Start: Aloha Lake (1102)
Camp: South Lake Tahoe 1093
My feet ached in the night from the miles upon miles of rock I’d walked on the day before. I woke at 10:30 p.m. bored and ready to go hiking again. I woke again at 3:00 and lay watching meteors soundlessly stream by for a long time. Eventually I dosed off, and despite these intermissions I rested quite deeply.
I was jerked abruptly from my slumber for this third time by nearby laughter and though I lay prone and out of sight in a shallow depression in the granite so that I was not observable from the trail and, therefore, could not readily blame my aggressors for their accost, I nonetheless and by degrees grew perturbed with their ridiculous howling. “How? Here in this deep Wilderness, and despite my best efforts to avoid the main thoroughfare!” I thought. However, all of this left my mind the very moment I opened my eyes. What lie before me was the very phenomenon for which I’d chosen this rocky outcrop, one which narrowly exposed a clambering sleep walker to a precipitous plunge to lake below and anyone and everyone else to the action of falling rock from above, but which also afforded an unparalleled point from which to view the easterly reflection of the sunrise upon what I hope would be serene waters below. It glowed nakedly in a thin orange and yellow that fades into cloudless blue without ever going through green, and all of that reflected in the calm stillness of what remains of Lake Aloha, only sinuous strings of a flawless liquid mirror poured into the labyrinthine passageways of the reservoir’s bowls. This play of color and illusion fused to a sound of complete happiness wherein my mind was swept clean to reveal nothing more than a reflection of a reflection, a rainbow of color and laughter as borrowed from an acid trip that’d splashed over from a bygone era and into this one. Therein I found myself standing naked and in awe upon the very spot I’d lane, annoyed, eons before, and I saw how much had changed, how happiness was a mere decision and how for many weeks now I’d eschewed it for feigned seriousness, though I knew not why. I thought of a time not long ago, a few weeks in fact, when I’d tried quite grumpily, and outwardly so, to ward off would be friends in order to sleep through a Burning Man sunrise. I drew a morose satisfaction from knowing that I’d found the best possible spot from which to watch the sunrise and then sought to occupy it during its prime, to the exclusion of any other would be watchers. This then was the same grumpiness which sought to overtake me upon my first waking breath today and to direct my day and perhaps the rest of my days and so, as I lay back down, I acknowledged how narrowly I’d escaped this poltergeist and said a silent “Thank you” to the three laughers perched on the rock next to mine. I smiled and resolved to ride this trip as long as it would last.
I half encircled the Lake and found myself lost in social trails. As I descended toward Tamarack Lake a hawk circled endlessly, and cried loudly every 20 second or so in very un-hawk-like fashion. I thought that maybe it had lost its baby.
At length I began to smell a foreign sweetness and I looked around for blooming fruit trees. My mind screamed of scintillating things but none more so than, “Woman!” My attention was temporarily purloined by a small party of boy scouts but my hunt soon resumed. I found her and in fact quickly passed her and was delighted, though the smell had vanished, by my own acuity.
As I continued down I passed a regular stream of the loud and overloaded, but clean, first time backpackers that you always find on destroyed trails. Not saying they’re causing the destruction, just that they’re always found together.
Hitchhiking was a pain and I ended up with two drunk people from Sacramento. We served back and forth, never used a turn signal in fifteen miles, and almost stalled to the beater in which we rode many times. In the end they asked me to buy them beer and I had to say no.
I headed to the hostel and showered. Finally it was time to eat prime rib.
Start: Aloha Lake (1102)