Day 54: Northern California

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Mile 1053.2 to Upper Truckee Creek mile 1079.3 (26.1 miles, 42km)

Another great day overall. I made to within 10 miles of South Lake Tahoe and should get half a day in town tomorrow, plus I aim to take two full days off, a first for this trip.

Reaching South Lake Tahoe means the end of the Sierra series of maps and onto the next stage of Northern California. I don’t really know what to expect. Everyone talks about the desert with the heat and lack of water; the Sierras and all the rumours about snow and pace slowing; Oregon and how your pace will lift because it’s flat; and Washington being wet. But no one ever really talks about NoCal.

The trail was a mixed bag today. It had multiple personalities. The first half of the day was on perfect trail, almost like brushed up mountain bike trail. Nice grade, sticking to the contours for all ascents and descents and minimal rocks. The second half of the day was like walking on railway ballast with steep climbs up, not as well graded as this morning. It’s like two different people designed and constructed two separate trails.

The crowds have noticeably thinned out. Through the Sierra a week back it wouldn’t be uncommon to see 30 different people a day. Now I’m coming across maybe 5 – 10.

I’m setting a fast pace for myself and that brings with it it’s own pros and cons. Moving fast I’m always moving through groups and don’t really get to know them. I might see the same people for an afternoon and the following morning but by the next afternoon I’ve moved ahead, getting well in front and never come across them again. This has really forced me to have meaningful conversations with those that I meet strait away as it’s likely the only time I’ll get to meet them. I try to skip the small talk and go straight for the big questions like what are they passionate about.

Walking solo has its ups and downs as well. I like the freedom of not being on anyone else’s schedule except mine, doing what I please, when I please. But it does have some drawbacks to walking with a group. For starters you’re on your own and have to entertain yourself, with no one to talk to when walking (although I do walk with others on occasions, just not attached as a group ie. free to come and go). It’s the tough days that are the hardest. You have to motivate yourself to get moving in the morning. Moving as a group, the attachment to the group and not wanting to disappoint or the obligations you feel keeps you motivated and moving. And when solo on a nasty climb; when you almost twist an ankle; or are generally having a shit day, there is no one to share the pain with or get sympathy from. Nether the less I love solo hiking and I really get to know and can push myself.

One comment

  1. From wiki Truckee is located along Interstate 80 at 39°20′32″N 120°12′13″W (39.342163, -120.203568).[8]

    According to the United States Census Bureau, the town has a total area of 33.7 square miles (87 km2), of which 32.3 square miles (84 km2) is land and 1.3 square miles (3.4 km2) (3.96%) is water, mostly the Truckee River, the only outlet of Lake Tahoe.

    The Truckee River, just east of Truckee
    Truckee has a dry-summer continental climate (Köppen Dsb). Winters are extremely snowy and cold if not severe, while summers are cool-to-warm and dry, with occasional periods of intense thunderstorms.[9] Its location near the Sierra Nevada crest at 1,798 metres (5,899 ft) provides conditions for winter storms to commonly deposit nearly a meter of snow in a 24-hour storm event and the occasional week-long storm event can deliver 2 to 3 metres (79 to 118 in) of snow. The National Weather Service reports that Truckee’s warmest month is July with an average maximum temperature of 82.7 °F (28.2 °C) and an average minimum temperature of 42.4 °F (5.8 °C). January is the coldest month with an average maximum temperature of 40.9 °F (4.9 °C) and an average minimum temperature of 16.3 °F (−8.7 °C). The record maximum temperature of 104 °F (40 °C) was on July 6, 2007. The record minimum temperature of −28 °F (−33.3 °C) was on February 27, 1962. Annually, there are an average of 8.4 days with highs of 90 °F (32.2 °C) or higher and 239 with a high above 50 °F (10 °C). Freezing temperatures have been observed in every month of the year and there are an average of 228.4 nights with lows of 32 °F (0 °C) or lower – seven more than Fairbanks and only eight fewer than Nome – but only 6.0 nights with lows of 0 °F (−17.8 °C) or lower and 15.6 days where the high does not top freezing. Hope this assists

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