Sonora Pass to South Lake Tahoe (and beyond!)

I left Sonora Pass and hiked the 75 miles to South Lake Tahoe solo. It was the first time in 2.5 months that I was alone. It was really hard to say good bye to my hiking pals, Dom and Robin, even though I knew I would see them in just a couple days. I was nervous, but knew I was capable.

I left Bridgeport in the evening (it always takes me longer than anticipated to get out of town). My pack was full of the best goodies from some of the best people! I received a care package chocked full of great food and sweet, encouraging sentiments (shout out to all of my Chicago trail angels!!!). The care packages instantly brought me to tears (the good kind!), I’m consistently overwhelmed with how generous and supportive everyone has been!

A gal who works at the coffee shop in town gave me and 3 other hikers a ride up to sonora pass. I set out about 5:00 p.m. and hiked about 5 miles. There was more snow than I wanted, but it was all manageable.

I camped in a mostly dry spot, but woke up to a tent completely covered in condensation. That morning, I packed up and hiked 23 miles, one of my bigger mile days since entering the Sierra! I passed a lot of south-bound “flip floppers” (people who skipped the Sierra and have been hiking south to let the snow melt),  which was a new treat. They had great tips about the trail ahead and it was fun to chat about their experiences in Northern California.

The next day I managed to hike 26.2 miles, my first marathon! It was hard, and took ALL day, but I felt super accomplished and proud that I pushed myself.

The following day I hiked the remaining 20 miles to Tahoe and reunited with everyone. There was a free concert on the lake at sunset, I ate a huge calzone, and we swapped stories about the 75 miles we had been apart.

As much as I craved some human contact on my trek, I really enjoyed hiking solo. It gave me a chance to find my rhythm, take breaks exactly when and where I wanted, and hike exactly as far as I wanted. It’s an interesting, subtle, freedom that I hadn’t experienced.

After a couple days in Lake Tahoe, visiting and soaking up our last few hours together, I rented a car and started driving up to Ashland. It was surreal driving a car after a couple months, cruising through the towns I had planned on walking through, but it was a great chance to reflect and appreciate how far I have come. It was a really hard decision to flip up to Oregon, but I’m glad I did it.

I arrived in Ashland and had a couple days to relax, eat lots of food, and rest while I waited for Carl, my friend from college, to arrive. I stayed in a hostel with a full kitchen and treated myself to a full-fledged breakfast feast. I wandered around the city, ran errands, and organized my pack.

When Carl got to Ashland we packed up and mailed out some resupply boxes, organized our gear again, and planned out our first section to Crater Lake! I was glad to have a familiar person to hike out with. It’s great sharing this experience with people from home, it gives me a chance to bring a piece of the trail back with me.

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