Day 61 | mile 1140.9 - 1174.9 | 34.0 miles

Woke up at 5:35 to a beautiful sunrise sky over Lake Tahoe, and the guy, who was neither seen nor heard last night, packing up his tent.

I was tired but I forced myself to get up and start breakfast. Mashed potatoes, a cheese stick, and my last hard boiled egg today. I wanted to finish all my smelly foods because I know I’m going to have access to a trash can.

I’m hiking to Donner Ski Lodge for lunch today! I was hoping to go there for breakfast (and continue the breakfast burrito tour), but they’re only open for breakfast on weekends in the off-season.

It was warm this morning, so it was easy to change into hiking clothes and start hiking. The couple near me just started stirring when I was leaving. Down to water, I washed my socks and hung them on my pack to dry. My liners are getting serious holes. Need to remember to order a pair.

Back up to Tinker Knob. I’m slow going up hills without my poles. Agh! Do they really help that much? Maybe it’s just in my head. 

Listening to MBMBaM. They just joined Maximum Fun a few episodes ago and they’re doing a really annoying fundraiser. Also getting back into Sveriges Radio. Listened to a documentary about Zara Larson. I didn't know about her controversial history!

This guy passed me whose legs have to be twice the length of my legs. They are so long. I almost took a picture but he walked too fast. For real, guys.

Walked through Sugar Bowl! Two ski resorts in one day. Rolled into Donner Ski Lodge 5 minutes before they opened at 11. I quickly ate half an English muffin with the leftover cream cheese and salmon. Threw away my smelly bulky trash. Much better!

I recognized a YouTube hiking celebrity. He started more than a month before me. I remember watching his videos in bed at home. So crazy to have caught up with him. He reminds me of Nathan Peterson. He was editing his video when I interrupted him with my questions. I’m so impressed he is editing videos of trail. I can barely manage journal entries.

We all piled into the restaurant at 11. I sat by myself, but talked to pretty much everyone. I charged my stuff and settled on a turkey melt. The waitress recommended it. Everyone else got bacon cheeseburgers and one person got a whole large pizza.

I heard Swedish speech again! Two separate Swedish people hiking kind of together. Fancy Pants is a journalist from Stockholm. The other one is Tenderfoot. She is American but has been living in Sweden half of her life. I offered him my free PCT hiker 40 oz beer in Swedish. Fancy Pants thought I was German.

Quickly scarfed down my food. I really wanted pie with ice cream like a lot of other hikers were getting. But it was $9 and I’m not rich. Besides, I’ll be in town again soon. No need to get crazy.

I asked the waitress if I could sub my free hiker beer for a coffee. She said no and was over apologetic. I told her no worries, I just thought I’d ask. And while I settled my bill, she handed me a coffee anyway. So nice of her!

Packed up and left at 12:45. All in all, a 2 hour detour. Not bad. Alex called me as I was climbing up toward I-80. We chatted for a bit. Beautiful views of Donner Lake, lots of day hikers.

As I was about to cross I-80, I wanted to text Alex. There wasn’t service, so I tried to InReach. It wasn’t on and wasn’t turning on. I knew it wasn’t a battery issue, so my heart sank. Stopped at the rest stop off I-80 to sort it out. Plugged it in and it still wouldn’t turn on. Finally stumbled on the correct combination of buttons to reset it and it turned on. Phew. It’s at 58%.

Since I was already here, I charged up, washed my hands again, and got an ice cream from a vending machine.

Hiked pretty easy 17 miles to camp. I was tempted to camp 3 miles earlier but there were a ton of mosquitoes due to proximity to water.

I was hoping there would be people here, but nope. All alone. It was 9 when i set up camp. I started boiling water. Kept hearing sounds in the woods and noticed eyes watching me. Not sure what kind of large animal, but desperately hoping it’s a deer. 

It kept moving closer. I grabbed a big stick and started making noise. It would run away, then come back in a different spot. At one point I thought I scared it away for good. I put down my headlamp and all of a sudden, there is a ton of noise as it’s running fast. I couldn’t turn my headlamp on fast enough. Once the noise stopped I realized I was shaking. I don’t think I’ve ever been so scared in my life.

I was looking at the map to see if I can hike to another campsite. The very next tent spot has the following comment: “Was circled all night by a bear while I was cowboy camping.” Cool.

Fortunately, a couple came down the mountain soon after. I feel much safer with them around for some reason. Even though I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t come out of their tent even if I was getting ripped to shreds by a bear.

Crossing my fingers I’m alive to walk to Sierra City tomorrow.