Bottom of Tinker Knob to Meadow Lake Rd – 23 miles (37 km) – 1172 miles total
The plan for today was to try to do 26 miles, so that we would then have a 20 mile day into town the next day. Of course the trail had other plans. There were a few snow traverses first thing in the morning which slowed things down. Also, the descent to Donner Pass was super rocky, which meant taking short steps to avoid rolling ankles. Thus by 10am we had only done 8 miles to the bathrooms and rests stop at Donner Pass.
If you haven’t heard of the Donner Party, google it, or there is a ‘stuff you should know’ podcast about it. But the short version is, they headed out west lured by stories of a vibrant land. We’re told there was a short cut through the Sierra. They ended up at Donner Pass as winter set in. Snow prevented them from going any further and eventually some died and the rest ate them.
We then had a climb before having lunch at the top. The aim was to then do 10 more miles, making it a 23 mile day, but to see if we could do more. We couldn’t. There is still patches of snow and it slows you down, both to walk on and finding the trail again. At one point, the trail went through an area of blown down trees. The app said I was on trail, but I was standing among a wasteland of trees. All of this meant 23 miles was all we were going to do today.
Today I am thankful for rest stops and picnic tables.