We took almost no picture today. It was a short day and we were just trying to get into South Lake Tahoe as quickly as we could.
Last night, we decided that we would get into South Lake Tahoe, then immediately jump north on the trail and hike Washington in August. We have been mulling this over for a while now, but last night we made the decision to pull the trigger.
Why would we do this? The simple answer is weather. At our current pace, we are going to finish the trail in October, probably several weeks into October at that. If we were finishing in Washington at that time, it would most likely be quite cold and quite wet. Even dangerously cold and wet. Like 35 degrees and raining, or a huge snowstorm could come in and just shut everything down. No more northward progress for the season.
We don’t want that, so we’re going to take advantage of the fact that we can do the trail in whatever order we want because, well, it’s our hike! We do what we want!
August is the nicest time of year to hike the Washington section of the PCT so that’s when we’re going to hike it. Once we’re done with Washington at the end of August, we’re going to jump back down to South Lake Tahoe and start north again. We need to be down there anyway at the beginning of September for Caitlin’s good friend Lindsey’s wedding (this is Derek speaking, even though it’s Caitlin’s post). Also, Northern California and Oregon are much nicer places to hike in September and October than Washington, so that works out quite well.
So now the plan is to get to Portland as soon as possible and take a few days to prepare for the Washington section before embarking on it starting in Cascade Locks and going all the way to Canada.
Before we get anywhere though, we had to hike 8 miles in to get the highway today. Unbeknownst to us, when we got there, there was a forest fire raging just a few miles away. I stuck my thumb out by the road and (with crazy luck) got a car to pull over after about 20 seconds of trying to hitch. Our driver’s name was Debra and her car companion was a very sweet pomeranian named Panda who want to sit on our laps the whole time and give us kisses.
Anyway, Debra told us about the fire, and said she was one of the last cars that was let through the road block. So in essence, if she hadn’t picked us up, there would have been no more cars coming for hours and hours, probably days. Maybe the fire department would have come up, but who knows? Suffice it to say, we got lucky that our trail angel Debra was driving right where she was.
Debra was really nice and drove us all the way across town to the Nevada state border to so we could pick up the rental car that my mom had booked in advance for us a few hours beforehand (thanks Mom).
We said bye to Debra, picked up our bright red Chevy Cruze (yay cars!), and were on our way! We first went to the outfitter in town to pickup our packages that we had sent there (various gear purchases and two care packages– thanks Kim and Brian, you’re the best!). We then needed a place to take a shower, so we figured out that we could go to the South Lake Tahoe Rec Center and Pool and get a shower there for only 6 dollars! It was incredible! Hot water… so much hot water!
Anyway, we got cleaned up, got some Taco Bell for the road, and then we were off to Portland– driving though the night…