Day 69 Mile 1125.7 – 1146.6

Elevation: ascent 4,581 ft, descent 4,007 ft

We absolutely loved our tent site over looking Lake Tahoe last night. I even was awake enough this morning to crawl out of the tent right as the sun was coming up.

While we were packing up this morning Shortcut and Finesse came walking by. They had camped just down from us last night. We had last seen them at Kennedy Meadows North, so we took a couple of minutes to catch up with them. Sounds like they are hoping to get in about the same miles we have in mind, so most likely we will leap frog with them today.

We didn’t get far before we took a break for breakfast. There was about 8 miles from this last spot until the next water source. So we took our time drinking our coffees and having pop-tarts while looking out over Lake Tahoe. We just found out that Lake Tahoe is the largest alpine lake in the United States and second deepest at 1,645 feet 😳.

The morning had us climb a little bit which put us on this awesome ridge line. One side we were looking west down into a large Sierra Valley and to the East the ridge dropped several hundred feet with views extending all the way across Lake Tahoe.

The trail wound from one side of the ridge to the other until we found ourselves right at the top of Alpine Meadows Ski Resort. I was telling Double Down about skiing here when I was in college. Wow that seems so long ago now.

Can you find Double Down?
Alpine Meadows Ski Resort

After Alpine Meadows we descended back down into a valley until we came across Five Lakes Creek. Here we needed to do some cleaning of socks and we also ran into Shortcut and Finesse again, as they had stopped for an early lunch. Now the first big climb of the day which was going to take us back up and almost to the summit of Squaw Valley. The trail was steep but we were blessed with really green hill sides, which reminded both of us of Colorado. The hills today were covered in mule ear plants. There even was an older buck grazing in a meadow we came across. Definitely one of the largest racks (antlers) we have seen. We got to jump across the American River about a 1/2 mile from the top of our climb (it was only 2 feet wide). Again we had great views of Squaw Valley and Lake Tahoe in the distance. This is where we found a nice stream to sit and have lunch at.

Squaw Valley

After lunch we only had about 6 miles to our destination for the day. The trail however had us descend once again only to climb one more steep hill. We are going to be dry camping (no water near camp), so we ended up having to haul an extra 5 liters with us. The one thing we can say is that the PCT definitely seems to take you all the way to the top and the steepest climbs always seem to be at the end of the day when we are the most tired. Today was no exception!

We reached Tinker Knob at about 5:30. It would be a short climb to the summit if one desired that, but with our extra weight from the water and tired legs we were happy to just take pictures.

Tinker Knob

The final 3/4 of a mile had us walking along another ridge line. It was pretty windy but our views kept our minds of the cold wind. We found a super sheltered tent site and made camp for the evening. While lying here in the tent we can hear the wind swirling all around us but the tent is barely moving. Should allow us for a good nights rest. Tomorrow we will resupply and eat at the Donner Ski Ranch.

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