Thursday, January 7, 2021

 Segments 1, 2 and 3 on the Colorado Trail

This fall I was often meeting up with my friend Jenna to go hiking.  Since she lives south of Denver it was fun to look for new places to go that were a reasonable drive and not too crowded.  We went to Roxborough State Park and very much enjoyed the beauty and the trails there.  On the way to that park I noticed we passed Waterton Canyon which is the northern terminus of the Colorado Trail.  So then we met there to hike the start of the Colordao Trail.  The following week we did segment two and I lost my smurf so Justin kindly went back to help me find it.  So now he also completed segment two and the following week the three of us decided to do all of segment one which was made a little easier since Laurel dropped us off at the trailhead and we hiked back to our cars at the other end.  So now we had the first two segments complete.  This past weekend we did segment 3. So now we have 40 miles of the 567 miles completed.  Next time we are going to try a more efficient method.  Rather than doing the shuttle drop off which can add an hour each way to get from the start trailhead to the end trailhead (and then again at the end of the hike to get the drop off car), my friend and I will start at one end and Justin will start at the other.  Then we will drive the opposite car north to an agreed upon meeting point and I will hop back into our car.  This will save us the shuttle time.  We will hopefully still meet somewhere around the middle to eat lunch together.  We will see how far we get with this method.  At some point we will probably need to to transition to weekend backpacking trips because some of the segments are just too long for a day hike but for now it is a fun little project to chip away at.  Also, because of snowy back roads we will be haulting the project until spring.  But since the hikes are pretty hard with both distance and elevation it should keep me motivated to stay fit throughout the winter in order to be ready to hit the trails again in spring.  Here are the stats so far:

 Segment 1:  Just a taste- 13.4 miles Dec 5- start of the Colorado trail out and back

Segment 2: 11.5 miles Dec 20

Segment 2: Smurf Rescue with Justin Dec 24


Segment 1(17 miles): Dec 26

Segment 3 (13.4 miles) Jan 3

Monday, December 14, 2020

My 2020 Reading Life

 At the start of 2020 I decided for the first time to sign up for the Goodreads reading challenge.  I set my goal for 30 books.  And then Covid life arrived.  Unlike many who said they could not read, I buried myself in books.  I had made myself read 60 pages before I could look at any news each day.  It helped me start my day without the stress of all that was wrong.  By the end of the year ( or almost) I have ready over 60 titles.  Some were ok and good distractions and some were favorites.  Here are my top picks from what I read in 2020.

 My favorite book for all of 2020 would have to be This Tender Land.  When I first read the synopsis it really did not sound like my kind of book but after seeing it on many lists and having friends suggest it I decided to give it a try.  The characters are so easy to care about and during a year filled with disappointments it was nice to escape into a book where people really helped each other out and were a community for each other.   Another book that I also wouldn't have guessed I would like based on the description was Shiner by Amy Jo Burns but it was also a great read.

My favorite non fiction book was Leave Only Footprints:  My Acadia to Zion Journey Through Every National Park- Conor Knighton .    I am a  sucker for travel memoirs in nature.  But I really liked the lens of this one.  Every entry had really interesting reflections and there was always some tidbit that I had never known before.  And of course it made me more than ever want to start my vanlife adventure visiting many of the places he referenced.

Here are some other stand outs from my 2020 list:

Bad Blood: Secrets and Lies in a Silicon Valley Startup- I started 2020 reading Shoedog- an inspiring memoir by Phil Knight telling the blood, sweat and tears that went into building Nike.  As much as Shoedog was inspiring on how to follow your passion and start a company, Bad Blood was infuriating as to how greed and narcissism can fool many.  To make it even more interesting, the trial is now starting so I will be very curious to see how it turns out for Theronos and Elizabeth Holmes.

Untamed by Glennon Doyle- There is a quote from Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Society “Perhaps there is some secret sort of homing instinct in books that brings them to their perfect readers. How delightful if that were true.” I feel like Untamed landed in my lap at the perfect time.  While I did not love every page, there are enough gems in here to make it well worth my time for a rare re-read, which I hardly ever do because there are just so many other books out there that I want to read.  If you liked Untamed, I also suggest Maybe You Should Talk to Someone by Lori Gottlieb and Life Will Be the Death of Me:  And You Too by Chelsea Handler.

Breath- James Nestor I listened to this one as an audiobook.  It was around seven hours long and worked really well as audio because at the end there are breathing exercises.  I am very aware of my open mouth breathing now and found it to be a fascinating listen and important reminder of how important proper breathing is for a healthy life.

The Awakened Family- I was listening to an Oprah meditation series and she referenced a quote from this book.  So I wanted to know more and read the whole thing.  I wish I had come across this book five years ago but it was still a very worthwhile read. 

Book of Two Ways- I have always enjoyed the way Jodi Piccoult weaves so much fact into her stories.  This book had a lot about Egyptian archeology and the present day work of a death doula- both topics I know little about.  Piccoult continues to be one of my favorite fiction authors.

Favorite New Author discovery:  Matt Haig- I first saw him mentioned in reference to his new fiction book, The Midnight Library but then I also came across his memoir Reasons to Stay Alive and NonFiction book Notes on A Nervous Planet.  And then, while waiting for these holds to be available,  I read How to Stop Time- All of these books were great and I am glad I stumbled upon his works. 

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Teaching in a Pandemic

 I have been teaching for 27 years and never has a year been more challenging or stranger than this one.  Here are a few things I thought I would mention.

1. It is not the what, it's the who-  More than ever I need to focus on the people not the objects (like iPads and books) .  We can efficiently toss an iPad in their hands but if we do not check and see how they are doing, we have given them a procrastination device not a learning tool.  And focusing on the person is for all aspects of life.  Rather than feeling frustrated at all I cannot do, I am focusing on the people in my life.  Building strong relationships (virtually of course) so when this is over I have someone left to celebrate with :)

2. While we have always worked on WHAT to teach, the winners in this game will be those who focus on HOW to learn.  We could have a transformational year if we all focused on soft skills that last a lifetime such as time management, task initial and self control.  We are simply asking too much of students.  For years they have been micro- managed with someone standing over them to put the phone away, open the book, get your pencil out.  Now suddenly they sit alone in a room and we expect them to magically have skills of a CEO such as running 8 different projects (classes) at once.  We are frustrating everyone- student, teacher and parent.  And how much learning is really occurring?  I am not trying to be negative, I am trying to be realistic and acknowledge that if ever there was a time for reflection and root cause- now is the time.  Look at what is happening and why it is happening.  Try to solve the root cause and we will come out of this with self-starter students who can take on anything.

3.  Teaching to the void is REALLY weird.  I understand there are sound reasons to let students learn with their camera off and microphone muted.  But also understand that it is really hard to monitor understanding with zero feedback.  I had no idea how much a relied on non-verbal feedback until I had none.  And in the meantime my camera is on and I try not to show the desperation in my face as I wait for someone, anyone to say something, anything.  I do not know if there is much of a solution for this other than trying to build community and trust enough that a few students turn their camera on.  

Finally- if you know of any decision maker in education- please pass this along.  This is my open letter of what it takes for successful face to face instruction.  (Pasted Below)

If I could get a decision maker to listen to what it takes for successful face to face instruction, here is what I would tell them:

  1. Be firm with families and remind them often what it takes for schools to remain open

Here is an example of what you could say:  If you want schools to remain open remember everyone in the household  needs to make good choices 24/7 not just while in school.  This message should be tweeted, emailed, announced, and done so weekly at a minimum.  The message of being a COMMUNITY has never been more important.  It is about priorities.  If we all truly want schools open safely, everyone needs to be on the same page, at school, after school and on the weekends.

  1. Be innovative.  The best solutions to this unprecedented scenario will not look anything like what we have done before.  It is more important than ever to have a clear vision and use that vision to make a successful plan.  Here is an example:  Our number one goal is to educate not to provide child care.  So we must look at this as the best way to provide education in a SUSTAINABLE way.  It might be remote learning.  This on again, off again, start and stop filled with quarantines is very ineffective.  Also- fair is not always equal.  We need to see who needs in person the most and do everything we can to provide for those students.  It should not be “open for all or open for none”- clearly priority should be given to those struggling academically and emotionally.  

  2. Science should drive decision making.  For example- what are the most dangerous parts of a school day?  Eating lunch with no masks.  Therefore if you want the face to face to be successful do half days with bag lunches that students take home.  Also face to face time should be shorter.  Viral load has a lot to do with catching this.  So either have true cohorts like you could in an elementary class or have short class but these so-called cohorts with teachers teaching six different rosters and students attending 8 different mixed classes do not set us up for successful in-person learning.  

  3. Ask for teacher and parent input- Don’t just listen to the squeaky wheel. So many of these decisions are made by people who are not living it day by day.  Here is the latest example- Parents were told the students could choose whether they attend in person or not.  They can choose class by class if they want to come to school or be remote.  The teacher has no idea who might be there any given period.  There are teachers planning face to face instruction only to have one student show up for class and the rest to be remote.  This totally changes the lesson.  Teachers are told  to be flexible without any consideration to how “being flexible” every single period of every single day can create exhaustion and set them up for lessons not to feel successful.  It is more important than ever to make decisions that support everyone, including teachers.

  4. Communicate sincere information not positive platitudes  

            Here is an example:  When the county moves to orange and teachers are told this will 

change the quarantine process and teachers ask how will it change and the answer is- we need to be flexible and see how it plays out.  No- there should be a clear plan already in place.  In order for us to feel safe we need to know thought is going into all of the scenarios.

  1. Don’t punish teachers for asking questions.  Everyone should feel safe to understand the process and what is happening.  When you use phrases like- “you have a choice- you can resign” you are creating a threatening atmosphere rather than one of trust. (Not to mention- our choice is leave of absence so using the term resign is definitely not coming from a place of support.)

  2. Avoid hypocrisy  - Related to the communication that because of rising cases, parents and students can choose to stay remote.  But teachers can’t make that choice.  To me the unstated message is - teachers you take the risk but students don’t have to.

Sunday, July 5, 2020

Ten Day Hiking Challenge

I love this quote from The Fellowship of the Ring:
After spending too much time cleaning and doing puzzles and lamenting about how hot it is, I decided I needed to make a plan.  So I created my own ten day hiking challenge to do ten hikes of at least ten miles for ten days in a row.  I also listened to the Lord of the Rings Trilogy while I hiked.

It was a fun challenge.  Here is one photo and one thought from each day:
Friday June 26- Ten mile loop at hall Ranch
Day one was easy - feeling motivated and loving the time on the trail.

Saturday June 27- Laurel and I decided to plan a backpacking trip to Thunder Lake.  The hike in was about seven miles and then we did some exploring to get up to ten.

This was our first mother-daughter backpacking trip and it was a ton of fun, especially with our hammock, mini playing cards, music and jetboil stove.  
Sunday June 28- Hiking out from Thunder Lake.  First I did some early morning exploring and then we hiked out.  I love early hiking in the backcountry- awesome lighting and no one else around.

Monday June 29- Early start to beat the heat (just like all the other days).  Headed to Rabbit Mountain with Willow.  She was happy to be included.  We did all three trails to get the ten mile goal in.

Tuesday June 30- Woke up at 4:30 so I could get to RMNP before six when the timed entry starts.  I parked at East Portal Trailhead and explored many of the trails around this area.  I was very surprised to come around the bend and see this guy with three of his friends practically laying on the trail. 

Wednesday July 1- Decided to explore one of my favorite local trails- Dead Man's Gulch- and see how it connects to one of my other favorite trails at Hall Ranch.  Came across this turkey parade and it made me think of my dad because he always called me a turkey.

Thursday July 2- Another very early start to get to RMNP before 6AM.  I thought by now I would be feeling great and enjoy this ten mile loop around Deer Mountain.  But between the heat and the elevation gain and the altitude, I was hurting.  I considered stopping the challenge and just making it a one week challenge.  Another interesting thing about this hike is it was a ten mile loop right in the center of the park, and still I only saw one person as I was coming off the loop.
Friday July 3- Even though I was feeling pretty tired I decided to at least give it a try.  I headed back to Hall Ranch but just did the Nighthawk Trail up and back to avoid bicycle traffic.  Even though I started out really tired, with each mile I felt better and I was really glad to head out again.  I always wonder when I pass this impressive rock wall 4.5 miles into the hike who built it and what the story is.  It is a very well constructed wall that I am sure served a purpose at sometime but for now it just feeds my imagination.
Saturday July 4- Laurel and I head out early to do a training hike for an upcoming backpacking trip.  We head up Flattop Mountain and continue along the Continental Divide Trail until we hit 5 miles.  It is an amazing day for an awesome hike.  Over 3000 feet in elevation gain but we still feel great.

 Sunday July 5- Justin and I did an afternoon hike from Button Rock to Hall Ranch via the Nighthawk Trail.  Even though I was on day ten I did not feel very strong.  I do not know how thru hikers do it or when it kicks in but for me, day ten felt harder than day one.  But I am glad I did the challenge and now it is time to catch up on chores.

Thursday, June 18, 2020

College 101

Here is what I have learned so far about trying to afford and find a college

You know how people say small liberal arts schools cost less than state schools?  It is true (sort of). If you do not qualify for need-based aid and do qualify for merit-based scholarships, it might be worth looking at private schools.  College is an excellent study in economics and the law of supply and demand.  In our situation, the most our children would get at state schools like CSU and CU Boulder was 1000 off a year, even with high test scores and higher than 4.0 gpa’s and many activities.   In addition, many classes have hundreds of students taught by TA’s. This did not feel like a fair value for $27,000.  The small liberal arts schools level the playing field by giving money not just need based but also lots of merit based. (Note- not all schools are like this. Some are need blind. From what I can gather this is also bad for middle class. They also do not give merit based and all money is based on need. If you are middle class in an area of the country with a relatively high cost of living, the formula is not going to work out in your favor. )

You know how people say test scores aren’t everything?  Not so true. We chose to have our daughter miss a very academic-heavy year to do some amazing adventures. I do not regret this. Her life is richer and she is more prepared for college. But, especially in the area of math, it probably effected her scores. And while she had very good scores, they were not high enough for some of the most lucrative scholarships. I would listen to this podcast and heed the advice.  Disciplined test prep and practice will go a long way and possibly pay off.  I wish I heard this podcast before this week. 

As far as the final package, it felt a lot like buying a new car. There is the sticker price which does not even come close to what we will pay. There is the initial offer which is a ballpark idea and then there is the final offer which is significantly lower than the initial package. 
When all is said and done, it is still way more than you would have saved if all you rely on is the maximum college savings plan. We started this when each child was born. We deposited 150 monthly. This equaled about 32000 and it grew to 46000 for each child by the time we started drawing it down. But it won’t come close to paying for college
So where does all this leave us?  

The final decision is up to the children. We can contribute a set amount per child per year. Anything above that will be for them to cover. So they might decide to do community college for a year or summer school or college loans (greatly discouraged) or get some high paying jobs. We were clear from the beginning what this amount would be. 

Here is one more interesting piece of information. The more competitive the school, the less merit money you will get. So, unless you want to pay full price, you might not want to look at the more selective schools unless you qualify for need-based aid. Here are rough stats. A school with 25% acceptance rate, accepted but no merit scholarships. A school with 50% acceptance rate provided a $30,000 merit scholarship which left $30,000 balance and a school with 93% acceptance rate gave a package that would have cost $18,500 for tuition, room and board. So bottom line is if you won’t qualify for need based aid, consider less competitive schools if you want better packages. However if you want your child to attend a more competitive school you need to weigh if it is worth the debt you or your child will take on. 
Good luck. At a minimum I would suggest a tour at a small liberal arts school as part of your college search. They have a lot to offer and it is important to consider and weigh these factors as you make the big decision. 

I found The College Finder Book a really great resource.   
I also really found this article interesting. 

This was my favorite quote:  "The four years of college are as important socially as they are educationally — the right fit is far more important than getting into the highest-ranked school you can."  The whole article is a reminder to keep things in perspecive, but I especially liked point #7.

Update:  In March we went to a Scholars Weekend at one of her final choices.  There was the chance to be selected for a four year full tuition scholarship.  Since this school was in her top three and the dates fell over spring break, we decided to go.  She loved the school and when we returned home she learned she was chosen for the full tuition scholarship.  Better yet, since this school is in the Mid-West, housing costs are significantly lower than Colorado.  So that is something else to consider.... All in all it was a very eye opening experience.  We do not have it totally figured out but maybe this info will help get someone started who, like us, does not believe debt is the only way to get through college. 

Tuesday, June 9, 2020


It has been way too long since I have written a post.  Not so much because nothing has happened but more so because EVERYTHING has happened.  Most notably we sold our nice big house and downsized to a small townhouse in Novemeber.  The plan was to use this as an economical base during the college years and spend a lot of time hiking, camping and backpacking.  Well- the joke's on us.  Little did we know our daughter would return home early from college and who knows when the nest will be empty.  But at least we have a mortgage free place to live, even if it is a little small, it takes some financial pressure off and leaves us with some money for Airbnbs when it gets to cramped.

The start of the Covid Life was pretty scary.  My sister was one of the first to get it from community spread while working in a nursing home.  She was very sick and this was a personal and impactful intro to our "new normal" and what we had to fear.  Then I was busy wrapping up an online school year and doing a lot of cooking now that everyone is home 24/7.  But just last week I had a bit of downtown and completed three 1000 piece puzzles in one week.  It made me wonder how others tackle the fun of a puzzle.  Here is my gameplan:

1.  Sort and complete edges first and roughly sort remaining pieces by color

2. Once there are not too many pieces left, sort by color and then by shape
Completed puzzle :)

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Tahoe Rim Trail

We just got back from a nine day 120 mile backpacking trip. I always wondered what a longer trip would be like. Now I know.  Mostly it was really challenging. There were a couple surprises.  I was hoping that with each day I would feel stronger. But after the first three days I just felt more beat up at the end of each day. Usually I was ready for the hiking to end about two hours before it did each day. Even though we agreed at the start that we were going to take it easy and not go too hard it is a lot harder in the day to day to do this.  Backpacking reminds me of the board game Settlers of Catan. But instead of a good ratio of resources, you need shelter, food and water.  So first we would need to get near water.  Then we would need to find suitable (meaning flat) land for a tent, then we would need to have a rough daily mileage of 15 miles so our food would last for the whole trip.  When you put all those issues together it, along with swarms of mosquitoes, is not as easy to take it easy as one would think.  I still really enjoyed the challenge and the beauty and the teamwork with Justin but I don’t think I have the grit in me that true thru hikers have.  Nine days was enough and I was really happy when I did not have to dig holes for toilets and worry about where the next water supply was. 
Here is what I loved most:
  • Stoveless cooking- I did not miss the stove at all.  I have always loved snickers and all the other treats I packed and I felt perfectly nourished.  
  • Wildflowers- I just love fields of wildflowers and this hike was no different- I think my trail name would be Flower Power because whenever we came across a field of wildflowers I felt new energy, even if I was exhausted.
  • I could not have done this hike without these things:  (worth carrying)- backpacking pillow and air mattress, hiking poles, dirty girl gaiters (keeps pebbles out of your shoes), battery pack for my phone
  • I really liked having the Guthook app.  Granted it would have been nice if there was a little more crowdsourcing but even the basic info was really handy. I liked seeing where I was and how far I had gone and how much further we had to go until the next water or break.

Here is what surprised me:
  • I still had a list of things to do on my mind.  I thought I would just be walking and thinking about anything but there is always something to think about- in this case it was where a good rock to pee behind was or what to clean at the next water spot or what to remember to get from my pack at the next break....
  • The Tahoe Rim Trail was not nearly as crowded as I expected- we met very few others doing the loop and even fewer day hikers.  Even the 50 mile stretch that merged with the PCT trail was not very crowded.
  • My water pump stopped working three days into the hike. I have since learned this abrupt problem has happened to others. Luckily Justin’s Sawyer was fine.  Always have a back up water supply. 

In case you are interested here is a day by journal of what our hike consisted of:
Day 1:  We got to the hotel around 1AM local time.  We got up at 6AM and took an Uber to the Tahoe Meadows Trailhead near Mount Rose.  We started a southbound, clockwise loop at about 8:30 AM.  Day one was spectacular.  It was a really nice way to start the hike- beautiful views, a really nice trail and perfect weather.  After 13.5 miles on the trail (although 16 miles total including the scenic loop and water run) we wrapped things up at Marlette Campground.  Surprisingly only one other person was at the campground. 

Day2:  I am really glad day two is over.  I knew it was going to be hard for two reasons- no water and a long day of hiking.  We got up at six and were hiking by seven.  Before we left camp I drank two liters of water since I knew it was a long hard day with no water along the way.  We also filled all our extra water bags which meant heavy packs- especially for Justin who carried a lot of the extra water.  The day started with a good climb.  Soon we were at Spooner Lake.  We were deciding if we should walk a mile downhill to the lake to get more water when a nice guy offered to give us a gallon of water from his car.  That along with what we still had was enough to get us to Kingsbury the next morning.  It saved us at least an hour of going down and up from the lake.  Yay for trail angels!  SO we crossed the highway and started a pretty steady climb for the next two hours.  This was hard.  It was hot.  We were rationing water and for me uphills are always harder in the afternoon after hiking all morning.  Finally we got to the top but we still had a lot more miles to cover.  After 18 miles we made it to a flat enough area to camp.  Our waterless day is over!

Day 3
Today was somewhat of a near-o day (kind of like a zero day but with a few miles). We hiked out 5.5 miles to where the trail intersects with 206 in Kingsbury. Ben, Jeannie, Connor and Skyler drove up from Folsom to meet us for lunch. We ate at a delicious place right on Lake Tahoe. It was cool to see the lake up close after seeing it from up high. It was also awesome to see our California family. Our plan was to resupply at the supermarket and head out in the afternoon but after hiking in the afternoon heat yesterday I suggested we stay here and get an early start tomorrow for a long solid day of hiking. So we got a room, cleaned our clothes and took a shower😍. Then we walked to the supermarket and carefully chose five days worth of food because we have about 80 miles to cover before our next resupply. We also won’t have much cell coverage so you might not be getting many updates these next few days.

Day 4
We ate breakfast before heading out of South Lake Tahoe and took a Lyft to the trailhead. We were heading up a steady uphill by 8am. I used to listen to a backpacking podcast called the first forty miles. The meaning behind the title was that it takes 40 miles to get your groove on in a backpacking trip. Early on today’s hike we hit 40 miles for the trip. And today definitely went smoother but it is still plenty challenging. After a few hours we crossed over from Nevada to California. Then we stopped for lunch at Star Lake. After that we climbed a little more to our highest point for the day before a long decent to where we set up camp after a 14.3 mile day. Even though our packs were heavy with five days worth of food it helped that we only ever had to carry one liter of water since there were more steams than the past three days.

Day 5
Today we got another early start. We were hiking by 6:30. We had a brief uphill followed by a really nice downhill through a meadow of wildflowers. Then we stopped to eat breakfast at a beautiful viewpoint of Lake Tahoe. After that we had a very long decent to the Great Meadows Trailhead. After filling up our water we hiked another two miles uphill to round lake for lunch. Then we went a few more miles uphill to where the Pacific Crest Trail and the Tahoe Rim Trail combine together. After about 17 miles we wrapped things up at Shower Lake. This gave us time to enjoy the lake and the views and rest up to get another early start tomorrow.

Day 6
Another early start. Good news is it seems our water worries are behind us. Bad news is with water comes mosquitoes. The ying and yang of life.  We decided to skip eating breakfast at our site in search of a place less buggy. After walking for awhile we decided to just eat something quick. Soon we started a really long descent. Usually our hikes average about 3000 feet of elevation gain a day. It is somewhat of a roller coaster with a good amount of ups and downs through the day and nothing is ever so steep up or down that I can’t take it - just enough to feel like a good workout. But the descent we had this morning was killer. My knees and ankles were so sore by the time it was lunch. I also was nursing a couple hotspots from yesterday that I do not want to turn into blisters. Justin could tell I needed a little boost so he made the wise decision to call it a day after ten miles and rest up. We are ahead of schedule anyway because our permit for Desolation Wilderness begins tomorrow and we already made it to that point of the trail. So we will head into town, rest my feet and hit the trail again first thing in the morning. The only regret is if we had known this we could have carried less food the last couple days. But at least we don’t have to waste time resupplying. So off to an unexpected but much needed shower and back on the trail first thing tomorrow.

Day 7
By 8am we were entering Desolation Wilderness. We have been looking forward to this part of the hike and it did not disappoint. First we walked along Echo Lake and after five miles we made it to the gem for lunch- Aloha Lake. We actually took two lunch breaks here because it was that spectacular and also we were not in a huge rush since we were planning a shorter day today. Aloha Lake also had ideal foot soaking areas and my feet are still in need of a lot of soaking after yesterday’s killer downhill- I am still not back to myself. After lunch we continued on past several other lakes until we stopped at Gilmore Lake around 4:00pm. Even though we only clocked 11 miles, it still took awhile with all the photo stops. Also there was quite a bit of rerouting for snow and the terrain was not the fastest to traverse.

Day 8
A week ago we hit the trail. Since then we have covered over 100 miles on the Tahoe Rim Trail. Today we did about 15.5 miles. Our morning started with swarms of mosquitoes. We broke down camp. (Well let’s be honest mostly- Justin broke down camp- he has been pulling a lot of weight on this trip- finding camping spots, getting water and making sure we stay on trail when there is too much snow to follow the trail.). Anyway.... after leaving Gilmore Lake we headed up to Dicks Pass. This was a good climb and we had some snow but the harder part was on the downhill on the other side. It was hard to stay on the trail with all the snow and there were a couple parts I had to sled down on my bottom. Sledding in July was a first for me but I do not recommend sledding with out a tube. My tailbone hurts. Once we got over the pass and through the snow the rest of the day was pretty uneventful. After about ten miles the mosquitoes let up and thankfully our lake tonight- Richardson- has a nice breeze and we are bug free.

Day 9
Another early start- trying to get miles in before it gets hot. Once again we ate on the run from mosquitoes. We went up and down and up again and finally found a little reprieve so we took our first break of the day. Then we headed across our final snowy area. As we got closer to Tahoe City we started looking for somewhere to camp but the closer we got, the more we realized we were getting too close to town for good camping so after about 18 miles for the day we hitched a ride with a couple at the trailhead and they dropped us off at the closest brewery to celebrate. So after 9 days we are wrapping things up with more than 120 miles on the Tahoe Rim Trail. We won’t finish the entire circuit but we got pretty far and had a lot of fun. Special thanks to Justin for being the brains behind the operation on most days.