Day 3

Sunday September 9, 2012    [18 miles]

I slept pretty well on the surprisingly comfortable meadow ground. I got up at 5:45am and was hiking by 6:30am. I arrived at the PCT/JCT northern junction just before 8:30am. I actually started having a couple of views of Lake Tahoe after not seeing it the last couple of days, so that was nice! A saw a lot of dayhikers and bikers within 10 miles of Tahoe City. I arrived at the Tahoe City trailhead at 12:30pm. Good news: I was over half a day ahead of schedule. Bad news: I hadn’t planned for being ahead of schedule, so my food resupply package was at the post office...which wouldn’t open until the next morning! I walked straight to Commons Beach where I bathed in Lake Tahoe and washed my clothes as best as possible. Needless to say, I definitely felt homeless, and as if everyone was watching me. Because they were. After I’d dried off in the sun, I walked across the street to Tahoe Mountain Brewing Co., where I happily enjoyed a burger, some sweet potato fries, and a couple of beers.

The rest has nothing to do with hiking, but you might enjoy...

I charged my phone for a couple of hours while acting like I was watching the 49ers game. I left around 4pm and walked down to find the post office, hoping to find someone working that might access my resupply package. No luck. Next door to the post office is the Tahoe City Recreation Campground, where I decided that I could camp. It was technically closed for the season and quite abandoned (and barely a real campground), but there was a sign saying it was available year-round as long as you paid the ridiculous $35 fee. Assured of that, I returned to Commons Beach, where my wife had told me there was a free concert in the park! The main sponsor was Alaskan Brewery, which reminded me of a similar free event (sponsored by Alaskan Brewery as well) in Gustavus, AK last summer! Anyway, I stayed until the last song, just before sunset, and then walked back to the post office where (in the front P.O. Box room), I had earlier noticed a wall outlet I could use to charge my phone. I stayed there a bit, looking homeless yet again. At around 8pm, I started to head over the campground, then remembered that the restrooms were closed for the season, so I headed back to the brewery to use their bathroom. On the way, I checked out the Tahoe City Inn just for kicks because I’d stayed there will some buddies in college, and I was curious how much they charged ($ thanks!). As I approached the brewery, from the park across the street, I heard, “Hey--are you new in town?” Umm...pardon? “Hey--come hang out with us,” one of the shadowy figures yelled. And the other, “Yeah, we’re the people that live in the bushes.” Great. I immediately realized that I indeed looked homeless and had been targeted as a fellow person of the bushes. Additionally, I would be sleeping nearby in one of the bushes in the abandoned campground. I let them know I was just passing through town and kindly declined their invitation, heading into the brewery. I thought I was smart by living out the back exit, but that only dropped me into a dark alley. Where to homeless people flock? Dark alleys. Right. Well I managed to get back to the main street, and booked it to the first motel I could find ($105). That’s not happening; the people of the bushes can kill me. I returned to the now-recently-closed Tahoe City Inn and called the after hours number. Despite hearing it ring in the managers unit and hearing the woman through the glass, she assured me she could not give me a room for the night. I told her I was slightly concerned for my safety, but she didn’t seem to care. (Join my boycott of the Tahoe City Inn!). Whelp, the campground it was then, so I started my melancholy march to my death. But just across the street, I noticed another motel (Lake of the Sky Motor Inn) with a lighted “open” sign! I checked in to my $50 room (I’d received a complimentary upgrade to a lake view suite--note: no view of lake). It was perfect! Although I felt like I was cheating, perhaps I’d also cheated death. I cleaned up my clothes in the sink (quickly realized how little my lake washing had accomplished earlier) and took a shower, getting to sleep by 10:30pm.