Mile 1098 to 1091
Although l had feared wind, I have a surprisingly calm night. My tent is completely covered with lethargic mosquito-looking bugs, which thankfully are not. It is almost pathetic how easily I can flick them off. After hiking a brief incline, l head down to and along Echo Lakes. It is a resort community and there are cute boat-access only cabins. This entire stretch from the Desolation Wilderness to highway 50 is designated as no camping. Frankly, if you did, you would be in someone’s cabin yard.
Highway 50 is very busy, with cars and trucks moving fast. We hitch for an hour with no success. Klutz has a list of trail angels and I start dialing for saviors. I work through the entire list – mostly answering machines, an occasional I would love to help but I am in Florida right now, or Texas, or whatever. One Mike would love to help, but is in the middle of baking bread. Robert is out of town, but wants to help us anyway, so he offers us a 50% discount at a place he owns, the Pine Cone Resort in Zephyr Cove. It has a kitchenette, WiFi, cable TV, hot tub, sleeping for 6 in various beds and couches, and is close to Safeway and the post office. All this for two nights, including tax and fees, for $113.01. Divided by 5 of us, that’s $22.60, or $11.30 per night per person. Sweet!
Eventually another trail angel named Mike agrees to pick us up. He has to drive home, change cars, then drive 20 minutes to where we are. All this to drive 5 smelly strangers to a South Lake Tahoe outfitter.
On a side note: whenever we hitch a ride, we apologize for our smell. The typical reaction is: “Oh, I have smelled worse.” This actually means, “Yes, you smell terrible.” The problem with knowing the code is that you can also read what is NOT said. For example, a “Sorry for our smell,” which instead triggers: “lt’s all part of thru-hiking,” really means: “Yes, I have never smelled worse!”
After getting a few things at the outfitter, and feeding our faces, the reality of our accommodation choice becomes clear. It takes two buses, with a layover at Stateline, to get to Zephyr Cove. The bus driver takes us a stop too far, and we have to hitch back to the Pine Cone Resort. The “close” Safeway and post office is actually a mile death-defying road walk down highway 50. The magnet on the fridge is for a pizza joint that has been bought out by Domino’s, and they no longer actually deliver here because “We are in the middle of nowhere”. Luckily the local bar has decent food.
On a positive note, the place is quaint, has coin laundry and we can watch the Blackhawks win game one of NHL finals.