Miles: 0
Camping: Mellow Mountain Hostel in South Lake Tahoe

As far as zeroes go, waking up in a room full of your favorite people is tops. Andy and Emily are here along with my hiking buddies, and other friends have arrived in town as well, so it’s a special kind of zero. I woke up before the others which was 8 today, and wandered to the cafe to wake up with a breve. It was a beautiful morning and I felt beyond relaxed, especially enjoying some alone time before the troops began to stir. I walked around for a bit then decided to buy some coffee and banana bread and bring it back to the room.

Everyone was waking up when I came back, and we planned to go to Reno for REI. I needed new shoes and so did Blisster. CrackerJack wanted to find a store to buy a time-lapse camera, and we couldn’t find everything else we need in Tahoe. For a mountain town, the outdoor stores here sure are lacking in gear. We had a great time on the drive, Andy and Emily fitting right in with us hikers. They certainly earned some trail angel wings for taking that drive for us today. You guys are amazing!

I bought new shoes, a new sleeping pad, a poncho and a bunch of Probars. They only seem to be sold at outdoor stores, and not all of the time. They pack the calories I need first thing in the morning without being too heavy…at least until second breakfast. As I checked out it really became apparent how expensive thru hiking can be, especially when replacing gear. We may look homeless to some people, but we have one heck of an expensive hobby. Worth every penny if you ask me…though I make some sacrifices because I don’t want to shell out the cash. Nothing I can’t live without in the long run.

Emily was tired from the hot drive to Reno, so she asked me to drive back. I was happy to do it, though it was an interesting sensation after walking for 2.5 months. I enjoyed it more than I thought, but was excited to get back to Tahoe so we could all relax at the beach for a while. It had been a long hot drive and swimming in Lake Tahoe was just what the doctor ordered. We ran into Pockets and her boyfriend Todd, who is visiting from Alabama. We all swam and sunned, then planned to do something fun later on.

After relaxing and watching a wedding go on just next to us on the beach, we collected ourselves for dinner. Karaoke, Hugs, Pockets and Todd were going to sushi, and our group liked the idea as well. It was $27 for all you can eat, and I literally ate all that I could. I was so full after (I did have 3 desserts…, it was hard to find the energy to go out with the group. They wanted to go sing karaoke at the casino and it sounded fun! We collected ourselves, full bellies and all, and invited some of the new arrivals from the hostel. We descended on the well dressed casino weekenders in our best hiker town wear, which for some of us is the same clothes we hike in. Fortunately for me, Emily brought me a dress to wear, so for once I could go out feeling a little “normal.”  I would’ve been happy in my hiking clothes but it was fun to wear a dress.

We sang karaoke and danced for hours. It was an interesting scene, but we all had an exhausting blast. I’m glad we don’t plan to hike tomorrow, I still have chores to do and I want to get some rest. It was a great day though, I’m happy to be here with these people. Life is good.