Planning for a Hike of the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT)
When I terminated my AT hike, I still had the hiking urge. I needed to stay home and help my wife for a few weeks, but I was still healthy, and wanted to further prepare for another thru attempt next summer. So the question was, where could I go backpacking on short notice? I still had plenty of freeze dried food available :-) , but I needed to take a vacation with my wife (she doesn't backpack) in the fall.
I follow triple-crowner Wired's blog pretty closely (www.walkingwithwired.com). She does a great job of giving you a good feel for the trail and including great photos. She did the Hayduke (too long and too much planning for my time frame; possibly too tough) and the Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) this summer. The TRT was just about right at 173 miles. I did 'segments' on the AT of about 120 and 140 miles, and it looks like the TRT elevation profile difficulty is about the same as the Smokies. Of course, it's at a much higher altitude.
While I was searching for loop trails (and Guthook's hiking guides), I also came across the Collegiate Loop Trail (CLT) on the Colorado Trail. At 163 miles, it too was about the right length. But the elevation change was significantly tougher than the TRT and was at an even higher altitude. As a side benefit though, I could visit my sister who lives south of Denver before or after a CLT hike.
I downloaded the maps I could find on both trails, and ordered selected hard copy from the respective trail associations. I also bought Guthook guides/iOS apps for both trails.
My thinking is to start with the TRT, then visit my sister for a couple of days. If the TRT goes well, then do the CLT. I should be acclimated to the altitude change (I'm at about 1,075' above sea level at home) early on the TRT, minimizing any issues for the CLT.
I've ordered some replacement equipment that I think will make the hikes more enjoyable, and need to wait for it to arrive. Since the 4th of July is quickly approaching, I've decided to wait till after the 4th to begin my trips/hikes.
The only TRT permit required seems to be for Desolation Wilderness (southwest portion of the trail), which can only be obtained within 2 weeks of the hike date. TRT thru hikers don't have to use the normal camper/day-hiker process. Of course you also need a California camp fire permit, even if you use a stove. But it can be obtained online at any time.
I'm figuring 15 miles per day, more or less. Which would be 11.5 days of hiking. So assuming a bit slower, that optimally would be two 6-day (re)supplies. Tahoe City seems to be the easiest place to resupply as the trail goes down to the city and within a few hundred feet of a grocery (SaveMart). If I start at a trail head on the opposite side of the lake, resupply should be easy. That would suggest Kingsbury North or South trail head. I don't know what the parking will be like in July, but either trail head should work, giving me two options.
I checked the hotel rates for Tahoe City, and they are resort-high (America's Best Value Inn). I'm solo, so there's unlikely to be any opportunity to split costs for a room. So if I can avoid an overnight, I'll try to hike in, resupply, and hike out the same day. The post office is about 0.7 miles from the nearest trail crossing. So I could mail a box there and use more of my AT leftovers! 950 N Lake Tahoe Blvd, Ste 12, Tahoe City, CA 96145-9800, M-F 0800-1630.
So, I need to time my arrival for Monday through Thursday for the best chance of a parking space (avoiding weekend hikers and backpackers). And I need to get to Tahoe City (assuming USPS mail drop) on Monday through Friday. Figure worst case 11 miles/day; average case 15 miles/day; best case 20 miles/day. Kingsbury North is 76.3 (7 to 5 to 4 days) or 96.7 (8 to 6 to 5 days) miles from Tahoe City. Kingsbury South is 82.8 (7 to 6 to 4 days) or 90.2 (8 to 6 to 5 days) miles from Tahoe City. Looks like starting the hike early Thursday morning will work best.
I could get an inexpensive room in Carson City NV before the hike, and have only a 'short' drive to the trail head. So now I just need to decide direction on the trail, and when and how to get there...