Day 1: Elevation hurts, Hail hurts more

Thursday September 19, 21.8mi/35.1km

Brockway Trailhead / Highway 267 (0.0/7005ft) to Granlibbakken Hill (21.8/6549ft) (CA)

I’m hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail! (See the main blog page for the trail details and stats). I was awake at 6am, and packed up and out the door at 7am. I put on my new shoes, my old ones were dead!

Kim dropped me off at the trailhead at 7:15, and I set off into the forest.

It was a very cold morning, the thermometer on my backpack showed 35F/2C. And there was even some fresh snow on the ground!

I kept moving all morning to keep warm, stopping only briefly for views like these.

As I climbed a little higher, there was even more snow.

Crunch, crunch, crunch. I hope this snow melts when the sun hits it! I walked thru a meadow that used to contain many wildflowers, but I think their season is over.

I stopped and got water at a Watson Creek, and then 15 minutes later I took a nice long break at Watson Lake.

Two other groups had camped here last night, and they had just finished packing up when I arrived. They didn’t like having to brush the snow off their tents! There was a side trail to the summit of Mt Watson, and I was ahead of schedule, so I did a quick trip up it.

It started to precipitate lightly, so I took no photos for that hour. As I descended, the sun came back out, and I could see the lake!

All afternoon the weather switched between “sunny” and “light wintry mix”. I had started a short nap in this sunny spot:

But 20 minutes later I was woken by graupel in my face. Darn. I moved on, the forest was so mossy and green here.

And the cool rocks, as I neared Tahoe City.

And more views of Lake Tahoe:

This was the view looking down on the Truckee River valley. Half sun, half clouds.

I descended down to Tahoe City, as the trail passes right thru it. It was 5pm, so I stopped for first dinner and got pizza!

It was expensive pizza, and mediocre at best. Darn. I checked my phone messages, and I had a text from a shuttle driver for my next trail. So I spent an hour doing planning and logistics on my phone for that. I hiked out after 6pm, walked a mile, and setup my tent in the woods. It was a painful first day, I’m not used to hiking at high elevations again!

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