It was a night of solid and much needed sleep. On one occasion I awoke to the bombardment of 4th July fireworks raging over South Lake Tahoe – it sounded immense. In the morning we woke slowly but still got out in good time. We walked along a largely snowless trail, though fallen trees and marsh replaced it, and made good miles before stopping six miles along for breakfast. Those miles had largely been within woodland and pine forest but now we were breaking out into open lakes.
Along the way Molly calculated that if we were to reach Canada before our visas run out, we would need to do 20 mile average days from here on with no zeros. We soothed our worries by acknowledging that soon we’d be doing far more than that, and that Oregon was a hive for long mile days. We started the long ascent up to Barker Pass (a trail head, not mountain pass) and enjoyed stretching our legs out in long strides as the snow was largely kept at bay. Lunch at a picnic table at the trail head was much deserved as we had now done 12 miles and were on track to reach our goal of 20 in good time.
The rest of the climb was a snowy slog – Molly had a little tumble down 50 ft which I was totally unaware of – but we made it and continued along the ridge line. Following this edge brought us stunning views of Lake Tahoe to our right and forested valley to our left, and took us along past the 20 mile marker for the day and more. The trail was lined with flowers of all colours and sizes, and the air was fragrant with herb and nectar.
We passed a closed ski resort and descended down yet another snowy drop down to a river were we set up camp between small tributaries. Stoked on the 23 miles, we lay down to sleep knowing that tomorrow we’d only need to do 17 to reach Donner Pass where we can hitch to Truckee for a resupply and make use of the Donner ski ranch bar and grill.