My planned first day on the Tahoe Rim Trail involved a fairly short hike of around 9 miles (15 km) from the Mt Rose trailhead to the Marlette Campground. In order to test out my pack (a new Aarn 22 litre backpack) I thought that I would first attempt to head up the trail in the opposite direction to see if I could reach the peak of Mt Rose and possibly even Relay Peak (the highest point on the entire 165-mile (265-km) trail. That way I could make any necessary adjustments (plus add or remove any items) at my car before heading off for three nights on the trail.
I woke up from my first night camping in my new tent (a great lightweight tent from a Nevada City-based company called Tarptent), sleeping on my new sleeping mat (or sleeping pad as they are called in the US) and sleeping in my new sleeping bag (with both the bag and mat being produced by Therm-a-Rest). All of my gear was both lightweight and small in packed size to allow me to fit three days worth of gear for hiking and camping at elevations above 8000 feet (2400 metres) in just a 22-litre pack. I have been meaning to write some gear reviews for the running gear that I enjoy using, and might even add some reviews of some of this hiking gear, but first I need to catch up with my day-to-day running posts.
I set off from the Mt Rose trailhead up the relatively steep mountain path but within the first mile I started hitting significant patches of snow that performed a nice job of soaking my shoes. I wasn’t too concerned with getting my shoes wet, but it also made it difficult to locate the trail. I saw another person following me up the trail and asked whether he knew how far the snow patches continued for. He suggested that the snow would continue for a significant way up the trail to the peak of Mt Rose. I therefore decided that I would abort my attempt at reaching the peak, instead returning to my car. With plenty of time remaining in the day I opted to head back to Incline Village for a couple of hours to spend the extra time planning out my weekend for once I got off the trail.
After lunchtime I drove back up to Mt Rose and this time set off in a southerly direction in order to reach Marlette Campground. I crossed the Tahoe Meadows, paralleling the highway I had just driven up before turning away from the highway to enter the forest. There were small patches of snow due to the shade provided by the trees, which were easy to negotiate but did cause some difficulties in relocating the trail. Starting off at a high elevation (the Mt Rose trailhead is located at the highest year-round pass over the Sierra Mountains), I would have a net descent for the day.
I needed to adjust to running with my pack since I generally only run with an extremely light hydration pack rather than the heavier pack I was carrying. I reached a lookout with some great views over Marlette Lake with Lake Tahoe in the background before descending towards the camp. There were two routes towards the campground and I attempted the route up to Marlette Peak but once again found too much snow and therefore took the lower route into camp. I arrived in an empty campground (although two other groups arrived later), filled up with water from the water pump, setup my site, cooked some dinner, and turned in for an early night since I had a very big hike planned for the following day.