Tales Between Trails: California to Tennessee

Wednesday, September 9th, 2020 – Friday, March 5th, 2021

Before leaving California to return home, we spent some time exploring with Dr. Thunder. We first checked out Squaw Valley. Squaw Valley is where the 1960 Winter Olympics took place and is also the starting location for the Western States Endurance Run. We also spent some time checking out Lake Tahoe. It was a clear day and we were actually able to see its natural blue color.

Next, we headed over to Reno, Nevada. That was where our flight was departing from. Reno is pretty slimy, but amusing. If you’ve ever seen the show “Reno 911,” it’s pretty damn accurate! While there, I had my first In-N-Out burger and we got really good donuts from a laundromat. Frisbee and I said goodbye to Dr. Thunder after cruising around for a while. Thunder was thinking about heading to Arizona or his home state, Kentucky. He wanted to work and save some money for his next adventure. We would be doing the same. But first, we had to get out of Reno!

After staying the night at a hotel, we still had an entire day to kill. We were stuck in Reno until early the next morning, which was when we’d be flying home. We found some fun shops and did a lot of walking around before we walked to the airport. We fortunately dodged the Trump Rally that was supposed to occur there that day. The governor of Nevada had placed a ban on gatherings of over 50 people in order to control the spread of COVID. Trump would relocate the rally to a smaller airport closer to Tahoe. There were still a lot of people waiting around on the street corners to seen him. Apparently they didn’t get the memo. We spent the night inside the airport until check in the next morning.

Before returning to the grind, Frisbee and I did the Four State Challenge on the Appalachian Trail (AT). For those not familiar, this entails starting at the Virginia-West Virginia border on the AT, then hiking all the way to the Mason-Dixon Line (the Maryland-Pennsylvania border). You can do this the other way around, of course, but you must complete all 44 miles within 24 hours. It didn’t go without any hiccups of course. My leg was feeling off when I reached the Washington Monument in Maryland, and Frisbee had to take a nap on the trail after we stopped to eat s’mores with some overnighters at Ensign Cowall Shelter. We accomplished the challenge in 17 hours (or 15 hours if you exclude all the breaks we took). We also realized we obtained another feat. We joked that we did the Triple Crown of section hikes in a year. Within 2020, we hiked small sections of each of the “Big Three” (the Continental Divide, Pacific Crest, and Appalachian Trail).

Aside from getting more tattoos and cuddling with my cats, it was nothing but work, work, work. No weekends, no days off, just making that money for the next big thing. I also did some research on Japan. I’m planning on applying for the JET Program next fall in hopes of teaching English there for a year in 2022. We shall see.

Before starting the Benton MacKaye Trail with our buddy Middle Brother down in Tennessee, we had to find our way there. Looks like its time for a rental car road trip!

Jump Ahead to Benton MacKaye Trail: Part 1


Jump Back to The Tahoe Rim Trail: Part 9

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