Twelve Hours of Traveling Can Feel More Tiring Than Twelve Hours of Hiking
Sunday, June 20, 2021 10:05 pm
Location: Reno, NV

We don’t start hiking the Tahoe Rim Trail until tomorrow, but that made today quite busy: we needed to get from home in Maryland to Reno, Nevada, an intermediate destination on the way to Tahoe City, California, to start our hike.

A 4 am Lyft picked CareFree and me up right on time from my house, and we were off to the airport. There were more people at the airport at 4:30 than I was expecting, and we had to wait a few minutes before they even opened the check-in counter. Once that was open, though, we didn’t have to wait too long to get our packs checked, and security went fairly quickly.

Our flight from BWI to LAX was uneventful. With departure set for 6:30 am EDT (3:30 am PDT), the plane’s windows were all shut before boarding, and even though it was bright daylight outside, all but one or two windows stayed shut the entire flight, which was quite helpful with (attempting to) get some shut-eye.

Before takeoff, we were informed that it might be a bumpy ride, but this wound up being one of the smoothest flights I’ve ever been on.

We landed at LAX early, and then proceeded to wait for ten or fifteen minutes before our plane could go to the gate because we got there too early!

With a several hour layover at LAX before flying to Reno, we weren’t in any particular rush to get off the plane. Still, being cooped up in an airplane sitting on the ground is one of my least favorite places to be.

We wandered around LAX briefly to kill some time, and then got breakfast at an overpriced airport restaurant since they neglected to feed us anything but snacks on the flight.

On the flight from LAX to Reno, we had window seats, so we were able to get good views of the Sierra as we flew by. Without a good frame of reference, it was often hard to tell where we were (my GPS could not get an accurate signal), but the mountains definitely seemed drier and less green than when I hiked through in 2018. There was very little snow, even for mid-June.

We landed at Reno on-time, and, being a smaller airport, our bags didn’t have far to travel from the plane to to baggage claim: they arrived for us to pick up not a minute after we got to the luggage carousel. It reminded me of when I flew into LAX in 2018 to start the PCT, how they had the airport so efficiently arranged around getting travelers out the door as quickly as possible that I barely had any wait at all.

Reno is currently having a bit of a heat wave; it was 99°F when we stepped out the baggage claim doors to the taxi stand. Fortunately, it was a “dry heat”, with a light breeze blowing, so it was only slightly uncomfortable, rather than the oppressive humidity that would have been that temperature on the east coast.

We’d originally planned on walking to our motel, the La Quinta, which was only a one mile walk from the airport. However, with the high heat, and our packs in rather-awkward-to-carry duffel bags, we opted to get a taxi.

We relaxed in our room for a couple of hours, and then went to get dinner from a nearby restaurant. We chose Isla de Manila, a Filipino restaurant, since neither of us had ever been to one before. The food was quite good (though a bit more expensive than we had planned).

At the restaurant, we got a message from our shuttle to Tahoe City tomorrow, delaying it from 10 to 10:30. We were slightly annoyed by this, but at least the delay would let us sleep in an extra half hour tomorrow morning.

Shortly after we got back to the motel from dinner, we got a message from H, the wife of one of CareFree’s hiking partners from when she hiked the Pacific Crest Trail in 2017. H had just dropped them off earlier today for their own hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail, starting in the south and going counter-clockwise. (As we are starting in the west, at Tahoe City, and going clockwise, we will probably run into them in a few days.) H was going to be in Reno, and suggested we could meet up for a short while. The last time we saw her was at a Super Bowl party in 2019, so we were happy to accept the opportunity to see her (although with some reservation; we were a little tired from traveling all day, and we did have some chores to complete).

With company arriving “soon”, we got to work on our chores. We got our packs out of their duffel bags, and re-packed them for the trail tomorrow, pulling out some extra stuff we brought that we won’t need on the trail, but will want for a few days of sightseeing after we finish.

In the process, I found that my cook pot got squashed between my bear can and the side of the pack and duffel bag. I was able to press it mostly back into shape, but I’ll probably have to get a cook pot for my next hike.

Packing a pack with a bear canister is always an exercise in frustration. My pack, new as of last year, is a bit smaller than the pack I had on the PCT, and the bear can is very awkwardly sized, making it quite difficult to get anything resembling my usual packing scheme to work. In the end, we managed to get it organized so that it works, but I’m thinking I’ll have to look at other packs for next year’s Continental Divide Trail hike, where I’ll probably need a bear can for an extended period.

While repacking her pack, CareFree found that her liner socks were missing, and she couldn’t remember where she last saw them. They weren’t her only pair, but since we’re going to an outfitter tomorrow in Tahoe City, she can get an extra pair.

CareFree attempted to help, repacking my pack in a completely different way than I preferred, mostly to work around the bear can, which is annoyingly awkwardly sized. To free up space, she tried to put my socks in my cook pot. I protested, since my cook pot is not a clothes storage place, and I’d need the space in the pot when I get a fuel canister tomorrow.

I re-repacked my pack, since how it had been arranged didn’t sit well on my back. While I was finishing with that, H arrived, and we had a good conversation, catching up since we last saw her over two years ago. She (and later, her husband, who called to chat with us) mentioned that there were “a lot” of hikers out on the trail. Having hiked the Appalachian Trail, I’m used to there being “a lot” of hikers on trail, so my only real concern with this new information is whether campsites will be a problem.

Now well past “hiker midnight” (9 pm), and exhausted after a long day of traveling, it’s time to call it an evening. Tomorrow, we’ll be on-trail!

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