Water Taxi Across Echo Lake - Tahoe Rim Trail

Tamarack Lake, Tahoe Rim Trail – Day 3

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Beginning June 25, 2014 I thru-hiked the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT), circling Lake Tahoe in 12 days. Accompanied by my friend and fellow blogger, Trails, we bravely took on this 165+ mile loop. I will be blogging a day-by-day rundown of each day’s hike, night’s campsite, and my contemplations while beating down miles. Check out my complete trip report for the TRT here – This is day 3.

Resupplies are part of the thru-hiking experience – planning ahead to restock food and personal items. We had 3 resupply stops on this trip, the first of which was at a little store and seasonal post office at Echo Lake. (other stops: Tahoe City Post Office, and a resupply by our friends joining us on the trail on the 4th of July)

Originally the plan was to resupply on day four, but instead I had reworked the schedule to bust our behinds into getting there in three days. In my defense, It shaved a day off of our time & the lakes we stayed at were some prime camping spots! Unfortunately that also meant we were 14 miles from the Echo Lake resupply location waking up on the third day at Round Lake, a distance we needed to cover before the post office closed at 2pm.

We woke up early, and one of our group of 4 hiked so quickly that it aggravated their body into a new injury. A bad one too, after which they wisely decided to quit the trail and seek some rest and professional advice. It was a sad night with our little group of thru-hikers whittled down to Trails, her dog, Aspen, and me.

“If you can find a path with no obstacles, it probably doesn't lead anywhere.”  - Frank A. Clark

My less eloquent translation: Setbacks on the trail can be a bummer, but don’t let that stop you from getting out there when you can!

Hiking the TRT from Round Lake to Tamarack Lake

Mileage: 15.6 miles. This included some uphill after Meiss Meadow, then a STEEP decent to echo summit. We choose to take the Echo Lake water taxi and shaved 2.5 miles off what could have been a 18 mile day.
Water Sources: Many in this stretch – the little Truckee river, Showers Lake, Echo Lake, then a variety of options once you enter the desolation wilderness.

Truly getting up early this morning to make it the resupply prior the post office closing we started hiking around 6am. after hiking a couple miles we met up with the Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) and beautiful Meiss Meadow. This area is one I remember very fondly as a beautiful stretch of trail between the PCT/TRT intersection and a wonderful view of lake Tahoe a mile or two after Showers Lake. Maybe it was the early morning sunlight, or maybe this stretch seemed especially nice when I compared it to what was to come.

TRT meets the PCT

Meiss Meadow where the TRT meets the PCT

Lake Tahoe View from the PCT

Hiking up the trail we turn around to see this gorgeous Tahoe vista.

What was coming? Only the worst steep downhill stretch on TRT. I called it “Knee Shattering” in my journal. Then once it it finally over you get the added excitement of darting over busy Hwy 89. At least we were almost to the resupply, and some extra snacks, sandwiches, ice cream and beer at the little Echo Lake store!

After spending a long stretch of time at the resupply snacking, chatting with PCT hikers and evaluating injuries we took the overpriced Echo Lake water taxi ride across the lake. Not going to lie, I had fun cruising past that extra 2.5 mile stretch, even if it cost $12 per person. Then it was a short hike up to 3rd night’s camp at Tamarack Lake.

TRT thru-hikers need to get a permit for the nights they are in the Desolation wilderness, but do not apply to the quota system. I am guessing that Tamarack Lake would have been over it’s camper quota if we did count – so many families! After a bit of looking we did find a nice, small, secluded site to set up camp that evening.

Tamarack Lake, Desolation Wilderness & TRT

View of Tamarack Lake while filtering our water for the evening.

More photos in the gallery below & continue on to day 4 or find links to all my TRT blog posts in my Tahoe Rim Trail Trip Report.