TRT 2023 - 'failure'

Video Photos


My experience backpacking is quite minimal, I can think of 4 trips I have done total, 3 overnights, and one 3 day trip on the Lost Coast. This trips occurred over a span of 5 years. Before Lost Coast I hadn’t backpacked since 2019.

The Tahoe Rim Trail (TRT) is a 170mi loop around Lake Tahoe in California/Nevada. I had planned to do some long backpacking trip after I got back from Japan, but I had not decided on the trail before I left for Japan or even when I got back. I just knew I was going to go for at least a week. I had not really done any other preparation of any kind, other than doing the sports I had been. Notably none of them were hiking. However I had been walking a lot in Japan (~150mi over the 18 days) so figured I’d be in fair shape to backpack for a week at least. Anyhow with all of this I decided upon the TRT as the trail in the first day or two of getting back from Japan. I had also gotten COVID but was determined to go for a long walk in the woods.


Well this part was quite interesting. In planning I quickly discovered ultralight backpacking as I was researching the trail on YouTube. It blew my mind and opened it up to the possibility of being able to move quite quickly through the wilderness. Backpacking previously I had felt relatively good, and I had some notion of ultralight backpacking already. Infact I sewed one of the original ultralight backpack designs a few years back. The Ray-Way pack by Ray Jardine. Little did I know that Ray was going to be influencing a lot more of my thinking shortly.

The idea of moving quickly through the wilderness with relatively minimal gear is very appealing to me. I generally like to move quickly as it is.

Some of the problems with this was I didn’t have ultralight gear at all. As I began to put the basics into I found my base weight at 20lbs, a far cry from the 6/7/8lbs that ultralight backpackers routinely carry.


Start going CCW From Spooner Summit South Parking Lot on Monday Sept 18th. (Mile 64.9). I plan to be packing 5 days of food (but planning for 4 days of hiking. Speed will dictate what my plan is for the rest of the trail).

Resupply at Tahoe City (Mile 0) on the 21st at Alpenglow Sports who accepted my resupply package. Will probably be eating a meal in the city and hiking out for the evening with 6 days of food for the 22nd - 28th.

Enter Desolation Wilderness on the 5th/6th day (22nd/23rd). Packing 6 days of food.

Exit Desolation Wilderness on the 24th.

26th arrive at tramway market. Eat food and pick up any needed supplies for the last day. Hike last day in 1 or 2 days. Whatever works and depends on how I’m feeling.

Planning on 3500 calories or thereabouts per day.

Travel to TRT

I left my house on Friday 16th, probably around 8:30 or 9:30 after some frantic last minute packing. Had a call with Pasquale, Austin (it was his bday), and Kaiti. Was driving to my parents house in Roseville, an easy trip to Tahoe on Sunday.


Leaving Home 2pm on Sunday to get to Brockway summit to cache water. A huge cache of 15gal already there.

On Trail

Monday September 18th, 2023

Woke up 6:10, slept in till 6:30. Catch any rest I can before I go. It’s go time. No poop wants to come out.

Going to spooner summit trailhead mile 64.9

Started 7:30 64.9 8:30 62.4 Met first person older woman day hiking very pleasant wishing me well 8:35 9:30 quick break, taking off socks. Hard finding perfect backpack fit. 60.2, 2.2 9:50 a older couple through hiking started around mi80 10:30 58.0 11:00 small rest 56.6. Goal is Ophir creek at 42.6. 14 mi to go. Almost 8.5 finished. 11:30 55.8 12:30 53.4 Lunch till 1:05 and now back to it. Lots of MTB now 2:32 49.8mi 3.6mi since 1:05, still 2.4mph but it’s rough and tough. Break till 2:36

We are built to be outside

4:36 exhausted mi 46. 19mi

5:34 set up camp, cooked food far away from my tent. trying to not walk up and down the hill as i am in pain.

Tuesday September 19th, 2023

7:33… 44.7mi 7:58 44.0 8:19 43.5 small rest lots of pain 9:42 42.4 called chiaki, talked about turning back and decided to. Hitched a ride with two people going to work. To incline village, they saved my ass

Interesting with chiaki she said you can always come back. For me the training aspect of this is important. Getting things dialed so I don’t hurt myself. I do want to come back. I do want to do better. I don’t want to let this break me. I want to have fun and enjoy nature the whole time regardless of the weather. Learn how to be in the rain rather than learning here. I can choose to go out in a storm. If I want it I know how to do it.

Deeply fighting myself of even if I should go to alpenglow sports to get my resupply box. I didn’t want to. Feeling shame and being a bitch for not completing. Wondering how such outdoorsy people may judge me for failing in the way that I did. But I pushed through. My first question was, “how do you do 20mi a day and not get injured”, to the response “you train for it?”. Yeah a question, as if it is obvious, and in hindsight it is obvious. I thought I knew this would be the answer before I asked the question, but I wasn’t going to let my assumption stop me from gaining more knowledge from more knowledgeable people. To in some way commit to walking with my tail between my legs. Fuck. I hated that feeling, but at the same time I still got to learn something, and get other’s perspectives. At least what they would tell me.

Also that other people also said it was a good decision. That it’s okay to be humbled by nature. The guys who picked me up said the same. I don’t have to fight through the pain, I can come back stronger and live to fight another day. Maybe even be inspired to do something bigger rather than be crushed by this.

Things can be fun, they don’t always have to be pain. I probably need to work on this. Allow myself to have fun and enjoy. What would make the hike the most enjoyable. What is comfortable and nice on my body that I can sustain?

I am not indestructible

Post Trail

Stages of grief?

Feelings Immediately After KGF movie from punjabi guy at the deli

Reminds me of half dome, want to come back and do better Failing makes me feel like failing at everything So dramatic.. it is but a setback it doesn’t have to be a failure Worried about people thinking I’m a pussy and yet having felt that anyway. Don’t need to punish myself Might be more like yo this guy doesn’t hike and just tried 170mi, that’s dumb af Don’t tell people things because it will be like dad, your chana masala isn’t legit

What I want to be able to do, 20 mi days comfortably, back to back, with 30 in my wheelhouse without hurting myself. Let the 20mi days wash over and not be worried about time, plenty of time to slow down etc

Meditation, a way to slow down

That little bitch in my head. Showing it wrong. Not letting myself have an easy way out. That was the easy way out today. To call it. To not take a day and rest. Me not knowing how to deal without forward progress. I think I need to write. This one is a motherfucker. There’s a part of me that wants to go back still, that questions myself. Oh you got a little hurt and gave up. You wanted a way out, you didn’t want to struggle did you. You wanted to be safe. Fuck you. Some of me says get harder. Now I am fueled, to call that bitch out. To train until it’s gone.

Next Day

Hip flexor feels better, still hurts but it’s much happier. Now we know, just need a zero day sometimes. The thing is i was not prepared for a zero day. Mentally. I didn’t know how to do that.

Coming to Terms

Some things stand out. Preparation. Want to have fun. Enjoy. Not just do it for doing something crazy. This is why I do most of the sports I do anyway, so why was it so different for this? Because I perceive it to be crazier than the sports I do. But in some sense that is just my perception. People might perceive surfing 8ft typhoon swell in Japan alone to be crazy, but it wasn’t for me. But that is because of experience. With experience, maybe this wouldn’t be crazy either and that’s a good thing. It can just let it be fun, rather than fully wild. I think that is what I want. Really I discovered that I have a goal and tried to just do it without thinking. But the reality is that is not the way to do it.

I have been since reading a lot of Ray Jardine’s book. Trail Life. Maybe the biggest lesson I take from everything is everyone fails. That’s how you learn. And beyond that failure, maybe there are different ways of looking at things. I looked to conquer something here, some random thing on the earth, and in some ways myself. But I did neither of those things. I wrote about it above, but I want to go back and just have fun. Having that be the goal of the trip. Not having to have it be introspective, or assign any preconcieved notions of anything. Or what other people may think. I just want to go and enjoy a nature walk. Learn how I enjoy and occupy that space. Just as I learn to enjoy and occupy many outdoor spaces. Finding where I am in the flow, and just getting to love being in the flow. Like I do with surfing or highlining, or any other sport I do. Wanting to take these lessons back to the world too. Maybe setting some goals and being able to train for them. The goals may not be as specific as training to do the TRT, but regardless I want to have some goals.

Training is critical, this one keeps coming up everywhere