail.