It was a very short 3.5 mile hike downhill for Quoi and I from our campsite to the road into South Lake Tahoe.
Along the way, we saw quite a few specimen of Snow Plant, a red plant that lacks chlorophyll. Instead, it gets nutrients by parasiting off of a fungus involved in a mutualism with the roots of conifers. I first saw one of these plants just starting to emerge a week or two ago near the trail to VVR, and they’ve been more common in the past few days.
We got to the road, US 50, around 8:20 am, and after only about 15 minutes, we got a ride into town from Tom, a trail ranger around Carson Pass, who dropped us off at Mellow Mountain Hostel.
Check-in was at 4, so the desk staff took our money, reserved us space, and gave us keys that would get us into the common areas of the hostel. They let us store our packs in a locked storage garage, so we could do our chores without leaving or packs out in the open.
Hungry, Quoi and I went for breakfast. We first tried to go to Fire + Ice, an all-you-can-east restaurant, but they weren’t open yet. We instead wound up at Heaven’s Little Cafe, and I got some pretty awesome French toast and a raspberry smoothie.
I had two priorities for the day: get to the post office to deal with my bounce box, and go to the outfitter deal with my broken sleeping bag zipper. Since Quoi also needed to go to the outfitter, she offered to take my sleeping bag and have them fix it, while I dealt with the bounce box.
Although I had directed my box to the Stateline, NV post office, the one closest to Mellow Mountain Hostel, they forwarded it to the Zephyr Cove office, about two and a half miles away from the hostel, making getting there somewhat more inconvenient.
South Lake Tahoe uses a company called Lime that has dockless bikes and scooters available for public use (at a cost). With three scooters parked in front of the hostel, it seemed a no-brainer to take one of them instead of walking all the way to the post office. This was an unexpectedly hair-raising adventure. The scooters have an electrical assist motor, and at full speed, they are fast. If you’re on a nice surface, like a sidewalk or asphalt road. But a good portion of the trip to the post office was on a gravel path next to a major road, so it was slower and bumpy, and it was a somewhat terrifying experience to be riding down the side of a major road on a wobbly scooter. I made it to the post office in half an hour, though, which was much faster than I would have been if I had walked there.
The bounce box itself was pretty simple by comparison. After I got it, I put in a pair of legs from one of my convertible pants (with it getting warmer, it didn’t seem like I needed both pairs of legs for the two pairs of pants I have), and I pulled out one of the books Quoi had put in back in Bishop. I also confirmed that my missing knife was actually in the box (where I left it). After re-sealing the box, I sent it back on its way, to Quincy, a few towns ahead.
My throat somewhat parched from the nerve-wracking ride to the post office, I went to the food store next door to get a bottle of soda to chug, and then rode back to the hostel. The ride back, on the opposite side of the street, was a bit better. By then, I’d better figured out what I was doing on the scooter, as far as keeping it properly balanced, and the ride back (with a slight detour because I turned off the main road too quickly) went ten minutes faster.
While I was at the post office, Quoi was at the outfitters. They were unable to do anything with the zipper on my sleeping bag, but gave her the address of a seamstress that could. So after getting what she needed at the outfitter, she went ahead to the seamstress, who, unfortunately, wasn’t able to fix the zipper; the top zipper head broke completely while she was looking at it, and apparently, the zipper heads were a weird size that she didn’t have replacements for. Instead, she reversed the bottom zipper head so that it zipped the bag in the normal direction, and sewed the bottom of the zipper together to ensure that it wouldn’t split open. She also did that for free! Many thanks to the seamstress, and also Quoi for going way out of her way to deal with that for me.
Check-in was at 4 pm, and I camped out in the hostel’s office for about 20 minutes before that so I could get my room key as soon as possible and claim a bottom bunk. (I did, and Quoi got hers as well when she saw I was moving my pack into the room.)
After relaxing a bit at the hostel, a group of eight of us went to Base Camp Pizza, a hiker-friendly pizza place: PCT hikers get a free pizza with purchase of a drink. The pizza was good, and the desert I got was pretty good as well. Before we left the hostel, one our group was offering Tequila to anyone who wanted. He’d already had quite a lot, and I observed while he was leaning on my shoulder (and told him as much), that he could barely stand and maybe he should sit out going to pizza. He came with us anyway, and halfway through the meal, fell over backwards in his chair, nearly landing on a kid at the table behind him, and unable to get himself up off the floor. Two other hikers quickly escorted him back to the hostel.
Once I got back to the hostel, I finally got a shower (and feel much better now, clean, and not in dirty hiking clothes), and Quoi and I did laundry.
Tomorrow: resupply and relax