Friday, November 15, 2019
Facing Monsters and Finishing the 170 mile Tahoe Rim Trail
I knew I needed to lie down but this spot wouldn’t do, a wolf was intensely staring me down and I wasn’t willing to take a chance that it was real. Just up the trail I found an open spot with no wolves. I glanced around briefly to confirm, but not so long that I’d give myself time to see more monsters lurking.
I hadn’t rested in 65 hours. I was so close but I might as well be 170 miles away still. It felt like I’d never be done. I only had 10 miles left and yet it didn’t matter, the trail had won, I was stumbling forward at barely 1mph seeing a world that was hidden to everyone else full of spirits, demons, angels and wild animals.
Adventures aren’t about getting trophies, medals, accolades, FKTs, CRs, or recognition. Adventure has no real glory. It’s brutal and demanding. It tears you up until you are ready to admit defeat. It makes you whimper and pray because in the end control is an illusion. Adventure is about overcoming again and again until all that ego is washed clean and all that’s left is sunburned skin, shattered glass legs, parched throat, sore elbows, swollen hands, crunchy Achilles and an indomitable human spirit.
On my third attempt to complete the entire Tahoe Rim Trail in one go, all 170 miles, I experienced a full break down of expectations and ego bringing about an intense appreciation for the trail, for Tahoe, a place I’ve lived and explored on and off for nearly 20 years. I explored the depths of my psyche through some crazy hallucinations from web covered trails formed onto textures I can’t even fully explain to ice encrusted trees and herds of wild cats to dead people hanging from trees I fully went there while hanging on.
Adventure isn’t about awards, unless you count those hard earned scars and memories. It’s about persevering and completing what we set out to do, it’s about fulfilling our human commitment. After some prodding by Kevin Westlake to take a photo at the trail’s completion, I hadn’t even looked at my watch to see my final time, I posed: an ode to my love for this magical place.
Finished in 72:21:xx running unsupported (carried all my own gear and food the entire way without resupply) beginning Wednesday, Nov 6 and finishing Saturday, Nov 9. Began and finished in Tahoe City (64 acre park)