I was so tired that I didn’t get up until 6:35! Then, I had another bad bloody nose! Something was wrong! Because I had almost no powdered milk left, I ate my poptarts and packaged, processed “biscuits” from the KM store with nearly black coffee. The biscuits actually didn’t taste so bad…
By 7:47, I was finally on my way again.
After a few miles, I found a nice, flowing stream to collect water from, and while I was doing so, Scat Tracker and Unicroc came by. Unicroc quickly scooped up a little water and then they headed on.
By mid-morning, I saw a hiker heading towards me. He looked familiar, and as he approached, I saw that it was 5-Star! “Why are you walking the other way?” I asked. He explained that he had hurt his foot after Sonora Pass and spent a few days in South Lake Tahoe to let it heal. He decided to hike this section southbound and then planned on spending another day in South Lake Tahoe. After about 20 minutes of chatting, he told me about some trail magic at Ebbetts Pass and we agreed to meet up in Tahoe for a meal.
I kept my eyes peeled for the red cooler that 5-Star had mentioned, but it was not appearing in any of the places I thought it would! I crossed a road, looked around, and still saw nothing. Maybe I had missed it. Scat Tracker and Unicroc were sitting down, eating a snack a little ways into the forest. “No cooler?” I asked. They laughed and said they were just talking about that, hoping to come across some trail magic. “No, really,” I said. “I was told there is a cooler around here.” They told me to yell back to them if I found it. I walked up the hill and suddenly, the red cooler appeared to the right of the trail! I called back to Unicroc and Scat Tracker and they came up to share the gatorade, apples, and chips. I didn’t know how these things would be on my stomach, but I appreciated the offerings. Anything different is so refreshing on the trail! I asked them if they happened to be carrying Yogi’s guidebook pages, as I had no info on anything in South Lake Tahoe due to my box not getting to me. Luckily, they did, and I was able to take pictures of the town notes. Another hiker approached, followed by three more, who were moving slowly and looking at us warily. They said that six or seven more were on their way. Yikes! I jumped up and got going. Very soon afterwards, my intestines demanded they be emptied. I didn’t have time to find a place far off the trail. Scat Tracker and Unicroc walked by a minute later.
I collected water at the next stream, sat down to filter it, and then saw Unicroc and Scat Tracker ahead, enjoying their lunch at a nice campsite. I walked a few more minutes and then found a tree to sit under and have my own lunch.
Awhile later, I ran into a couple who were hiking with two dogs and a goat with a pack! This was the first time I had ever seen a goat on the trail! Not long afterwards, I heard thunder in the sky. By three o’clock, the wind had strongly picked up and big drops of rain began to splatter. I quickly dug out my rain gear and put my pack cover on. The rain fell harder and the thunder grew louder.
I found a tree to huddle underneath. I placed my pack against the trunk of the tree and drew my knees into my chest. I could see the exposed trail ahead as it climbed and didn’t think it was smart to hike on in such conditions. A hiker walked by about 20 minutes later and smiled at me. “You’re going to wait it out?” he asked. He continued on. At 4:08, the rain seemed to let up. Awesome! I put my pack on and headed out. Then, the rain started falling again, even harder this time! I kept walking. I later saw a guy with a grey rain jacket on sitting under a tree. I waved and he pulled his hand away from his body to wave back. I then realized that this was the same guy who had kept walking when I decided to stop earlier! We were doing the same thing at opposite times!
I reached the top of a hill and pulled my camera out of the ziplock bag I had put it in, so I could take a picture. I also decided to see what mile I was now at. The hiker, who I learned was named, “Two Hats”, caught up and wanted to know the mileage as well. He commented that, due to the scarcity of rain out here, he didn’t know what to do when it rained anymore! I agreed.
I continued along, climbing up the dirt path, surrounded by yellow flowers on both sides, and then heading back down and continuing along a more exposed path. Two of the wary-looking hikers from the trail magic cooler caught up and passed by me, hiking hard and not greeting me. When I reached the top of the next climb, I stopped to eat a power bar as the third guy passed. I had hoped to camp at a particular site and was worried that everyone else planned on stopping at the same place.
Luckily, these three guys stopped much earlier. They already had their tents set up and a campfire going when I walked by. I crossed a creek and was suddenly attacked by a horde of frenzied mosquitoes! I had to stop a few minutes later to put on Deet, as well as my headnet.
Finally, I reached the site at which I had hoped to camp. It turned out to be a large, but secluded area off the trail, and I was extremely surprised to find no one there! I set up my cowboy camp and then found a rock to cook and eat my spaghetti dinner on. I decided I might as well try an immodium tablet and then enjoyed a peppermint patty and a couple of starbursts for dessert.
Around 4:30 in the morning, drops of rain started to fall onto my sleeping bag…