PCT Day 74: Zero in South Lake Tahoe

July 1, 2022

0 miles

Oh, it is a slow morning. I wake up naturally around 6:30 and think about going to write, but it just doesn’t happen. It’s too cozy, too early. I stay in the room. Eventually, though, the thought of breakfast becomes overpowering, and when Jumbo and Tribute are eventually awake enough to consider moving, our roommate, Sam, drives us to Red Hut for a massive breakfast. I order a biscuit and gravy, eggs, hash browns, sausage, sourdough toast, and a pancake. It turns out that my eyes are bigger than my stomach, though, so I have to have Jumbo eat the rest of my sausage and eggs. The sourdough sits abandoned. I feel awful, but I just can’t do it.

After we’ve stuffed ourselves, we start our scooter odyssey. There are three Lime scooters sitting right outside the restaurant, and we scoot them right down the street to the post office. Thank goodness they have scooters here; the town is really spread out and it would be hard to get around without them. Jumbo picks up his new shoes and packages up his old, battered ones to return for a refund because they fell apart way too early. Tribute picks up his new Timps, which he’s hoping will be better for him than his old Lone Peaks. He’s been hiking in Tevas sometimes because his feet hurt so bad. Hopefully this change will actually help him.

Our next errand is the sports store, where I buy a fuel canister and Jumbo launches an unsuccessful search for Sunski glasses. Tribute disappears somewhere, and then Jumbo and I go next door to Raley’s once again to look for a gift and decorations for Tribute’s birthday tomorrow. We succeed in finding his favorite whiskey, Larceny, but apart from some colorful plates, there aren’t many decorations available.

We decide to try going to the CVS via bus, but we miss the buss, and the store is just under a mile away. Not wanting to spend too much money on scooters, we decide to compromise and both ride on one scooter. There’s one across the street—an extremely busy highway—and we sprint across to it. We’ve got a grocery bag with a large glass bottle of whiskey in it, Jumbo’s new Altras, a very tall Englishman, and an average sized Passport to fit on this scooter. It takes a lot of finagling, but eventually we end up with an arrangement that works: I hold the bag and hold onto Jumbo, who is in front and driving. I can’t see anything as we zoom down the bumpy side of the road, which is probably a good thing. We giggle all the way to CVS, cross the street, and walk in hopefully. It’s a bust. No decorations. No party hats, no crowns, no balloons. Shoot.

There’s a Safeway across the street, and we walk there. We spot a massive transparent “Happy Birthday” balloon with a green twisty balloon arranged around it. “Oh my god,” I say, picking it up. “Can you imagine him walking down the trail carrying this?” We decide to buy it, and the women at the floral counter are very excited that someone is buying one of their creations. We don’t find hats, but we do find construction paper and string, so we decide to make our own wank hikertrash party hats back at the hostel. This is going to be hilarious.

Now we have two grocery bags, Jumbo’s shoes, a comically large balloon, Jumbo, and me to get back to the hostel. We look into a bus, but it’s going to be way too long to wait. One scooter it is. I wish we would have asked someone to take a photo of us, because it must have looked hilarious. Jumbo puts the bags on the handles of the scooter, I clip the balloon to the pocket of my leggings and feed the string up through my shirt so it doesn’t flop around like crazy, he steps on, and I put my arms around him. Off we go down the streets of South Lake Tahoe, balloon bouncing wildly behind the two of us on one bright green scooter. Tribute, I hope you know how much we love you. We’re an absolute circus, and I love it.

Back at the hostel I take care of a few tasks, like back flushing my filter and super gluing a little pinhole that has formed in my CNOC. Then I call my mom and my best friend, Monica. It’s great to talk with them, though by the end it’s nearly 8 and Jumbo texts me asking where I went and whether I want to go with them to dinner. I end the call and then we go to a tasty Mexican place.

My friend Platypus from the AT meets us at the restaurant. It’s so good to see them! They work for the Pacific Crest Trail Association and live in Sacramento, and we’ve been trying to coordinate a time for us to get together along the trail. They decided to hike the next section with us in preparation for an upcoming hike, and they’re staying in Tahoe tonight. After dinner and catching up, we go back to the hostel.

I chat with Platypus for a while, then we decide to present Tribute with his birthday present, the bottle of Larceny, early. He shares it with us and, naturally, we drink the whole thing. This results in me painting everyone’s nails, us forcing Jumbo to take a geography quiz where he has to label the American states (hilarious), and then Jumbo and me remembering that we have to make the paper party hats, which we do in the next room by curling the construction paper into vaguely hat-like shapes and then sticking leukotape on the seams. It’s very hikertrash. I can’t wait to see Tribute’s reaction.

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