Hike at Lake Tahoe
I spent W-Fr before Labor Day weekend up at Tahoe with my division from work. We had a free afternoon Thursday so a dozen of us headed out for a hike. Leading up were Eric and April and I commented to April before we left that "I wasn't up for a 10 mile hike." Turns out I was wrong.
We stayed at the Hyatt in Incline Village so the hike began there. The full route is here: http://www.usatf.org/routes/view.asp?rID=243897
. From the Hyatt we headed toward the highway, went south along the Lake, until we reached the forest service road entrance
at Tunnel Creek. This point was about 1.75 miles into our hike and marks the change from a walk along a road to a hike. The trail heads up the hill steeply, and ends up gaining 1000' in elevation in about 2.3 miles (see this map
for an elevation profile of a similar hike). At this point we're now 4 miles in but now at a junction with the Flume Trail. But also, by this point the group as a whole is running pretty low on water and energy, so we only walk a little ways along the trail itself. April was itching for a run so I took off after her and we trotted out for about two miles. The Flume Trail is a narrow path with a steep rise on the east side and a steep drop-off to the west. The trail is apparently popular for mountain biking but I wouldn't have the nerve to be on a bike along there; too narrow. April and I doubled backed at some point and caught up with the walking group at the junction with the Tunnel Creek trail. On the way back we took the route we intended to on the outbound, namely, the Ponderosa Ranch road, which is less steep and a little shorter than going along the highway and up from the access road. All told the hike took about 4.5 hours and was about 9 miles, and I ran for another 3 miles along the Flume Trail.
Other notable points along the hike: the short spur at the junction with Tunnel Creek and Flume trails heads out to a set of rocks that offers a great view of Lake Tahoe. In fact, all along the trail there are great views of Lake Tahoe. Most people in our group had only 1L of water. I had my camelbak, but I neglected to top it off before heading out, so I had maybe 1.7L. Everyone was dry by about mile 6 (3 miles left to home) but the park at the intersection along the highway had water. Tunnel Creek trail is also popular with mountain bikers: muscle your way up then careen back down (obeying the posted 20mph limits). Our group came upon a group of bikers (family + Googlers) where a 10 year old boy had taken a spill and broken his arm. He wasn't too happy. Cell phones reached 911 and surprisingly they sent an ambulance all the way up the trail to reach him (it's a forest service road, after all). Impressive. I didn't see this myself, though, as I'd hiked ahead to relay a message to a few other cyclists waiting for the Googlers in this group. Also, I didn't feel I could do anything by standing around waiting.
After the hike April pointed out that in fact, I had joined them on a 10 mile hike. Heh. It was a great one, too. I'm now 2-for-2 in leading or taking part in group hikes for group offsites (the time before was the Lahaina Pali trail
from the East).