Retired women complete 165-mile hike of Tahoe Rim Trail
August 7, 2008
Ostrow and Henson started their excursion the last weekend in June and finished on Aug. 2. They broke up their hike into manageable segments – the longest and most challenging being a 32 1/2-mile three-day, two-night hike from Echo Lake to Barker Pass. They hiked in excess of 165 miles since extra walking was necessary to reach some of the trails.
Unlike the other hikes along the trail, the friends needed to carry a 30-pound backpack through the Desolation Wilderness section. A tent and bear canister made the pack heavier than normal.
“The only thing that I was concerned about was that we’re so old,” Henson said. “The biggest accomplishment was to backpack for the first time through Desolation.”
The other segments required the pair to walk 20 to 25 in mostly daylight. “For two women to feel OK to do 165 to 175 miles supports that the trail is well maintained,” Henson said. “There was never more than a 10 percent grade. You have some confidence in what to expect, because they have certain protocol with their trail.”
They didn’t have any encounters with black bears, even though they are occasionally spotted along the trails. Their only annoyance was a layer of smoke that impeded the gorgeous views on several days.
One of Ostrow’s favorite points was above the Flume Trail at Christopher’s Loop, where nearly all of Lake Tahoe is visible.
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She also won’t forget the wildflowers near Showers and Round lakes and the vantage point at Dicks Pass that brings all of the lakes of Desolation into view. For flower lovers, the best time to hike the trail is from the end of June through July, Ostrow said.
“The flowers are absolutely spectacular. There are lots of lupine, paintbrush, primrose and lots and lots of different colors. It was a beautiful year,” she said.
Henson actually has done this before. She completed the 165-mile hike for the first time over two summers in 2000 and 2001.
“It’s a worthwhile trek, not that I’d do it all again,” said Henson, who serves as TRT guide from time to time because of her familiarity and knowledge of the trail. “I’ll still go out on sections of it. When you put the whole thing together, it really is a big trail, a good one to experience because it’s right here.”
Hikers who complete the TRT receive a 165 pin and a certificate.
The trail-savvy Ostrow suggested that its best to start hikes early and carry extra water. “They can expect long distances between the trailheads, so they have to be prepared to walk 12-20 miles at a stretch,” she said.
For people seriously thinking about hiking the whole trail, Ostrow suggests reading the “The Tahoe Rim Trail” by author Tim Hauserman. She said the book is helpful indicating places to camp and where to find water.
The Tahoe Rim Trail Association, located in Incline Village, has trail maps. For more information, phone (775) 298-0012.
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