Day 15: Donner Pass

PCT Miles 1137.8 to 1160.8

Miles Hiked = 23.0

I was hiking by 6:50am this morning. As usual, blue skies were overhead. Almost immediately I passed above a pretty meadow before the sunshine reached it.

The trail was headed uphill for three miles and gaining 1500 feet in elevation as it passed behind the Squaw Valley Ski Resort. Squaw Valley was the host site of the 1960 Winter Olympics. As I neared the top, I approached a passing hiker and stopped in my tracks.

“Dana?”, I said.

“Todd?”, she said

We gave each other a big hug. Dana hiked with Donna and me for a couple hundred miles last year shortly after we started hiking from the Southern Terminus. I knew she was back on the trail, but I didn’t know where. We chatted for about 30 minutes and caught up on our trail experiences (and Donna’s knee). Dana has hiked about 1500 miles of the PCT this year and is hiking south another 300-400 miles to complete the Sierras. So she has had a very successful year on the PCT!

After I reached the top, I enjoyed views of Lake Tahoe in the distanceand soon passed under the Granite Chief chairlift.

The trail headed downhill for the next few miles. There were a few day hikers out and I was soon passed by about a dozen cross country runners from SF State. I’m sure they were training at altitude for the upcoming season. I wished I could move as fast as they were!

Then the trail started uphill again towards a distinctive peak called Tinker Knob.I took additional photos of the Knob as I slowly got closer.I passed thru a field of noisy grasshoppersand then finally reached the top as the trail passed close to Tinker Knob.

I had a nice 360 degree view so shot a quick video.As I continued north away from Tinker Knob, I hiked along a ridge line and enjoyed the expansive views.Shortly I caught up with Steve and Bob, two hikers I had seen on the trail the last few days. We hiked together for about six miles and shared stories of our hiking and climbing experiences.They are both from Orange County (where I live) and were being picked up by a friend later today for a zero day tomorrow at his house in Incline Village. Nice!

When we reached Highway 40/Donner Pass, Steve and Bob met their friend and I stopped for a lunch break at a closed restaurant. It was nice to have a table with some shade.I continued on for another 3-4 miles towards Interstate 80 – finally reaching it

and passing through two tunnels to get to the other side.There was a Rest Area on the other side of I-80, so I stopped and used the facilities and saw the following plaqueI was getting tired but pushed on – I wanted to get to the Peter Grubb Hut, a Sierra Club ski hut that is also open to hikers.I checked it out but decided to sleep in my tent nearbyToday was a long day, about 23 miles of hiking and almost 5000 feet in elevation gain.Thanks for following.

4 thoughts on “Day 15: Donner Pass

  • Interesting you crossed Donner Pass….from what I have read in the past, there was a bit of cannabilism that went on there also with the Donner party – those that had to winter there had a tough decision to make about surviving. Long day of hiking for you!


  • Another set of beautiful pics! Amazing that you ran into your friend Dana…she is doing a great job on the PCT. I can not imagine hiking alone for such a long time and sleeping alone each night in the dark with all the forest critters. To scary for me! Mom and I also skied at Squaw Valley years ago. I remember seeing the old ski jump at the base of the resort left from the Olympics. Mom and I rode the gondola up to the top of the mountain I skied down but mom rode the gondola down and stayed on the bunny slopes! That is a long day of hiking and a great accomplishment.


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