01 July 2015. Day Four: Painted Rock to Tahoe City. 8 miles.
Need to catch up? Start at the beginning: Day One.
A long hike is, in truth, a series of short hikes glued together by resupply stops. Our first resupply is in Tahoe City, which is conveniently located right on the trail. A trail town that you walk right through: this is a thru-hiker’s dream. And Tahoe City is nice in other regards, too. Lots of food options, an excellent outfitter’s shop, and, ahem, beaches.
Before we left home, I made my best pre-trip planning decisions ever: I booked one of the last remaining tent sites at Tahoe State Park. Tahoe State Park is a short walk from the trail, and it’s literally next door to the post office and the grocery store. How ideal is that?
It’s just a few days before Fourth of July, the height of camping season, and Tahoe City is hopping with people. There is a definite holiday vibe and we get caught up in it. We’re so excited to have a little campsite all to ourselves, complete with a picnic table, a fire pit, grill, and a water spigot. Leisurely camping is such a novelty for us backpackers–especially with campfires banned or restricted almost everywhere in the California backcountry.
We don’t look anything like the car campers with whom we’re sharing the park, and we can’t help but look a little enviously at all the folding chairs, hammocks, frisbees, water floaties, and other luxury camping accoutrements. For us, just having access to showers–to any running water at all–feels luxurious.
Stealth Baby has serious hiker hunger. In the Safeway, he chants, “Goo, goo, goo!” which means “Juice, juice, juice!” Back at camp he drinks about half a pint of chocolate milk and then half a pint of apple juice. No worries about dehydration here! For dinner PPL requests a grilled steak, and I pick up a pack of vegan Field Roast sausages for myself. Even after a big restaurant lunch (we ate at Rosie’s, which has a dog-friendly patio and a very kid-friendly waitstaff–SB got a balloon, cleverly weighted with a wine cork so he couldn’t lose it), we still want to eat ALL THE THINGS.
Spending a night in town, off the trail, is a surefire way to interrupt one’s hiking rhythm, so we don’t expect too much of ourselves for tomorrow. We still have chores to do: we’ve weeded a bunch of items out of our packs that we’ve decided we don’t really need, and we’ll mail them ahead in a bounce box so we don’t have to carry them. We’ve also decided to bounce Klein’s backpack. His paws are too sore for him to carry any extra weight right now, and the dog pack doesn’t offer any weight savings for PPL and me if we have to lug it around ourselves! We’ve made enough extra space in PPL’s pack that it makes more sense to put Klein’s food in there. We are hoping that a long rest this afternoon and a nearo (that is, a nearly-zero-mile-day) tomorrow will replenish Klein’s energy. We’re looking forward to a morning of relaxing without worrying about miles. “This,” PPL declares over dinner, “feels like a real vacation!”