PCT Day 23: Zero in Tahoe

I woke up early, gathered our heinous hiker clothes and headed to the laundromat. Yelp reviews did not disappoint. Machines and soap dispensers worked, and best of all, there was wifi. I had a lovely time catching up on financial news.

Returning with folded laundry, I picked up the girls and took them to the post office so that we could get our food drops. There they told me they wanted to stay an extra day to enjoy town life and go to the beach. That was fine by me, but I’d have to get The Hubby on board because he was worried about catching flights home.

Back at the motel, I lobbied for his approval. He said okay, as long as we were in Truckee by Monday. Our whole trip had gone a little longer than my original estimates, so he was worried about time. I assured him that the next section of trail had tons of easy exit points all along the way in case I needed to bail.

He asked me if I wanted to quit.

I said no. Even though Tahoe was my former backyard where I’d hiked many times before, I’d never done the whole section between South Lake Tahoe and Truckee. There’s no way I’d quit because I wanted to see what was there.

The Hubby couldn’t stay another night, so we thought we’d try to get a spot at the city campground. Right in the middle of town, across the street from the lake, it was by far the best option for cheap accommodation. After a delightful lunch (and beer) at the Coldwater Brewery, he took us over there.

Chillin in South Lake Tahoe
Chillin in a ski chair near our campsite, this is where I discovered free wifi.

Despite it being the height of summer, we lucked out and were able to secure a spot. But jeez, $34 a night! Still, cheaper than a motel room, and I’d always wanted to stay there after years of driving by.

We said goodbye to The Hubby, who had to get back to work.

Fish Nugget, Squarepants and I set up our tents, happy to have a home for the night. They took off to do whatever, while I walked over to Safeway to resupply.

I wandered the aisles, marveling at all my choices, pondering how magical food on shelves like this really is. Locals cruised through, picking their usual items. Tourists bumbled about, not knowing where anything was. Then I’d spot a hiker: skinny, tan, grubby-looking, intense yet chill, staring a can of beans.

Carrying my groceries, I walked back to the campground. I spread everything out on the picnic table, organizing food for the final leg of my journey.

I watched a young family pull up next door.

They unloaded their entire truck before realizing they had forgotten to bring their tent. The husband drove home to get it, while the wife stayed behind with their toddler son to set up everything else. He was gone all day.

The boy had a great little collection of Tonka Trucks and spent hours playing with them in the dirt. But he was a big talker and never shut up, not even once, constantly demanding his mother’s attention. An unsung hero, her patience was astounding.

Campsite in South Lake Tahoe
Our campsite in South Lake Tahoe, a lot more bare bones than the RV specials around us.

A busy campground, I did a lot of people watching. I uploaded pictures to Facebook, went to the beach and ate treats (Mounds, Dibbs, Chocolate Stout), a fabulous day.

Later the girls returned to camp.

Fish Nugget left her power brick in the bathroom to charge for the day. When she came back, she discovered it had been stolen, not surprising in a town like this.

I spun into Mom-mode, telling her it was a dumb idea to leave it there unattended and totally gave her the business because we’d bought it for her. She felt bad, but hopefully it was a lesson learned.

That night, I didn’t sleep so well. There were bright lights and a lot of noise, but at least I wasn’t cold, and there was wifi.

I couldn’t wait to get back to the trail.

30 Days on the PCT
Day 23: July 25, mile 1090

The Beach at South Lake Tahoe