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Bob "Oregon" M
City: San Diego
Begins: Sep 7, 2014
Date: Mon, Sep 8th, 2014
Start: Kingsbury South TH
End: Freel Meadow
Daily Distance: 21
Trip Distance: 21.0
Entry Visits: 189
Journal Visits: 1,990
Guestbook Views: 15
Guestbook Entrys: 1
Tahoe Rim Trail Map
21 miles, 5000ft elevation gain
8am -> 7:30pm
kingsbury south to Star Lake, up/down Freel Peak, to Freel Meadow
Thundershowers and mostly cool
I camped just beyond Tucker Flat on the ridge.
2 hikes + dog. I gave them extra water at Monument Pass
2 other hikers
4 mtn bikers
The day started with a good uphill and kept climbing. The trail starts on the east side which surprised me a bit as I was expecting Lake Tahoe views. I also got a light thunder shower which was unexpected. I luckily decided to bring my rain jacket and rain fly for the tent.
The trail goes down before Monument Pass and served as a warning that I should pay better attention to the contour lines. But the climb up to the pass wasnt bad. I met my first person away from the trailhead section and he warned me that the junction ahead wasnt signed clearly. Perhaps, but it seemed obvious from the map to stay on the ridge and not drop down into the meadows below.
I met a couple backpacking at the pass that needed some water as they also had route finding problems and ended up turning around before getting to Star Lake the previous evening. I carried 4 litters out of town and so had plenty to share. And before long, the sky decided to share some with everyone. This time the rain was harder and colder.
I hike at a reliable 2mph and so the clock normally lets me know if Im where I think I am or not (5 miles in an hour? nope, try again). A map probably would have helped both of sets of hikers. The trailhead had maps which ended up being a useful addition as they could go in my pants pocket vs the foldout map that was a production to look at.
At Star Lake, I got into the water to swim. One goal for the trip was to swim at the various lakes.
I didnt do a very good job though as the water was frigid and the air not very warm. I did get wet and my legs didnt fall off.
All day long I had some sun but just as often had threatening clouds. And higher up, wind.
Next up was another climb. The next pass had a side trail up Freel Peak. I set down my pack, picked a time to turnaround if I hadnt made the summit, and headed off. The trail was hard to follow lower on the peak, but soon become an easy to follow route to the top. I got off the track once and nearly decided to turn back. I pushed pretty hard and nearly decided to turn back just from the effort and elevation a couple of times. But a quick break, the weather holding, and confidence in the time limit kept me going up. I reached the summit around 2:20 (10 minutes before my cutoff point.) I was halfway down before 2:30.
The side trip up Freel Peak, to 10881ft, was worth it. Another pattern established that I could take side trips and didnt need to rush to the end of the day just to get there.
Back at the pass, three mtn bikers. They apologized for breaking up my wilderness experience. But they were friendly.
I was about to hit my first downhill stretch and needed to pick up the pace a bit. Getting to Armstrong Pass was a bit exposed to the sun but otherwise easy. I stopped for dinner (couscous, mushrooms, and pasta sauce). And prepared for one more climb. I like adding some distance after dinner. But today the top of the ridge just seemed to keep on going. A long first day.
There were some good camps before Freel Meadow with lake views and 3G service. But I kept pressing. The last bit to Tucker Flat should have waited for the morning. But Day 2 had a resupply deadline so the extra distance helped boost my confidence I could make the rendezvous the next day on time.
Overall, this section had more water than I was expecting and lots of views.
Lake Tahoe was visible quite often. And seeing the other side of the mountain was interesting.
The Tahoe Rim Trail is a 165-mile long-distance hiking trail which forms a loop around Lake Tahoe in the Sierra Nevada and Carson ranges of California and Nevada in the United States. Learn more: www.tahoerimtrail.org