Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Tahoe Rim Trail Thru-Hike 2012; 165 Miles Around Lake Tahoe

This post is not about running. It is about endurance. June 30 - July 13th, 2012 my girlfriend and I thru-hiked the 165+ mile (29,500' +/- of elevation gain and descent) TAHOE RIM TRAIL. This is a truly sensational trail that weaves through the mountain peaks that surround Lake Tahoe. I have a background in endurance races particularly on trails. I am a runner that mostly runs trail races ranging in distance from 10 to 50 milers (hoping to throw down a few 100 milers in the future). My gf however is not a runner but she is tough! :)

The Tahoe Rim Trail is a true test of endurance. It was really tough; mentally and physically. First of all, this was my first real backpacking trip. Being a runner I am used to ticking off the miles fairly quick so it was a tough adjustment for me to get used to doing about 2-3 miles/hr. Physically, I live at sea level so adjusting to the altitude was a little tough and hiking above 9100' consistently seemed to slow our roll a bit... especially with a 40lb pack on.

We started out in Tahoe City and headed clock wise around the lake. Some of the highlights were camping at Martis Peak; hiking up to Relay Peak (10,300'); the whole eastern ridge area including Marlette Peak and Lake, South Camp Peak; Star Lake; Meiss Meadow; and of course Desolation Wilderness. The hike had its highs and lows but the highs were far and away greater than the lows. All of these pictures as you can probably guess do not do the trail justice.
GEAR!... I brought a Delorme Satellite Communicator with us for a bit of fun and additional safety. It allowed our friends and family to go to a webpage and track us and we were able to send pre-written messages from the device letting them know we were ok. It also comes equipped with a SOS button to contact rescue networks and send them our location if we were in an emergency situation. We enjoyed having it with us and I highly recommend it to anyone. It had service the whole time. You can also connect your iphone/smartphone to it and communicate via text w anyone no matter how far out you are.
(Marlette Lake w Lake Tahoe behind)

For our water filtration we used two different Sawyer Water Filters, the hanging gravity filter and the squeeze filter. Both were great and the squeeze filter was excellent at stream crossings to cut time.

I carried an Osprey Atmos 65 backpack. It was about 40lbs average the whole time... somehow my backpack got heavier as the trip went on and my gf's got lighter! Strange :) As far as food, our staple was definitely Clif Bars and Core Warrior Bars! I highly recommend the Core Warrior Bars but they only last 1 week without being refrigerated. For dinner we had a hot backpacker meal each night that was usually some sort of pasta dish which we mixed tuna or salmon into. I brought electrolyte pills which were very useful on the hotter days and at higher elevations.

The Tahoe Rim Trail was one of the best outings of my life. It was an amazing experience and one that makes you think deeply about how you're living your life. Here's a few additional photos...