One hundred and sixty plus miles over the course of eight days and I have completed the Tahoe Rim Trail. It was an amazing run of time, miles flew under my feet and the pack seemed light and my legs seemed to go on and on. Moderate up and down across forests of pine and fir and the wide open meadows of windblown grasses and the small brown grasshoppers that fly up, clicking and swarming, as I walked by.
I planned on ten hiking days, with a day off halfway through. But getting out there and energized by the sun, the trees, the joy of moving quickly with my pack, I decided to make a run of it and shoot for a fast thru-hike. I averaged just over twenty miles a day, and my final day was a twenty-eight mile push to a headlamp finish at my endpoint.
I met a dog and a bear. And coyotes yipped and howled by my tent at night. I watched small brown trout, only slightly bigger than the tadpoles, dart around in the small clear lakes, and chipmunks and ground squirrels fled from my footsteps at every turn. Woodpeckers and jays filled the day with sound, and the solitary dark filled the night with silence. I walked alone mostly, but mountain bikers and day hikers abounded. I met another group of thru-hikers and spent a few days with them, leap-frogging back and forth on the trail as I stopped for lunch or they stopped to rest, and camping with them at night. I gobbled down a pizza and beer at Tahoe City, and watched the sun fall down behind the darkening skies from a ridgeline above the Granite Chief Wilderness. Mule’s ears and wildflowers bloomed in the open hills above the great Tahoe Lake, and I could see civilization, with its buildings and boats and cars and the promise of cold beer nestled against the shoreline. And smoking cigarettes at my camp at night, sitting on my sleeping pad and leaning against a convenient downed tree, I would rest my aching, dirty feet and be filled with the satisfaction of life lived in the fullness of the outdoors, and the unending promise of adventure.
It was a pretty damned good trip.