Wednesday, July 4, 2012

July 4 - Day 74 - Out of Tourist-packed South Lake Tahoe & Back to the Trail.

From Highway 50 (Mile 1092.5) to Heather Lake (Mile 1102.6)

Total PCT Miles Hiked Today: 10.1

In front of our motel room door in South Lake Tahoe.

Seano here. Last few days I've been thinking about something Pan's dad used to say. George "Pop" Doersch was a WWII fighter pilot--a double ace volunteering for two tours of duty against the Nazis. On the few occasions he ended up with his plane hit by anti-aircraft fire, he always faced a dilemma: bail out over enemy territory, or turn the smoking, rattling, shuddering P-51 back to maybe make it over the dark sea to land. To ditch into the sea meant certain death. George always flew the plane back (all except once) --no matter how crazy the damage.

"You've got to fly the plane you've got," he always said.

He later used to say the same thing with a wry twinkle in his eye, when he was battling cancer and the side-effects of treatment.

As we near the halfway point on the PCT, I'm realizing our bodies are what they are for getting us to Canada. I've lost what weight I'm going to shed, the soles of my feet are as tough as they're going to get, and my chicken-legs are as strong and flexible as they will ever be. We continue to fine- tune our diets and nutrition, but our bods are as strong as they'll be for the rest of the journey. There are several body parts I wouldn't mind trading out right now, but as George would have said "You've got to hike with the body you got." I know he would have gotten a kick out of following our progress and hearing about our misadventures. Still miss him.

Tonight, I want to salute LL Bean's polypropylene sock liners that I've been wearing as my main socks since the beginning. In the last two days, 3/4 of the super lightweight navy blue mules blew holes in the heels. They've been great gear and I'll be getting some more. But thankfully, Lake of the Sky Outfitters in South Lake Tahoe had a new pair and I was back in business. They run a great shop there--very friendly with everything a thru-hiker could need or dream of. Thanks y'all! And special thanks to Conductor who most kindly volunteered to return us to the trailhead this afternoon. We are back in the game and seem to be hitting our stride--as individuals and as a team.

We returned to the trail and hiked to Echo Lake, where we bumped into other thru-hikers we've come to know: Moonwalker, Mark Trail, Moonshine, 12%, and others.

The hike up along the lakes above Echo Lake in the Desolation Wilderness was really stunning.

Late start (so many logistics to tend to in town) got us on the trail in time to put in fewer miles than we hoped, but we camped as the sun set at Heather Lake -- a stunning high mountain lake with stony conifer-clad islands, and a thick 10 ft tall "hedge" of alder around the shores. Our camp snuggled in behind these under hemlocks on the southwest shore -- and we needed the shelter, as there was a hefty west wind putting white-caps on the water and making the trees roar. Mosquitoes were everywhere, even with the wind.

Dionysus broke out surprise stores of tequila, which helped us set up camp and cope (we were stumbling around in long sleeves and mosquito head nets in clouds of eager mosquitoes).

Pan got the water boiling for our freeze-dried meals while we got our individual dinners prepped -- all of swearing up a blue streak at the mozzies. Funny, they just don't listen.

Now, for sleep!

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