PCT Thruhike: Section 16

In this section,  we hike from Sierra City,  CA to South Lake Tahoe. CA. This episode includes a visit from Melissa’s little brother and a hypothermia scare!

Our videos feature quick and dirty views of each trail section as well as A+ and F moments and conclude with Lessons Learned. We hope you enjoy!

Click here for Section 16 Photos!


Friday, September 13:

  • Day: 87
  • Miles Hiked Today: 15.8
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1473.5
  • Update:  This morning,  we luxuriated in our room until checkout,  while packing, charging, and eating of course.  I also made our weekly YouTube video… this week featuring a lesson on how to entertain yourself on trail.  After finally getting it uploaded on slow wifi, we got flagged for a 3 second clip from a Lil’ John song. Boo! I really should have known better! So, now I’ll have to recreate the video and find good service.  The bright side is that we had a short day out of town with fairly easy climbing to a meeting place with my lil bro! He and some friends are going to hike with us tomorrow. This should prove interesting! It’s a full moon on Friday the 13th… what could go wrong?

Saturday, September 14:

  • Day: 88
  • Miles Hiked Today: 18.8
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1492.4
  • Update:  The day was a success! My brother and his friend Cosmo hiked the miles easily,  the weather was perfect, the terrain was gentle, and we had a lot of fun at the Peter Grubb Hut at the end of the day. Several weekenders and other thruhikers (Nails, Skipper, Ghetto Spoon, Zach, & Adieu) stopped at the last of 3 PCT huts we’ll see on the trail for the night.  It was social and fun. Greg, my brother, was a very good Yogi (he got lots of free food). 

Sunday, September 15:

  • Day: 89
  • Miles Hiked Today: 23
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1515.2
  • Update:  Today felt very eventful! We awoke and headed out early without breakfast or coffee with the goal of getting to my brother’s car, a short 4 mile walk,  to go to town and get some real brekkie! We found a glorious spot with HUGE portions. Like, I (a thruhiker) could only eat half. We packed that away for later, said goodbye to my bro, and walked through a dizzying haze of weekend day hikers for the next few miles near Donner Pass. We stopped to celebrate 1500 MILES then continued to hike along a beautiful ridge with 40-50 mile winds up to our highest elevation to date at almost 9000 feet! The wind made the hiking much more difficult,  but at least the views were good! We have learned that tomorrow will be a yucky weather day. High of 45/low of 26 with 100%, chance of rain and possibility of an inch of snow accumulation. DREAD.

Monday, September 16:

  • Day: 90
  • Miles Hiked Today: 14.6
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1529.8
  • Update: Worst weather day yet and first hypothermia. I’m not joking or being dramatic…I was actually hypothermic today and it scared me. As predicted, the temperature started about 45 degrees and continued to drop as we crossed an exposed ridgeline with 40-50mph winds in the morning then the rain/sleet began around 11am. We began to chill and get wet. We do not currently have robust cold rain attire. By 12pm, the rain had turned to snow,  which was quickly accumulating. We stopped at a trailhead where 4 other people were huddled under a pit toilet roof deciding what to do. There were two cars in the lot and I know we were all hoping someone would return to them and take us to warm. Reuben and I snacked and discussed setting up the tent there. I argued that I was way too cold and wet but he thought it would be better to continue and stay warm walking. He won and we continued into the thick snow. I think stopping really impacted my core temperature because I quickly lost the ability to continue gripping my poles and began shivering uncontrollably. It quickly affected my mental state and I felt logic leaving me. Fortunately,  Reuben was cognizant of my deteriorating state and decided to stop at a campsite near the next creek, only 1.5 miles later. By then, I could barely put words together…just kept repeating 2-3 word phrases to keep focused. We managed to get the tent up and I changed out of wet clothes and set up our sleep system while Reuben boiled water for our Nalgenes. Within 20-30 of changing, I felt mentally more alert and then after cuddling in the blankets with hot nalgenes, I stopped shivering. Thank goodness for Reuben. He saved my life today. For now, the snow/rain has dwindled and we’re warm, but our short day means we have to 31 miles tomorrow to get to South Lake Tahoe. The good news is that we finally caught back up with the Coolers. We didn’t see them after the morning and really hope they are okay in this weather! 

Tuesday, September 17:

  • Day: 91
  • Miles Hiked Today: 31
  • Miles Hiked So Far: 1560.8
  • Update: The day really seemed to fly by. Our 17 hour snuggle sesh must have really powered us up because we hardly felt the 31 miles,  despite at least 8 being solid rock walking. We were motivated to get to town to shower and be warm! We made a new friend, The Godfather,  with whom we hiked and chatted most of the day. The views of the lakes in the area were spectacular! We also did our first night hiking since it took until 8:15pm to get to the lodge on Echo Lake we hoped to get a ride from.  There was a list of trail angels to call for a ride to town and Susanne came to rescue us! It was a long day but we are taking a zero day in town!

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