Week 14: Martis Peak to Mt. Rose Meadows
This day started with a mix of emotions. It was our last section of the Tahoe Rim Trail, run 14 on our epic journey around the lake. Always going clockwise, each week taking off from where we had left the trail the week before, after this run we will be done with 165+ miles of running. That in itself was very exciting, to think that we were so close to finishing our goal of completing the entire Tahoe Rim Trail. At the same time, it was a sad day to think that the adventure must come to an end.
The day began with a drive up road 16N92 to get to where we left the trail last week, at Martis Peak. It was quite a bit colder than we had anticipated, but the air was clear and the sun was shining bright. It was going to be a good day.
Off on the trail we went through the trees and right away we were on a on a steady incline. As the trail wound up and around toward Mt. Baldy, we passed some great rock formations, a lone broccoli tree, and snow!
Around the next bend, we were rewarded with a wide open view with Lake Tahoe to the left and Northstar down to Martis Valley on our right. Wow, so much to see! We stopped to take in the panoramic view and couldn’t believe how far we could see. Then, up a little higher to the top of Mt. Baldy and the view opened up even more with the lake looking big and extra blue laid out in front of us. In the distance was Freel Peak dusted with snow. We reminisced about section 4 back in June, and the brutal climb over the highest peak in the Tahoe Basin.
After taking it all in and feeling gratitude for being here, we got back to the trail and entered Mt. Rose Wilderness Area. Straight ahead in the distance was Diamond Peak Ski Resort. The trail opened up as we ran across a steep, exposed slope. We were both concentrating on the trail when Katie C. looked up and shrieked, “oh my goodness!!” We stopped dead in our tracks on a steep pitch with a wide open view of Tahoe, debating whether or not tit was the best view thus far on the TRT. We couldn’t decide, there have been some pretty magical moments on each and every section (note: we have learned that it is not good to sightsee and run at the same time- a sure bet for an ankle disaster).
Now we were about half-way into the run, still enjoying amazing views of Big Blue. We couldn’t even make it 5 minutes without stopping, as our eyes were glued to the sights of Lake Tahoe to our right. Then, suddenly, after being alone on the trail all day, there were two women on the side of the trail. They were hiking this section, in the opposite direction. We took each others photos, shared some stories, and off we went!
Still hugging the side of the mountain, we noed that the trail building has been beautifully executed throughout all of the TRT. As we rounded the corner on a bed of rocks hanging over a steep pitch below, we couldn’t help but be thankful that this incredible trail was in our backyard. As we headed down and there was a TRT trail crew in action! We got to thank them personally for their hard work. We told them where we were heading and they told us the best route to take on Relay Pass, which was another 1,000 feet of elevation gain for us to climb.
The short downhill section started to flatten out and wrap around the mountain and LOOK! our destination, in the distance, Mt. Rose Meadows with its fall colors shining bright and the tiny little highway running through it. Wow! Were we almost there? No, we had Relay Peak to conquer first.
The stairs and switchbacks helped us up to 10,336 ft. As we climbed, we circled around the back side of the mountain and Northstar now looked very far away. We found some snow and threw snowballs off into the abyss below. Up and up we saw more snow while the trees started getting smaller and more wind blown.
We reached the top! The highest point of the entire TRT! We were looking at a 360-degree view of Lake Tahoe, Northstar, Donner Lake, Martis Valley, Prosser Reservoir, Boca Reservoir, Carson Valley, Carson Range and back to Big Blue.
Then, it was time to go down, down, down. Off the peak we went and left the Mt. Rose Wilderness Area. Still high above, we were looking over to Mt. Rose Ski Resort and down on a golden meadow. We knew that the end was nearing.
We swept down the mountain as the rocks started to tower above until we sunk into the first meadow that hovers just above the Mt. Rose Highway. Just as we hit the meadow floor, we enjoyed a jagged rock wall with water still flowing down the falls and golden bushes springing out through the rock as colorful woodpeckers flew in and out to get a taste of the fresh water. From here, the trail started to head up again out of this meadow towards the highway and Mt. Rose Meadows. At this point we could see Mt. Rose Meadows to our right while the trail continued heading east past our end point. Then, finally, the trail came to an end at Mt. Rose Highway. We celebrated, hugged, high fived and had our photo taken!
But… we weren’t quite done yet. We still had to get back to where we started our adventure at the beginning of the summer, which was on the other side of the highway down by the meadow. So, across the highway we went to an unmarked road with no trail in sight. This was a good time to look at the map! Yep, there was the trail right there on the map, hugging the highway back to where we wanted to be. So, we decided to keep following the paved path and there it was! The blue arrow and our way back to the original parking lot where we started. It said that we are 1.7 miles away. Much further than we thought we had to go (considering we thought we were done about 1/2 mile ago), but we still had to get there.
Getting there was amazing! It was flat and downhill through golden bushes. When we made it, we started celebrating! Screaming and yelling as we ran towards Katie C.’s mom, who was waiting for us with a bunch of blue balloons, two bouquets of flowers, TRT necklaces, and beer! We had arrived, we did it! We were at the end of our run, our great adventure of 14 sections, all summer long, we did it!! Thank you Ann for making the ‘finish line’ such a festive celebration!
We will proudly be sending a check to High Fives Foundation as we give ourselves many high fives for finishing our great summer adventure. We appreciate the High Fives Foundation for supporting those who have had a life-altering injury while pursuing their Winter adventures. Thank you High Fives for all that you are doing!
We also want to acknowledge a dear friend and wonderful person who unexpectedly passed away this past week, John Neary. Katie T. served on the Board of Directors at The Boys and Girls Club with John, and spent a lot of time talking about what an amazing person he was. Always ready to jump in and do what needed to be done, John had a kind heart and was a person who never stopped giving back. John will be deeply missed by the Tahoe community and beyond, he was a rare soul with such a generous spirit. We love you John.