Day 76: On Top of the World

June 29, 2017: Hiked Miles 1124.9 to 1146.6 (21.7 total)

Our morning started off well. It was a little cool, but not too cold. We had a picnic table to eat breakfast on. That’s always nice. Colton’s way of cooking oatmeal in the paper bags hasn’t been working well for me since they keep leaking. I don’t think he puts very much water in and waits until it’s cooler to pour it in, but I don’t like clumpy or cold oatmeal, so my bags don’t hold up as well as his. And I’m not really a fan of eating my oatmeal off the dirt. But I finished all my peanut butter off last night so I decided to just make my oatmeal in my peanut butter jar. It worked perfect and even tasted a little like peanut butter. And then I could make my coffee in my pot and have them both at the same time. The things I get excited about…

Our morning hike started out uphill, but without much snow. 

It was a nice way to start the morning, and we kept getting views of the sunrays poking through the trees. 

We quickly reached our first peak and had a great view of Lake Tahoe to our east and the way we had come from to our south. 

And then it was back to sliding down snow hills. 
We started seeing a lot more colors and more defined rock formations. 

We had so many views of the lake today and when it got hot all Colton wanted to do was jump in. 

I reminded him that would be a long walk down and would probably be nighttime and freezing cold by the time we got there. He suggested we just quit hiking and become lake bums. He’s so funny sometimes. 

We spent a lot of time walking along ridgetops which is my favorite way to hike.

We ran into two couples that we hadn’t seen since Mt. Baden-Powell which was over a month and a half ago. One of them had gotton really bad altitude sickness right when they started the Sierras and had to be helicoptered out and spent a couple weeks in the hospital. They had decided to skip ahead after that so it’s funny that we passed each other again after all this time.  

Eventually we popped out at Alpine Meadows Ski Area. 

It felt weird to be on top of a ski hill and not be skiing down. Some skis would have came in really handy some of these days out here. 

It’s hard to see, but there’s a lodge down there somewhere:

We hiked all day, switching from muddy dirt to icy snow to rocks. Microspikes on, microspikes off. I’m just glad we kept them with us unlike some other hikers who shipped them home before this section thinking the snow wouldn’t be bad. I’m keeping mine until I know there will be zero snow. 

We hiked down one ski park and hiked right up to another. Squaw Valley this time.

Right as we were passing under the ski lifts they started running. Colton wanted to see if we could hop on and get a ride down. But I didn’t think it would be very fun to get stuck 50 feet in the air when they randomly stopped running.

We stopped for lunch and listened as the lifts started and stopped continuously.  We also heard more avalanche control. Always a comforting sound when you’re eating lunch beneath thousands of feet of snow…

After lunch we hiked down one mountain and then had a long climb up the next one over. 

Luckily this one was mostly clear of snow, but we had to pack a lot of water since there wasn’t any guaranteed water before our campsite. We haven’t had to worry about finding water for so long since there has been snow runoff everywhere, but now that things are starting to dry out we have to start thinking about it again. I can’t say I miss carrying extra pounds of water uphills.

We had a good view of the mountains we had came from on the way up. 

We could see the top for awhile before we got there. 

As we got closer to the ridgetop the wind started getting really strong.

From the top, here’s our view to the east towards Truckee:

And our view to the west of Tinker Knob:

And our view to the north of our glorious trail:

This PCT trail to date hasn’t exactly been easy. And the snow has been downright hard. And I know I talk a lot about how hard the trail is. And I hope that people don’t think that’s all it is. Because it is also insanely epic. I can’t tell you how many times a day I look around me and think, “Holy cow, I can’t believe I am hiking here right now with this view all to myself.” I feel like I am in a movie a lot of the time and feel so lucky and happy to get to hike the places I have. Which makes every hard day completely worth it. The ending to our hike today was one of those moments. 

We found a place to camp and relaxed and ate after a long day of climbing. Everything is so peaceful right now. We’re laying in our tent. Colton is reading. All I can hear is the sing-song of the birds and the occasional jet fly high overhead. 

Now it’s bedtime and an early morning tomorrow to hike down to Highway 80 to meet up with some of Colton’s relatives who are picking us up to stay a night in Incline Village with them.

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