The trail passed through several ski areas, in addition to Alpine Meadows that I walked by yesterday. The morning began with a climb up towards Squaw Valley. The trail went up the forested area behind the lifts so I came over the ridge to several danger signs pointing my way.
Once I’d reached the top, I started to see people. I passed Buns and Autumn and for a while there was a guy up ahead of me until I stopped to give me a break from his relentless sniffing and snorting. The downhill section was lovely, with views over the ski valley. Then it was up again, this time hotter, steeper and more exposed. The summit was Tinker’s Knob, one of the best names I’ve seen this trip.
Coming down from Tinker’s Knob was 7 miles, mostly down but with some crazy steep up thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, the trail was mostly slate and small rocks. Things I do not like about trails made of rocks: there are almost no flat surfaces; the rocks are too small to put your foot on; the gaps between the rocks are too small to put your foot between; rocks MOVE; and rocks reflect the sunlight so it is extraordinarily warm. Things I do like about trails made of rocks: nothing. Nothing at all. No redeeming features. Grr.
The good thing about the descent was that it spat me out at Highway 40 and Donner Pass where the Donner Ski Ranch is open for business. I took myself a quarter mile down the road and ordered chicken strips and fries and a cold lemonade. I charged my phone and battery, and sat in a chair. A real chair. And used a proper toilet with a seat and everything. I nearly didn’t leave – they had bunks for $30 including shower and laundry. But I dragged myself out before I fell asleep, to get up the next hill.
I passed under I-80 in a drainage tunnel; hikers and rats, spot the difference. I took the last climb of the day super-slowly, taking a break to get more water as I knew there wasn’t any for a while. I reached the Peter Grubb hut by 6pm, and decided to stay the night. It was warm and dry and my feet were telling me another 3 miles were a bad idea.
Shortly after arriving and sweeping out a spot for my groundsheet, I was joined by Armstrong who I’ve been leapfrogging a bit although he is doing lower mileage than me. All seemed quiet. And then later 2 other thru-hikers turned up as well as 2 car campers and their 3 energetic children. Yeesh.
Camping: Mile 1163, Peter Grubb Hut