July 15th
Meadow(1081.5)-Echo Lake/South Lake Tahoe(1094.5)
Today’s Mileage: 13mi

We woke up and got going early this morning because it’s a town day. Not just any town…we made it to Tahoe baby! For many of us, Tahoe (or Echo Lake) is a point of celebration for officially surviving the high snow and streams from the Sierras. So exciting!!!

We all were excited to reward ourselves in town and had different start times for the chilly morning. Balls and Sunshine left at 5am. Snowblind, Little Jimmy, and I left at 5:30am. Free Range was about an hour after us. We started off with four hours of pretty consistent deep snow.

Balls and I had our difficult days earlier this week and today was Snowblind and Little Jimmy’s turn. They did not enjoy those four snow filled hours this morning. I was at least distracted because I was doing the navigating on my iPhone GPS app. After that, we had a couple hours of dry trail into Echo Lake and that was great! We finally arrived! We found it hilarious that as soon as we arrived, the side trail to the chalet (where our resupplies were) was extremely well marked. Twice on the tree and with a big orange cone.

Where was that kind of signage on the snow packed trail this morning!?

We were planning on getting a hotel, but a trail angel named Mike put a note on the trail inviting hikers to stay at his house. He was actually leaving for the weekend and just left the house open for us hikers. We have a total of eleven hikers here tonight. Me, Balls, Sunshine, Little Jimmy, Snowblind, Drop-n-Roll, Spice Rack, Legend, Charlie, Jamz, and Ninja. I am still in shock that he would be trusting enough to leave his home(and hot tub!) to complete strangers. Wow!

We used the money we saved to rent a car and spend the day in Tahoe. We did errands and the went to the casino to eat at the buffet. Horizon Casino had a great deal and we all ate way too much. Totally worth the stomach ache! I was able to play Blackjack for about an hour and had a great time! I had many entertaining hands and got up quite a bit. Of course, I had to finish the shoe out before dinner and had a downward spiral and only won $10. Good enough for me! I’m thinking I may play again tomorrow when we go to Reno for REI, Olive Garden, and Harry Potter. This may be my favorite zero! Such a celebration!

I really can’t believe I’m here! It is now midnight and I’ve been awake for almost 20hrs. I didn’t even get time to shower (it’s been 10 days) or do laundry (it’s been 26 days!). I’ll get to it tomorrow. I’m just so happy to be here! We are all so proud to be part of the few who didn’t skip or flip so far. There is still some snow and water ahead, but nothing overwhelming, so I’m really looking forward to what’s to come. I just feel like a huge weight has been lifted and I can hike carefree. Yay!

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